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WINTER 2020

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Distributor's Link Magazine Winter 2020 / Vol 43 No1

48 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S

48 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK PENN ENGINEERING 5190 Old Easton Road, Danboro, PA 18916 TEL 1-800-237-4736 FAX 215-766-0143 EMAIL info@pemnet.com WEB www.pemnet.com CLAMPDISK PROVIDES MINIATURE ALTERNATIVE TO SCREWS, SOLDERS AND ADHESIVES by Jay McKenna The need to use screws in a product can strike fear into the heart of the boldest fabricators. And for good reason. Top worries include cross-threading a screw, breaking the screw, ruining an assembly, and having a screw break during installation with the product subsequently breaking on the consumer. Original equipment manufacturers would love to eliminate screws on assemblies that may need to be disassembled for maintenance or repair. Other fastening technologies serve up other worries. Soldering’s weakest link as a method of fastening is the joint. Vibration and impact both threaten the soldering joint. At the same time, adhesives aren’t ideal, either. First off, they’re permanent. Second, most adhesives poison a product’s ability to be recycled, and adhesives that can be recycled are very expensive. For clamping two or more items together that may later need to be taken apart, fabricators have seen no appealing alternatives and reluctantly turned to the screw as the solution. It’s how things have been done. Several years ago, a phone manufacturer asked us to engineer an alternative to the screw for a concept product they were developing. They wanted something that could be removed by the consumer if needed, but that would still hold pieces together under normal wear. Ultimately, the manufacturer scrapped the concept, but we saw an opportunity and continued development on the fastener. PennEngineering developed a solution that could serve as a clamping alternative to screws, adhesives, rivets, soldering joints and other small fasteners for holding panels together. We followed an iterative process to develop and test a clamping solution that delivered the optimum clamp with a strong but flexible material that would remain in place until pried off for removal. In October, we commercially launched the CDS microPEM® ClampDisk. The stainless steel removable fastener presses straight onto a 1 mm pin. The disk’s upward flanges grip onto the pin and prevent push-off while the downward flanges flex and generate clamp load. The patent-pending fastener is simple to install and intentionally removable with a sharp object and 4 pounds (18 Newtons) of force. If the ClampDisk fastener is removed, it will reveal to repair or warranty technicians if the assembly has been tampered with. A new ClampDisk can be installed during reassembly. TECHNICAL ARTICLE CONTINUED ON PAGE 128

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