The Engineering Challenge
One of the world's largest manufacturers and marketers of professional power tools and accessories (the “Company”) sought an engineered slide solution for use in a bench saw system. Of the many customer specifications set forth at the onset of JES' applications engineering phase, which was simultaneous with the Company's development of the bench saw system, two of them stood out. First, the engineered slide solution had to be capable of withstanding the harsh torrent of saw dust that is common in bench saw environments without sacrificing smoothness or exactness of operation. Second, the engineered slide solution had to extend and retract with minimal frictional resistance, thereby granting the end-user an easy-to-maneuver bench saw system.
Traditional ball-bearing slides, roller-bearing slides, and friction slides (direct metal-to-metal contact between constituent channels) weren't suited for the bench saw application – for fairly obvious reasons. The smoothness of operation of ball-bearing and roller-bearing slides would be entirely interrupted with the showers of saw dust that would entrench and coagulate themselves between ball-bearings, ball-bearing raceways, and the lubricants there between. Friction slides were subtractive from the desire of providing a “smooth feel” to the end-user.
JES kicked it's innovativeness into gear for the Company – with relentless drive to quickly solve their mechanical engineering challenge and add end-user value to the bench saw system.
Following extensive research and iterative applications engineering efforts that included design, custom prototyping, and performance testing, JES engineered a novel slide solution previously unbeknownst to the so-called slide market.
The slide solution consisted of three key elements: a generally square-shaped steel outer channel, a generally C-shaped steel inner channel, and a lubricated thermoplastic material over-molded directly onto the inner channel. The over-molding of the thermoplastic directly onto the inner channel married the two materials (plastic and steel) into one component – ultimately resulting in a two-section slide mechanism.
Naturally, the “standard” types of specifications set forth at the kickoff of an applications engineering phase, such as slide length, travel distance, and load-bearing capability, were met. In addition, the two requirements set forth by the Company that isolated this challenge as one of the most unique that JES has ever seen were exceeded. The one novel concept, awarded three United States patents, of over-molding thermoplastic material directly onto a steel inner channel solved the Company's two primary challenges.
- The direct interface between the steel outer channel and thermoplastic over-mold of the inner channel provided sliding functionality that was unaffected by the high-debris environment.
- The low coefficient of friction between steel and the selected thermoplastic material resulted in a maximum sliding force of only 2 pounds.
- JES set the Company's success as its primary objective – we succeed if they succeed.
- JES' willingness to tackle the challenge with speed – the Company's speed to market was an indicator of their success.
- JES' mindset to challenge the status quo – developing a unique, application-specific product solution that doesn't exist in any “slide catalog”.
- JES' “cradle to grave” approach focused entirely on the Company's objectives and requirements – from application engineering efforts applied at the Company's product development stages through sustained fulfillment of production demands when the Company's bench saw system hit the marketplace.
Contact Jonathan Engineered Solutions for assistance with drawer slides, ball bearing slides and steel slides today!