New Extended Housing Constant Torque Hinge from Southco Offers Increased Resistance in a Smaller Profile

HONG KONG, CHINA – Media OutReach – 18 February 2020 – Southco Asia Ltd., a subsidiary of Southco Inc., a leading global provider of engineered access solutions such as locks, latches, captive fasteners, electronic access solutions and hinges/ positioning technology, has expanded its line of constant torque hinges with a new version that supports additional friction and reduced weight in limited-space applications. Depending on the torque requirements of the application, Southco’s E6-10E Constant Torque Hinge with Extended Housing enables the resistance of two hinges to be packaged into one hinge, saving weight without compromising functionality.

E6-10E Constant Torque Hinge

Southco’s E6-10E Constant Torque Hinge with Extended Housing provides increased asymmetric torque for applications requiring maximum friction in small spaces. The lightweight E6-10E Constant Torque Hinge with Extended Housing features a lower profile than Southco’s standard E6 series, making it an ideal solution for a variety of transportation applications with reduced packaging space, including aircraft seating and automotive storage compartments. Like Southco’s standard E6 series, the E6-10E offers a long cycle life and requires no maintenance or adjustment over the lifetime of most applications.

“The new E6-10E Constant Torque Hinge with Extended Housing offers a key performance improvement for limited-space applications,” said Global Product Manager Stewart Beck. “This high-performance hinge increases the amount of torque that can be packaged in the available space, saving application weight, while also helping to lower overall equipment costs.”

About SouthcoSouthco, Inc. is the leading global designer and manufacturer of engineered access solutions. From quality and performance to aesthetics and ergonomics, we understand that first impressions are lasting impressions in product design. For over 70 years, Southco has helped the world’s most recognized brands create value for their customers with innovative access solutions designed to enhance the touch points of their products in transportation and industrial applications, medical equipment, data centers and more. With unrivalled engineering resources, innovative products and a dedicated global team, Southco delivers the broadest portfolio of premium access solutions available to equipment designers throughout the world.

Southco Asia Limited
2401-2406, Tower 2, Ever Gain Plaza
88 Container Port Road, Kwai Chung
Hong Kong

Southco India at Excon 2019 Show

PUNE, India, Nov 22nd, 2019 — Southco Inc., a global leader in engineered access solutions, will be showcasing its technologies and access solutions for off-highway industry at the Excon 2019, to be held during December 10-14 at BIEC, Bengaluru.

Southco offers Complete off-highway access hardware solution for Interior , Chassis and Entry of vehicle. Southco’s engineered access solutions elevate the user comfort, convenience and ergonomic performance of off-highway equipment and provide intuitive operation and rugged reliability throughout all areas of the Vehicle. Southco is global full service supplier for complete access solutions – throughout your equipment, through the world!

At Excon experience Southco’s wide portfolio of latches, locks, hinges and position control products for Off-highway industry. Learn How Southco’s products enhance Vehicle functionality and provide for increased security, optimised maintenance procedures, improved ergonomics and comply with industry standards for safety, fire resistance & dust / moisture ingress.
“We understand the unique design challenges, aggressive environmental demands and requirements for Off-highway vehicles in India. We are proud to be taking part in the industry’s leading event this year. We look forward to demonstrating our range of products which address vital priorities for the off-highway sector” says Veeresh Manrai, General Manager – Business Development , Southco India Pvt. Ltd.

Media Contact –
Southco India Private Limited
Ranjangaon MIDC, Maharashtra 412220
Ankur Kumar Gupta
+91 9822039976
[email protected]

About Southco
Southco, Inc. is the leading global designer and manufacturer of engineered access solutions. From quality and performance to aesthetics and ergonomics, we understand that first impressions are lasting impressions in product design. For over 70 years, Southco has helped the world’s most recognized brands create value for their customers with innovative access solutions designed to enhance the touch points of their products in transportation and industrial applications, medical equipment, data centers and more. With unrivalled engineering resources, innovative products and a dedicated global team, Southco delivers the broadest portfolio of premium access solutions available to equipment designers throughout the world.

This release was published on openPR.

Southco’s sealed compression latch

Southco Inc. expanded its line of E3 Vise Action Compression Latches with a new sealed version designed to withstand high-pressure, high-temperature wash-down procedures for medical equipment applications. Sealed to IP69K to prevent liquid ingress, the latches are DIN EN1672-2 compliant and feature a robust stainless steel construction.

High press sealed E3 Vise Action Compression Latches provide the same quick, secure closure as the standard E3 series, delivering robust, vibration-resistant fastening and with the same panel hole prep as the standard series for easy retrofit. They are available in a variety of grip lengths to provide optimal door closure.

New Position Control Hinge from Southco Enables Secure Position Control with Minimal User Effort

HONG KONG, CHINA – Media OutReach – Nov 26, 2019 – Southco has expanded its successful line of constant to rque position control hinges with a new version that enables secure position control with minimal user effort. The E6 One-Way Constant Torque Hinge enables heavy doors and panels to be lifted more easily by removing friction from the hinge in one direction, while providing high torque to hold them securely in place.

E6 One-Way Constant Torque Hinge
Southco’s E6 One-Way Constant Torque Hinge provides reliable positioning with consistent operating efforts, eliminating the need for secondary support components such as gas struts and door stays to hold doors or panels in position. The E6 One-Way Constant Torque Hinge eliminates the resistance in the hinge in one direction, allowing a heavy door or panel or be easily lifted, and offers reliable hold-open functionality that prevents it from closing on the user.

Sealed for outdoor use and constructed from corrosion-resistant materials, the E6 One-Way Constant Torque Hinge offers increased longevity and requires no maintenance or adjustment over the lifetime of most applications, making it an ideal solution for off-highway access panels, automotive center consoles and industrial printers. Southco’s line of position control hinges is available in a wide variety of torque ranges, sizes and materials to satisfy a variety of application requirements.

“The E6 One-Way Constant Torque Hinge offers an economic and reliable alternative to door stays and gas struts typically used in heavy panel operation,” adds Commercial Product Manager Todd Schwanger. “The hinge provides reliable performance, and offers ergonomic and safety benefits by reducing the effort required to open heavy panels and allowing them to be held securely in position.”

About SouthcoSouthco, Inc. is the leading global designer and manufacturer of engineered access solutions. From quality and performance to aesthetics and ergonomics, we understand that first impressions are lasting impressions in product design. For over 70 years, Southco has helped the world’s most recognized brands create value for their customers with innovative access solutions designed to enhance the touch points of their products in transportation and industrial applications, medical equipment, data centers and more. With unrivalled engineering resources, innovative products and a dedicated global team, Southco delivers the broadest portfolio of premium access solutions available to equipment designers throughout the world.

DTi Reveals How Lockheed Martin Could Save $6.5M on the F-35A

DTi Recommends Switching to FAA Approved Spring-Fast(R) Grommet Edging
Southborough, MA November 25, 2019 – Device Technologies, Inc. (DTi), a leading manufacturer of wire protection solutions, revealed how Lockheed Martin could save a potential $6.5M by replacing all glued in nylon grommets (MS21266) on their F-35As with Spring-Fast Grommet Edging (M22529/2).
The Pentagon’s Joint Program Office and Lockheed Martin just wrapped up a $34 billion agreement for the production and delivery of 478 F-35As at the lowest price in the program’s history. The F-35A unit cost of $77.9M represents an estimated overall 12.8% reduction vs the previous $79.2M price.
These savings were driven by the GAO which was tasked in 2015 with optimizing the F-35 program. A key area was affordability and lowering the flyaway price. In addition, the F-35 program office has “Blueprint for Affordability” initiatives which could save ~$8 billion in F-35 costs – if fully realized by Lockheed Martin.
DTi’s recommendation is simple: replace all the glued in nylon grommets (MS21266) with Spring-Fast Grommet edging (M22529/2),
The estimated $6.5M in program cost savings can help Lockheed offset any drop in revenue from the lower price.
Spring-Fast is simple to install, yields best in class performance and is fully qualified as an FAA approved replacement part and already has NAVAIR approval.
Nick Petri, Managing Director of DTi indicated, “Spring-Fast grommet edging provides best in class performance for half the cost. Any OEM in the aerospace vertical who uses the old nylon grommet edging with glue can take advantage of significant cost savings – and can easily estimate it using our Airframe Savings Model.
The Airframe Savings Model used to calculate overall install cost savings for Lockheed has several components:

  • Estimates of the time taken for each step in the install operation for each grommet
  • The time estimate was used to calculate the install cost per grommet (below) using a $200 WRAP rate.
  • Installation Cost per MS21266 grommet – $83.68
  • Installation Cost per M22529/2 grommet – $29.00
  • This cost was then applied to the number of planes (478) and penetrations (250) to generate a program savings value of $6.5M

A full copy of the spreadsheet which allows you to change the # of planes, # of penetrations and the WRAP rate can be obtained at the link above.
Read more on our website.
For additional information, contact [email protected] (North America/Asia) or [email protected] (EMEA/India/Latin America).
About DTi device technologies GmbH and Device Technologies, Inc.
Device Technologies, Inc. (DTi) and DTi device technologies GmbH (DTi GmbH) design and manufacture high demand specialty wire and equipment protection components: grommet edging, enclosure seals, edge trims, radius control modules, wire protection sleeving, EMI shielding/absorber/thermal materials, and linear and selective polymer coatings for cable, wire, flat wire, stampings and profile metal-formed products.
In business since 1984, DTi serves virtually every manufacturing sector including Rail, Aerospace, Automotive, Military, Energy, IT/Datacenters, Telecom, HVAC, Medical, Gaming and Food Service.
DTi GmbH’s consulting arm, DTi Consulting, offers advanced digitalization services for manufacturers who want to optimize production spaces, processes and increase productivity. We create the data and models using leading 3D laser scanning technology for a wide range of existing building applications and production processes.
DTi continually invests in R&D to improve its products and processes to enhance cost savings and efficiency opportunities for its clients. DTi is fully compliant with ISO 9001 and AS9100 standards.

Compression latch withstands high pressure cleaning in food and medical applications

By PR Editor | November 20, 2019
Southco, Inc., a global leader in engineered access solutions, has expanded its successful line of E3 VISE ACTION Compression Latches with a new version designed to resist intensive and forceful chemical cleaning procedures. Southco’s High Pressure Sealed E3 VISE ACTION Compression Latch is sealed to withstand high-pressure, high-temperature wash-down procedures to meet hygiene requirements.

Southco’s High Pressure Sealed E3 VISE ACTION Compression Latch is sealed to IP69K to prevent liquid ingress and is DIN EN1672-2 compliant, making it an ideal solution for applications where hygiene and cleanliness is essential. With its robust stainless steel construction, the High Pressure Sealed E3 resists harsh environments and chemicals typically used in food processing machinery and medical equipment applications.
The High Pressure Sealed E3 provides the same quick, secure closure as the standard E3 series, and delivers robust, vibration-resistant fastening. Additionally, the High Pressure Sealed E3 features the same panel hole prep as the standard series for easy retrofit and is available in a variety of grip lengths to provide optimal door closure.
Global Product Manager Loc Tieu adds, “The High Pressure Sealed E3 VISE ACTION Compression Latch is designed to withstand heavy wash-downs where hygiene and easy cleaning procedures are of the highest importance. The new E3 latch provides the same consistent performance as our standard E3 Compression Latch series, and offers best-in-class compression latching.”

Southco actuator with integrated electronic lock/unlock functionality

By Mike Santora | November 12, 2019

Southco, Inc. has expanded its line of actuators with a keyless electronic version designed for rugged applications. Southco’s AC-10-EM Actuator with Electronic Lock/Unlock functionality eliminates the need for mechanical key access when connected to a remote access controller, such as a key fob, or to an existing control system, such as a button located within a vehicle’s interior.
Southco’s AC-10-EM Actuator with Electronic Lock/Unlock features a heavy duty design and corrosion resistant construction, providing robust protection for outdoor applications including off-highway doors and specialty vehicle storage panels. With its recessed handle and flush mount paddle design, the AC-10-EM eases operation when opening panels and doors with a gloved hand, while reducing snag and catch points.
Global Product Manager Cindy Bart adds, “The AC-10-EM Actuator with Electronic Lock/Unlock provides a convenient upgrade to electronic access control. The actuator’s corrosion-resistant construction makes it an ideal solution for outdoor applications that require robust performance and remote actuation.”

AERCO and MovinCool lines keep operations running smoothly

The end of daylight saving time means severe, cold weather is near and companies are turning up the heat. While most heating systems, if maintained properly, can last for several heating seasons, long-term asset planning is important to prevent systems from failing during extreme cold temperatures.
Whether it’s replacing a hot water heater or installing a portable heat pump for temporary or emergency use, Tozour Energy Systems has the necessary equipment to keep buildings warm while operations continue uninterrupted. Tozour’s heating solutions feature AERCO boilers and parts, and its emergency equipment rentals include MovinCool heaters as a supplemental heat source for office buildings, classrooms, hospitals, medical facilities, industrial facilities, warehouses and more.
AERCO provides the highest-quality products and system designs that deliver energy-saving, compact space heating. The Innovation and Benchmark Platinum series feature units with the greatest efficiency and performance. Tozour’s team, with its responsive call times, will install AERCO hot water heaters promptly to minimize disruptions.
Innovation – This unique tankless design has the smallest footprint of any commercial water heater and saves facility space by eliminating storage tanks and its use of common venting. Innovation provides safe, reliable hot water on demand without the need for any significant storage volume to buffer load change and provide stable hot water temperatures.
Benchmark Platinum – These units save time and money by reducing installation, startup and operating costs. Benchmark Platinum provides engineers, facilities managers and building owners the flexibility for retrofits and new construction that require one or multiple boilers.
For emergencies, MovinCool heat pumps can be the solution for temporary heating needs, as well as long-term reliability. MovinCool, well known for its industry-leading line of portable spot air conditioners, offers the Climate Pro® Series high-performance portable heat pumps, which combine both cooling and heating capabilities in a single, self-contained unit.
Climate Pro® Series – Climate Pro heat pumps are smaller and lighter than other comparable units, yet offer significantly higher, best-in-class performance. The systems are fully compatible with most standard, off-the-shelf wireless thermostats, and controllers for these portable units offer instant functionality.
“Businesses can’t afford to have extended down times,” said Kevin Duffy, president of Tozour Energy Systems. “Hot water heater installations are done quickly, and the Tozour rental service team is just a phone call away with solutions for every heating challenge.”
As well as carrying the AERCO and MovinCool lines, Tozour is the only Trane commercial equipment franchise and HVAC parts and supplies dealer for Philadelphia and South Jersey. This gives customers exclusive access to a team of dedicated service technicians as well as an inventory of Trane rental equipment, parts and supplies.
Tozour’s three Parts and Supplies locations are in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania; Pleasantville, New Jersey; and Moorestown, New Jersey.
Tozour Energy Systems is a full-service HVAC and building automation provider based in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, and is a franchisee of Trane, a business of Ingersoll Rand. The company provides customers with a diverse range of solutions, including building automation, equipment services, energy conservation services, green building design, controls, parts, supplies and responsible technical support throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Named one of the “Best Places to Work” by the Philadelphia Business Journal, Tozour Energy Systems is a member of Green Building United. For more information, visit

Accuride International To Demonstrate ‘Infinite Possibilities,’ E-Commerce for Woodworkers at WMS 2019


Accuride® International, the world’s largest designer and manufacturer of sliding hardware, will show woodworkers at WMS 2019 the wide array of innovative, reliable solutions it offers to help them serve customers and stay ahead of competitors. WMS will be held at The International Centre in Toronto from Oct. 31 – Nov. 2.

Exhibiting in Booth 1060, Accuride will provide interactive application displays, individual tours, and personalized demos. In addition to demonstrating its product solutions, the company will share information on its recently-launched online store and new website, which add convenience, education and support to the user experience.
“Accuride helps the woodworking community explore and pursue infinite possibilities – encompassing all the rooms of a home or business, any size project, traditional or experimental design, and all kinds of furnishings,” said Sid Kalantar, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Accuride. “Professional cabinetmakers, furniture manufacturers and hobbyists count on us for myriad innovative and inspiring solutions.”
Canadian popularity

Many Canadian woodworkers depend on Accuride. For example, Devin Chisholm, of Bad Wolf Woodworking in Ontario’s Niagara Region, said: “The diversity in the Accuride lineup keeps me coming back. I know that whenever a customer has an odd request, I will find an Accuride product to address the requirement – whether, for example, the customer needs an extremely short slide, a slide for a pocket door in a closet, or a high-strength slide for a truck-bed extension. And I never have to worry about quality because it’s always top-notch. Accuride makes my job easier.”

Visitors to Accuride’s WMS booth will learn how to use the company’s BHMA- and AWI-certified products for drawers, shelves, trays, doors, panels, computer screens and other fixtures. They will get to try out such features as Easy-Close, Touch-Release and Self-Close.
Highlighted solutions

Accuride will showcase these innovations:

  • 116RC Heavy-Duty Linear Track System, a state-of-the-art, ADA-compliant solution for sliding doors that also supports such structures as large screens, panels, movable walls, and movable countertops
  • Two-Way Travel Slides, which offer double extension where it’s needed most, including in kitchen islands, pass-through shelves, dining or entertainment bars, medical carts, and drawers or trays at drive-through pharmacies or banks

Online-store benefits
To expand access to its products, Accuride earlier this year launched an e-commerce site for North American customers, which it will demonstrate at AMS.
“We created the online store to meet customers’ needs to be able to order a broad selection of our solutions anytime, anywhere and on any device,” Kalantar said. “Our e-commerce option closes geographical distribution gaps, letting customers purchase a full range of specialty products, as well as popular slides, including undermount and heavy-duty solutions.”

More information:

Accuride solutions for woodworkers:
Woodworker customer stories:

About Accuride® International:
Founded in 1958 as a small tool and die shop, Accuride International is the world’s largest designer and manufacturer of sliding hardware. The company offers the broadest selection of movement solutions across markets and applications, as well as unmatched innovation, quality and dependability. Accuride produces light-duty, medium-duty and heavy-duty drawer and door slides for commercial and residential uses, and it is the leading producer of specialty slides. The company has nearly 1 million square feet of manufacturing space, spanning three continents. Its products are certified, compliant and warrantied, and they are widely specified by architects, designers and engineers.

Heavy-duty draw latch

Concordville, Pennsylvania – Southco Inc.’s heavy-duty 37 lever assist latch accommodates misalignment of heavier doors and panels. The newest 37 lever assist latch provides tight latch grip and additional clamping force in challenging operating conditions.
Southco’s 37 latch series features a flexible design and substantial handgrip area that allows the latch to easily engage in challenging field conditions, even with gloved hands. Constructed of corrosion resistant, flexible rubber, 37 latches absorb and reduce vibration and will remain closed even when the application flexes or moves.
Southco’s 37 draw latch series offers reliability in harsh outdoor environments, providing a robust, flexible latching solution for a broad range of challenging industry applications including off-highway, industrial machinery, and transportation.
Global Product Manager Jim Grady adds, “Southco’s 37 draw latch series allows heavy panels to be latched securely, even when there are large variations in alignment and tolerance. With its rubber body construction, the 37 draw latch series eliminates vibration and noise, and prevents common paint or finish damage that may be caused by metal-on-metal contact.”

3634 + 3634EC Heavy-Duty for Wider Drawers

Model 3634EC is a heavy-duty slide designed for wide drawers and includes an Easy-Close feature to bring drawers to a smooth, gentle close.
Santa Fe Springs, CA – Accuride expands the company’s heavy-duty product line with the addition of model 3634 and its Easy-Close counterpart (3634EC), soft-closing slides designed for drawers up to 42″ wide and loads up to 150 lbs. The 3634EC fulfills the market need for a reliable soft-closing slide solution for wide-drawers–perfect for a range of commercial applications. The optional Easy-Close feature brings drawers to a smooth and gentle close, helping to prevent the shifting of contents when closing.
Both 3634 models have the same cabinet member hole pattern as Accuride’s 3832 slides, simplifying installation and saving valuable time in high production environments.
Additional features for both 3634 + 3634EC include 1″ of over-travel to provide full access to drawer contents, and silencing to ensure quieter operation. These products are unhanded and offer a lever disconnect to facilitate drawer removal. Both products are available in clear zinc (C) or electroplate black (CB) finishes, in lengths of 12″–28″. The 14″ length is full extension only (no over-travel).
Model 3634 (without Easy-Close), supports loads up to 200 lbs. when side-mounted and 75 lbs. when flat-mounted. The 3634 includes a hold-in detent feature to help keep drawers in a closed and secure position.
These slides are the ultimate solution for wide drawer applications supporting kitchen pots and pans, dishware, and small appliances. Commercial applications include file or supply storage in business and medical offices, as well as retail displays and fixtures.
Stay tuned for more information from Accuride.
About Accuride International:
For more than 50 years, Accuride International has been a leader in the design and manufacture of ball bearing slides and movement solutions for a broad range of applications across a variety of industries. Offering engineering and product design, application solutions, manufacturing expertise, and more, Accuride is a worldwide presence that can collaborate with companies in any industry, anywhere. For more information, visit

Micro-Living with Accuride in Action

    • The micro-living movement continues to grow, featuring affordable and efficient designs for different, adaptable lifestyles
    • Accuride solutions are used in a variety of micro-living builds, such as tiny homes, rental campers, renovated buses, and overland trucks
    • Popular choices in micro-space projects include our 3135EC Easy-Close Undermount Slides and 9300 series for functionality and reliability

    The practice of micro-living—an ongoing movement to live tiny, affordably, and efficiently—is growing larger. In a previous blog post, we told you about the history of micro-living and how you, too, could start living smaller and smarter with innovative designs. Today, we want to spotlight the many ways Accuride solutions have made downsizing possible. Get inspired by these examples of micro-living with Accuride in action, at home and on the road.
    Tiny Homes and ApartmentsDownsizing your house is one way to minimize expenses, allowing you to expand your lifestyle elsewhere. At the forefront of the micro-living movement are tiny homes. No matter how big or small your living space is, Accuride has a solution for your build.
    FutureHAUS is one bold and inventive tiny home featuring Accuride’s slides. Joseph Wheeler, a professor at Virginia Tech’s College of Architecture and Urban Studies, led a team that designed this energy-efficient, modular concept home, which occupies merely 900 sq. ft. Most impressive is FutureHAUS’ adaptability and movable environment. Fixtures, lighting, and spaces automatically adjust to the size of the user. For every movable portion of the home, Accuride products are used. For example, our 116RC Linear Track System provides an affordable, lightweight solution for smooth, linear movement to the upper and lower cabinets in the kitchen. You might also consider our 115RC Medium-Duty Linear Track System as an alternative for lighter loads.

    Tiny homes don’t have to be houses. In small apartments, designers are constantly inventing new ways to maximize storage and organization. For instance, our 2907 Light-Duty Slides were used to make this slide-out eating counter—one useful way to expand your cooking and dining area.
    TrailersThe micro-living movement extends beyond stationary homes. On the road, micro-living with Accuride can be seen in trailers of all shapes and sizes. For example, Carapate Aventure designed a dreamy, functional homage to teardrop trailers with this mini-caravan that answers nature’s call to adventure. The trailer offers a stylish living space, equipped with a bed for two, wide windows for a sprawling view, and an indoor/outdoor kitchen for maximum efficiency. Carapate Aventure chose our 9301E Heavy-Duty Slides, which can support up to 600 lbs. and are perfect for boosting weighty pullout pantries.
    There are countless Accuride solutions for trailer designs, as demonstrated by The Modern Caravan. This creative duo enlisted Accuride 3135EC Easy-Close Undermount Slides for kitchen drawers and under-bed storage in a renovated trailer called “Hope.” Kate Oliver and Ellen Prasse, the married couple who founded The Modern Caravan, have remodeled nine custom vintage Airstream trailers together.
    The owners’ passion for quality materials led them to Accuride. Our 3135EC slides, in particular, use Accuride’s patented Easy-Close technology, ensuring your cabinets won’t slam or rack while you live on the go.
    With Accuride’s slides, you never have to sacrifice storage for a compact home on the road.
    VansIf you’re looking for a temporary micro-living solution, check out camper rentals, such as Voyager Campervans, which offer small-scale leisure breaks. Based in Minneapolis and founded by Grady Linder, Voyager Campervans provides eco-friendly rentals for travelers looking to explore nature comfortably.
    To maximize space in these compact cargo vans, Voyager Campervans’ vehicles offer innovative storage solutions and hidden pullout furniture, including a sleeping bunk, a pullout kitchen, and rear storage. For these pullouts, 9308E Heavy-Duty Lock-In & Lock-Out Slides provide effortless movement with a crucial locking feature that keeps drawers and trays closed or opened.
    Overland VehiclesAccuride solutions are used not only in homes and on the road, but also off the road in overland vehicles. In fact, our drawer slides are transforming outdoor living with their versatility and dependability in robust projects.
    Into The Wild Overland, for example, designs sturdy trailers that can handle tough terrain. Founder Matt Reichel likens his trailers to Swiss army knives. The comparison is apt, given that these trailers are packed with amenities to fit all your needs. Those include a 100-watt solar panel, a bed for two, a hot-water shower, and a fully-equipped pullout kitchen. That’s where our 9300 Heavy-Duty Slide Series comes in. Matt chooses Accuride to handle heavy loads and ensure security in his overland trailers.
    For epic trips, check out Corey Whitaker of Overland Dad. Father to twins and owner of a modified Land Cruiser 200, Corey shows us that Accuride solutions look great in any vehicle. His rear cargo system makes the most of our 9301E Heavy-Duty Full Extension Drawer Slides’ increased load capacity and shock-absorbing ball-bearing space bumpers. Wherever your adventure takes you, Accuride solutions will help you get there.
    Whether you build the tiny home of your dreams or hit the road to see the world, Accuride has the perfect space-saving solution for your project. At Accuride, we’re always moving forward, because we know you are, too. Where will micro-living take you?
    Have you designed a remarkable tiny living space? We want to see it! Show us your crafty homes and renovated vans, trucks, and buses. Tag us on Instagram or use the #Accuride for a chance to be featured among our inspiring builders and DIYers. Follow us on FacebookLinkedInPinterestTwitter, and YouTube for the latest on the possibilities with micro-living.


Southco’s R4-82 Rotary Latch with Paddle Actuator

Southco, Inc. has recently expanded its successful line of rotary latching solutions with the launch of the R4-82 Rotary Latch with Paddle Actuator. The newest addition to the R4 Rotary Latch series combines a compact rotary latch with a heavy duty, square paddle actuator, enabling direct actuation without the need for a connected cable.
Available in steel with corrosion resistant zinc plating or black powder coat finishes, the R4-82 offers versatile key locking security. By combining both rotary latch and actuator into one solution, the R4-82 simplifies installation without sacrificing strength or performance.
With high ultimate load for heavy duty applications and options for thru hole or stud mounting, the R4-82 is an excellent solution for exterior applications that require robust performance. The R4-82 Rotary Latch includes an integrated bumper for reduced vibration, and is available with single or two-stage latching for enhanced safety and security.
Global Product Manager Cynthia Bart adds, “The R4-82 Rotary Latch with Paddle Actuator is a comprehensive solution that simplifies design and installation. The R4-82 builds off of our current rotary solutions, but features a reinvented paddle with a square shape that complements the modern exterior design of Industrial Machinery, Rail and Off-Highway applications.”
For more information about Southco’s complete line of R4 Rotary Latching solutions, please visit

New Lever-Actuated Plunger from Southco Saves Time When Removing Electronic Components

CONCORDVILLE, Pa., October 16, 2019 — Southco, Inc., a global leader in engineered access solutions, has extended its successful line of captive hardware with a new version that features lever-actuated operation for faster and easier latching and unlatching of electronic components. Southco’s compact lever-actuated 56 Spring-Loaded Plunger offers an improved grip for simplified hand operation and saves time when installing or removing components in tight spaces.
Southco’s lever-actuated 56 Spring-Loaded Plunger boasts a useful hold-open feature when the lever is actuated, providing clear visual confirmation when the plunger is unlatched and keeping the plunger in a retracted position for easy removal. Actuated with a single motion, the lever-actuated 56 Spring-Loaded Plunger saves time in comparison to current round knob, hold-open versions requiring a two-step lift and turn operation to unfasten.
Additionally, the lever-actuated 56 Spring-Loaded Plunger is available in prism colors for differentiation between application zones and is available in thread-in, flare-in and press-in installation options.
Global Product Manager Jim Grady adds, “The easy to grip lever-actuated 56 Spring-Loaded Plunger provides quick hand operation for latching and unlatching, facilitating the installation and replacement of components used in various electronics applications including HDD carriers, metal trays and power supplies.”
For more information about Southco’s complete line of Captive Screw solutions, please visit, email the 24/7 customer service department at, call 610-459-4000 or fax your inquiry to 610-459-4012.
About Southco
Southco, Inc. is the leading global designer and manufacturer of engineered access solutions. From quality and performance to aesthetics and ergonomics, we understand that first impressions are lasting impressions in product design. For over 70 years, Southco has helped the world’s most recognized brands create value for their customers with innovative access solutions designed to enhance the touch points of their products in transportation and industrial applications, medical equipment, data centers and more. With unrivalled engineering resources, innovative products and a dedicated global team, Southco delivers the broadest portfolio of premium access solutions available to equipment designers throughout the world.

ABB’s Steel City® 8-inch recessed poke-through floor box named a NECA Showstopper

The Steel City® 8-inch recessed poke-through (RPT8) floor box from ABB Electrification’s Installation Products business was among the Showstopper winners announced at the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) Show held in Las Vegas, Sept. 14-17.
The Showstopper winners were chosen from a showcase of 157 new products that exhibitors submitted for consideration for use by electrical contractors on the job. Each winner was selected from one of five categories. The Steel City RPT8 floor box was recognized in the Low Voltage category.
The Steel City RPT8 floor box features five gangs and is round to fit into an 8-inch diameter drilled hole. Two gangs are dedicated for power, while the remaining three gangs can be individually configured for any combination of power and data. A unique feature is the center compartment, which is rated for a wiring device of up to 50 amps and can accept ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) and twist-lock devices. There is also a bottom compartment that can be configured for separate emergency power.
In commercial applications, the increased use of laptops and mobile devices has driven demand for more outlets. The 2017 National Electrical Code (NEC) includes section 210.71, which requires the installation of floor boxes in commercial building meeting rooms of more than 215 square feet. The new NEC requirement seeks to reduce the safety hazards that occur when cables run from a table or desk to wall outlets.
“Given the limitations on the number of holes that may be drilled into a floor, it’s important to maximize the outlet capacity of each location,’’ said Michael Martin, senior product manager at ABB Installation Products. “The new NEC requirement and the increase in the use of cabling creates a unique opportunity for contractors, in not just new commercial construction, but also in upgrading the even larger pool of existing commercial building spaces. The Steel City RPT8 floor box is ideal for these installations on the second floor and above in commercial buildings.”
The Steel City RPT8 floor box also features a core-drilled design that eliminates the chance of error when the floor box is installed in a hole that is core-drilled after all walls and cabinetry are set. These errors would otherwise result in costly jackhammering and concrete repairs

ABB’s Electrification business recently announced $120m in investments to its U.S. operations, including building and production expansions, new hires and equipment improvements.
ABB (NYSE: ABB) is a pioneering technology leader with a comprehensive offering for digital industries. With a history of innovation spanning more than 130 years, ABB is today a leader in digital industries with four customer-focused, globally leading businesses: Electrification, Industrial Automation, Motion, and Robotics & Discrete Automation, supported by its common ABB Ability™ digital platform. ABB’s market‑leading Power Grids business will be divested to Hitachi in 2020. ABB operates in more than 100 countries with about 147,000 employees.

New Exoskeleton Shoulders Rehab Burden for Stroke Patients Device assists physical therapists in improving functionality for stroke patients.

Bob Whitford is not a man who gives up easily, not in his personal or professional pursuits. Whitford, a senior occupational therapist at St. David’s Medical Center in Austin, Texas, lost his arm as a young boy but overcame his disability to achieve success in competitive cycling. He eventually won a bronze medal in cycling while competing for the USA Paralympic team.

At St. David’s, Whitford strives to help patients show the same determination in their rehabilitation paths, especially patients who have suffered a stroke, one of the nation’s leading medical concerns. In 2014, St. David’s opened a center to provide a continuum of care for stroke patients who survived strokes at a young age. The center is one of the few in the nation that focuses on meeting the unique goals and rehabilitation needs of younger and active stroke patients.

A new bilateral upper extremity device called Harmony, is assisting Whitford and patients in their rehabilitation journey. “Upper limb exoskeletons are emerging in the rehab market due to recent technology advancements that have made it possible,” Whitford said. “I believe we are just scratching the surface on exoskeleton technology development and we will continue to make rapid progress as industrial robotic technologies drive the industry in biotech applications.”

Shoulders and their intricate anatomical patterns provide a unique challenge for designers of exoskeletons. Strokes often cause paralysis or weakness of one or more of the muscles in the arm or shoulder, and shoulder pain is common. Treatment and rehabilitation begin shortly after the stroke occur.

Harmony, which was developed by Harmonic Bionics in Austin, Texas, tracks the shoulder joint as well as the scapular movement of the shoulder girdle. The exoskeleton maximizes the range of motion of the human shoulder and the shoulder girdle while ensuring safety with physical and programmed interlocks. Harmony allows physicaltherapists to work with the patients to improve the functionality and healing from neuromuscular damage.

“Our target is to get stroke patients moving the hemiparetic arm (the arm on the side impacted by the stroke) more efficiently and fluidly, which leads to improved outcomes,” Whitford said. “Increasing range and coordination of movement is always the goal with our neuro-injured clients.”

“Our robotic solution frees the therapist to do what they do best and that is to interact with the human, which is an underrated but critical part of the recovery process,” said Rohit John Varghese, Harmonic’s head of product development. “It creates an intimate dynamic between the therapist, the patient and the robot. The result is that survivors of stroke will get better faster and more effectively.”

Ensuring Alignment With The Patient
The critical piece in Harmony is a unique shoulder mechanism that powers coordinated motions of five joints in the shoulder complex, which is the key to shoulder rehabilitation according to Professor Ashish Deshpande, director of the ReNeu Robotics Lab where the project was conceived. The project began in the ReNeu Robotics Labat The University of Texas’ Cockrell School of Engineering in 2011 with funding from the National Science Foundation. Ensuring alignment between the exoskeleton and the patient is critical to prevent stress on the patient’s joints and protect them from injury.

Each side of the robot moves the patient’s arm and shoulder through the full natural range of motion. It can be adjusted for people of all shapes and sizes. The Harmonic team used information from extensive databases to collect its anthropometric size data. Based on that data, Harmony can be adjusted to fit more than 95 percent of the American population.

To be effective in a clinical setting, it is important for the exoskeleton to quickly and smoothly change its physical dimensions to align with different body sizes. Oil-based lubrication for the linear bearings causes many issues, including the accumulation of dirt, which allows for bacteria to accumulate. In addition, the resizing mechanisms need to be highly compact to allow room for the electronics and actuators. All linear bearing mechanisms need to lock once in position to prevent unwanted changes in size.

The Harmonic team solved multiple issues by choosing linear bearings from igus, the Germany-based manufacturer of motion plastics. The company runs its operations out of Providence, R.I. The bearings allow for smooth and bind-free size adjustment without lubrication and size and weight reduction.

High-Performance Plastics
Harmony includes six iglide J bearings, a versatile endurance performer that exhibits low wear against different shaft materials and low coefficients of friction in dry operation. They are cost-effective bearings when low-pressure loads are needed, and are frequently used in automation, printing, packaging technology and aerospace engineering.

A custom bearing housing retains a drylin R linear plain bearing liner, which reduces the size significantly compared to previous models of the exoskeleton. drylin R products are made with the iglide J material, and are frequently used in packaging, food processing, and lab automation equipment. The shoulder mechanism also includes drylin R bearings, which operate dry and are resistant to the chemicals used for frequent cleanings.

dryLin T rail guide systems manufactured by igus ensure high rigidity in the stand for the exoskeleton. The guides are extremely resistant to dirt and offer a low coefficient of friction and wear. They are also frequently used in machine building, machine tools, package handling and the woodworking industry.

“We needed to design the exoskeleton to have some kind of linear motion that is reliable across the life of the robot,” Varghese said. “It needed to be lightweight, and it needed to be clean. We could not introduce greases and oils into a medical setting. The igus components met all of these conditions. They were exactly what we were looking for.”

Focusing on The Shoulder
Incidents of stroke are forecasted to rise significantly over the next 10 years, which was one of the primary reasons Harmonic dedicated its research toward developing an exoskeleton for stroke patients.

“As medical care gets better, people live longer,” Deshpande said. “Also, trend lines show increasing incidences of stroke among younger populations. That results in lost productivity and a longer duration of suffering.”

Many assistive devices have focused on ambulation, improved functionality of the legs. “Thanks to thesuccess of the ADA in the United States, a lot of that problem is being solved with wheelchair accessibility,” Deshpande said. “But the next stage to enabling the basic activities of daily living, is helping stroke survivors and other people with neuromuscular diseases to become more independent and restore function to the upper body.”

Research on improving physical therapy techniques of the shoulders is greatly hindered by the highly subjectivemetrics that are used for assessment of recovery. “The gold standard assessment scale for recovery is still a subjective assessment by the therapist on the scale of 1-5,“  Varghese said.“It’s difficult to come up with an alternative form of measurementwithout a device like Harmony, especially for the shoulder. It’s such a complicated joint—not just the ball and socket—but thecomplex motion of the shoulder girdleas well. We must make sure the arm and the shoulder move in coordination. The exoskeleton re-teaches that coordination.”

Long Rehab Journey
There is no quick fix for stroke patients in their rehabilitation. The path toward regaining functionality is time-consuming and arduous, and many patients express frustration at the inability to make swift, significant strides.

“The biggest challenge with stroke survivors is the duration required to retrain the injured brain to a function level and the patience required by the survivor to persist in their own rehab journey,” Whitford said. “Many patients give up too soon or develop bad habits that persist throughout the rest of their lives.”

Harmony helps gives immediate and accurately measured feedback. For him and other therapists, it will be a valuable tool in helping a stroke patient advance towards normalizing movement.

“We are limited at the clinic, and sometimes it takes years of therapy to become functional,” Whitford said. “There is a misconception that normal use and movement will be restored fully. Our hope is to provide an adjunct to existing strategies in clinics and at home with stroke patients.”

Achieving Big Solar O&M Savings by Focusing on the Smallest Part

How NEXTracker saves time, money, and labor on installation of solar power plants.

Fasteners are a key but often overlooked aspect of racking system installation and maintenance. NEXTracker, one of STANLEY® Engineered Fastening’s premier customers, designs, manufactures, builds, and services the world’s most advanced single-axis solar tracker systems for small to utility-scale power plants around the world. As the cost of panels drop, improving fastener efficiencies have proven to be an unexpected opportunity to save time, money and labor on the installation and maintenance of their solar plants.

NEXTracker has performed considerable cost evaluations of the tracker portion of operations and maintenance (O&M) budgets on sites small and large. O&M costs represent the annual expenditures required to operate and maintain a solar CSP plant over its lifetime of 30 years. In their analyses, they’ve found that conventional linked-row trackers typically use 85% more fasteners than are used on their NX Horizon™ self-powered trackers. That’s because the majority of these fasteners are permanent and “swaged” or fastened, requiring little or no maintenance.

In order to deliver the best value and highest performance to our customers, we invest in new technologies that will reduce installation cost and improve long term durability and reliability.— Dan ShugarChief Executive Officer, NEXTrackerMaintaining the system hardware of a panel’s mounting structure can be a tedious and costly process. Dispatching crews to check the torque on screws or lubricate joints are activities that can add thousands of hours to an annual O&M budget, but in a centralized single-axis tracker (SAT) it must be done since failure of a single component can impact system performance dramatically.

“In order to deliver the best value and highest performance to our customers, we invest in new technologies that will reduce installation cost and improve long term durability and reliability,” states NEXTracker CEO Dan Shugar. “We are always looking for ways to reduce our environmental impact by eliminating waste and improving our operating efficiency.”

System hardware that does not require torquing, but instead relies on the tension between components will reduce the need for manual checks. Torquing, the twisting force required to spin a nut up a bolt, is by nature inexact because of the many factors that can affect friction—from surface texture to debris, rust and humidity. By contrast, “tension” involves the use of battery-powered or hydraulic tools to stretch screws and swage to fasten bolts to a structure. ln fact, the swaging of a lockbolt is five times stronger than its nut-and·bolt counterpart fastening system. Regular nuts and bolts have a gap which can cause loosening by vibration.

NEXTracker uses highly durable, permanent fasteners, developed in part with STANLEY Engineered Fastening, that do not loosen over time, thereby eliminating the need for periodic torque checking. No oils or lubricants are required in the maintenance of the system, as all motors and gears are sealed. Additionally, NEXTracker relies on installation tools like the PB2500N NeoBolt® cordless lockbolt tool to provide enhanced mobility in the field without the constraints of cords and air-compressors, improves accessibility to narrower spaces and maximizes output and reduces operator fatigue thanks to its lightweight, ergonomic design.

The cordless installation tool from Stanley Assembly Technologies has delivered huge improvements in the speed and efficiency with which we install our solar trackers. Instead of carrying a heavy generator and compressor around a large jobsite and spending hours maintaining and refilling this equipment — our teams have the freedom of a battery powered tool,” explains NEXTracker CEO Dan Shugar.
Another way NEXTracker reduces time and labor costs on the maintenance of NEXTracker solar systems is because the sturdier fasteners and hydraulic installation tools they use help minimize damage during hurricanes and other extreme weather events. According to GCube, a leading renewable energy insurance provider, weather is the #1 source of insurance claims. In fact, issues related to fastener and equipment performance are further exacerbated by extreme weather risk, with events such as wildfires, hurricanes and tornadoes now occurring out of season and rising to 15% of all claims in 2018.

Fastener installation and maintenance may not be the most expensive component of the solar tracking system. But NEXTracker knows that improving fastener efficiencies by tapping into proven and emerging fastening technologies can lead to big O&M savings and enhanced protection against extreme weather risk

Keysight Technologies, Integrated Device Technologies Collaborate on Component Characterization of 5G mmWave Beamforming Integrated Circuits

Keysight’s 5G solutions enable beamformer provider to accelerate performance validation of designs for 5G NR base stations
SANTA ROSA, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Keysight Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: KEYS), a leading technology company that helps enterprises, service providers and governments accelerate innovation to connect and secure the world, announced an extended collaboration with Integrated Device Technologies, Inc. (IDT), a wholly owned subsidiary of Renesas Electronics Corporation (TSE: 6723), on component characterization of 5G new radio (NR) mmWave integrated circuit (IC) beamformers to accelerate development of 5G NR base stations.
[email protected] and Integrated Device Technologies Collaborate on Component Characterization of #5G #mmWave Beamforming Integrated Circuits. Keysight’s enables @RenesasAmerica to accelerate performance validation of designs for #5GNR base stations
Tweet thisNetwork equipment manufacturers (NEMs) use beamforming technology in 5G NR base stations to improve reliability and efficiency in the mmWave frequency spectrum. Beamforming uses multiple antennas (a phased array) to transmit the same signal, thereby increasing the signal strength to and from a chosen direction to extend cellular coverage, delivering higher data rates and an improved radio environment.
“Our close collaboration with Keysight enables us to validate that our 5G beamformers and other components deliver the high performance and low-power consumption essential for 5G network infrastructure equipment,” said Naveen Yanduru, vice president and general manager of IDT’s RF product division.
As the bandwidth of integrated circuits using 5G technology increases, it is important to characterize their performance over wider frequency ranges. This is why IDT uses Keysight’s high performance family of vector network analyzers (VNAs) to validate the performance of its beamformer ICs. Keysight solutions enable IDT, and other leading designers of ICs, to measure key parameters such as scattering (S) parameters, 1dB compression point (P1dB), third-order intermodulation products (IM3), and error vector magnitude (EVM).
“Our extended collaboration with IDT demonstrates how Keysight’s 5G beamformer IC test solutions enable designers of beamformers to validate performance using high precision measurement and simulation tools, ensuring reliable and efficient designs,” said Kailash Narayanan, vice president and general manager of Keysight’s wireless test group.
The two companies will use the Keysight Streamline USB VNA to demonstrate IDT’s active beamforming radio frequency integrated circuit (RFIC) for 5G NR at the 2019 IEEE International Symposium on Phased Array Systems and Technology (Array2019) taking place October 15 – 18, 2019 in Waltham, MA.

6 Discrete Designs Using Accuride Slides

In this blog post, we want to inspire you with projects that offer more than meets the eye: secret drawers and surprise compartments, to name a few. Whether you’re looking to increase security or expand storage space in your home, Accuride has a solution for your needs. Here are six hidden designs that transform everyday furniture into extraordinary opportunities for extra space. What might you spy with your little eye?
1. Pocket DoorsCounter space isn’t always readily available in a kitchen. Give yourself a little more room with pocket doors. Pocket doors “disappear” into wall crevices, creating more space in a super sleek way. They are also are an easy way to revitalize your cabinets in a hallway, dresser, or closet.
Our CB1321 Pro Pocket Slides have an auto-open feature that gently springs doors forward, ensuring your pocket doors are extended fully before closing. They are also designed to eliminate scuff-and-scrape-causing impacts on your pocket doors.
Impress house guests with more than just your savory cooking—conceal kitchen appliances with this secret compartment, made possible only with pocket doors.

2. Pantry PulloutAre you still looking for more kitchen space-saving solutions? Check out this custom-built pantry pullout from Curtis Doeve.
Curtis knows a lot about making the most of the small spaces you have. His work turns everyday cabinets into something more useful and unique. We may not think about pantry pullouts as secret compartment furniture, but their hidden design adds storage space with subtle elegance. Store spices, canned foods, condiments, and non-perishables here to free up more room in your kitchen shelves.
We recommend our 3634EC Medium-Duty Slides with Easy-Close for pantry pullout projects like this. Features such as easy-close and quiet operation add a feeling of luxury, making this secret design one keep an eye out for.

3. Puzzle Coffee TablePuzzle lovers rejoice! The missing piece to your living room has been found. Dede Bailey of Designed Decor crafted this beautiful coffee table, which features compact, covert drawers that can easily be hidden or put on display.
For this project, we recommend our 3832E Light-Duty Slides. These tried and trusted slides fit a wide range of uses, including the pullout drawers featured in this build.
You can have it all with this hidden design: your gorgeous, functional coffee table and your unique, communal puzzle space. Transform your living room into a game room in an instant, and then turn it back with none the wiser.

4. Secret Bookcase DoorSome secrets are worth sharing. This bookcase, which doubles as a secret door, is one we have to talk about.
Designed by Ryan Scurfield of Scurfield Woodworks, this multipurpose shelf beautifully displays your book collection, photographs, and curiosities—and then opens into an entirely new room! We love the beautiful walnut finish of this particular build, which adds an extra layer of elegance to the build.
Our 116RC Heavy-Duty Linear Track System is the perfect movement solution for this hidden door, instead of traditional hinges, to keep operations subtle and smooth. Alternatively, you can try our 115RC Medium-Duty Linear Track System for lighter projects. Invite a little magic into your home with this exciting addition.

5. Concealed DesktopYour home office is an essential part of your living space. When work responsibilities spill over into the weekend, you need a place to get work done reliably. Why not make the most of this space with a secret compartment for your most valuable technological asset: your computer?
To achieve this concealed desk transformation, use our Ascent CBLift-0019. This technical lift is uniquely engineered with a slim and compact design and allows you to lower and raise your device from your work area with a simple push. For additional tidiness, add a keyboard tray using our 2109 Light-Duty Slides, which allow you to effortlessly hide your keyboard under the table to free up space. Organization has never been so slick or so simple.

6. Secure CabinetryWhen it comes to security, collectors know only the best will do. Keyholes and keypads, however, can detract from the careful design of showcases. If you want a secure way to present collectibles, consider Senseon. Senseon is an award-winning system that brings building access control to the cabinet-level.
Commercial-grade concealed locking systems such as Senseon’s RFID locking system guarantee that your valuables will stay safe while stored in your home. Jim, a collector, uses Senseon because it’s a low-profile and easy-to-use locking system that he could install once and not have to tend to it regularly.
With this build, you can protect your collectibles without sacrificing design, so your treasured collectibles are the only things on display.

Secret storage spaces don’t have to be complicated. These hidden designs provide polished aesthetics, as well as practical functionality. We love the versatility displayed in plain sight and the extra belongings stored away safely. Accuride can help you build it, secure it, and store it securely. There are infinite possibilities for what furniture you might repurpose—what will you create next?
Have you designed secret compartment furniture before? Show us your top-secret projects! Tag us on Instagram or use the #Accuride for a chance to be featured. Follow us on FacebookLinkedInPinterestTwitter, and YouTube and keep an eye out for more hidden designs.

Striking a Better Chord

The piano is one of the world’s most popular musical instruments, but its mechanics and design are much the same as those made a century ago or more. Now, an English piano builder—who is an engineer and a pianist as well—devised what is being called a unique hammer system incorporating 3D-printed tribopolymer components that produce improved sound as well as durability and climate resistance.

Phoenix Pianos founder Richard Dain became interested in improving piano design as far back as 2003, work that led to design of a carbon fiber soundboard, said Phoenix’s James Bacon, who advised on and built the prototype. He next turned his attention to the hammer assembly, which strikes the piano’s strings to create sound.

A traditional hammer assembly—unchanged since the 19th century—consists of three parts made from hornbeam wood: the hammer flange that is fixed in place; a hinged shank that defines the flight of the hammer; and the hammer itself.

Although hornbeam is very hard and durable, it suffers from changes in temperature and humidity. Over time, the assembly warps and drifts, causing irregular strikes that affect the sound. Technicians must adjust or replace the assembly to ensure predictable and quality sound.

Further Reading: Additive Manufacturing: From Prototypes to Manufacturing Transformation

Dain wanted to replace the wood with carbon-fiber and create a bush-less hinge assembly and approached Cologne-based igus because of its work with plastics and polymers.

Bushings are made from cylindrical felt inserts to provide an interface between center pins and wooden parts. Fitting them properly is critical but tedious; they must be snug enough so the hammer does not wobble but still allow smooth operation. Eliminating the bushing could create a more efficient system.

Bacon said igus engineers produced CAD drawings of the new design and suggested its tribopolymer material used in industrial applications as the replacement for wood. Bacon said the material is key to the new assembly’s success.

Polymer piano hammer was designed and produced with Germany’s igus. Photo: igus
“In a traditional wooden hammer assembly, you might think of it as a fork and blade assembly, there is a part in that system called the drop screw, which is part of the regulation of the piano, it’s absolutely critical,” Bacon said. “And in a traditional wooden action it actually goes into blade, which is the center part. And they are very easily broken, because you’re drilling quite a substantial hole through a very thin piece of wood and the amount of material either side is minimal.”

“It is an inbuilt intrinsic weakness to that system. So the first thing Richard did was to design this part the other way around, so the drop screw goes through the fork. After a number of iterations, we have gravitated upon using a 2.5-millimeter roller bearing. It’s a very, very smooth and strong system and is highly effective in controlling the hammer’s flight,” Bacon said.

Further Reading: Six Innovative Ways to Use 3D Printing

The pins are center points for the bush-less system. With a 30 percent increase in diameter, they are stronger, smoother and more dimensionally precise than traditional wire center pins, he said. “It’s 3D-printed material, we can create our parts from our files, which are enormously accurate,” Bacon noted.

He added that the material is very easy to ream, ensuring a firm fit for the center pins, and is not subject to temperature or humidity variations. A pianist himself, Bacon said the new assembly also better stands up to more powerful strikes that often cause the traditional wooden assembly to drift.

The assembly has been rigorously tested on a player piano and Phoenix now is manufacturing them for its line of pianos.