East Stroudsburg, PA —The latest latch from Elastolatch Injection Molding Inc. bears out the idea that just a little bit of the right material can go a long way toward simplifying mechanical design. Made entirely from a thermoplastic polyester elastomer (DuPont Hytrel), this two-piece latch replaces the nine-piece spring latches that normally secure the inner and outer leaves of a beverage machine's double front door.
A stem and other mounting features have been integrated into the striker, so the Elastolatch doesn't need any mounting screws or other fasteners. Instead, it installs by simply pushing the stem through a hole in the door and pressing the knob, which has built-in locking tabs.
The elastomer latch consists of just a pull knob on the inside of the inner door leaf and a striker that engages a frame of the outer leaf. To separate the doors, service personal simply pull on the knob, causing the striker to deflect and release the doorframe. "We use the physical properties of the material to act as the spring," explains Jim LaViola, Elastolatch's president.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.