DN Staff

July 11, 2001

1 Min Read
Elastomer adds spring to latches

Thursday, September 14, 2000
East Stroudsburg, PA--The latest latch from Elastolatch 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 portions of a beverage machine's double-leaf front door.
The elastomer latch consists of 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 personnel simply pull on the knob, causing the striker to deflect and release the doorframe. "We use physical properties of the material to act as the spring," explains Jim LaViola, Elastolatch's president.
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, onto the end of the stem. LaViola compares that assembly process to the 26-step procedure and mounting screws needed to install conventional latches.
Similar elastomer latches are available for a variety of enclosure applications. And because latch performance is so dependent on material selection, Elastolatch can dial in the pull forces for its latches by picking slightly different elastomer grades. "By changing the durometer, we can satisfy many different pull force requirements with the same part," he says.
For more information on DuPont Hytrel, see http://www.dupont.com/enggpolymers.

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