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Load-bearing connector is a push-fit solution

Load-bearing connector is a push-fit solution
Imagine a robust, self-activating, push-fit, reusable connector, which retains a strong mechanical grip, meeting the needs of applications where structural integrity of a framework must be maintained but where rapid assembly and disassembly is also required. How useful would that be? How much would it speed up system design? If you're looking for something that fits the bill, Corcoran Connectors provide bespoke connectors that do exactly that.

Corcoran Connectors believes its innovative connector technology has the potential to transform any industry where structural frameworks need to be assembled securely and quickly. The company has most recently been working with major players in the aluminium trussing industry, designing connectors for temporary structures. Its single-unit, push-fit X2 connector eliminates the need for nuts, bolts, clips or pins, allowing truss modules to be joined in seconds, saving time and labour costs.

"I found it hard to believe that, in the 21st century, we were still nailing trusses together," says Australian inventor, Allen Corcoran. "A push-fit connector has long been the holy grail for truss systems in the events, exhibition and staging industry, and my invention has been described as the most significant innovation the market has seen in 20 years."

He continues: "My interest began when I was asked to design a race-car space-frame for a computer simulator game. I wanted to create something quick and easy for anyone to assemble and disassemble. I thought it would be simple to find a push-fit, load-bearing device to connect tubular structures but there was nothing out there." As a result Corcoran developed this unique enabling technology to join different tube sizes with high load requirements. The potential exists to use his connectors in a great many industries, and also in extreme environments, under water and while wearing gloves. They can be made in different materials for a wide range of end-uses from transitional disaster-relief shelters to flat-pack furniture.

Initial tensile load testing has shown that a single 48.3mm diameter X2 connector can carry a load of 6000kg. It retains a strong mechanical grip by using a ball-lock system similar to hydraulic and pneumatic pipe couplings. The clever part is the activation system. The X2 connects behind truss chord collars but alternative designs can carry a substantial load on stock tubing, without the need for collars. Corcoran Connectors is also developing a design which incorporates a load sensor to allow on- or off-site structural analysis. 

The push-fit connection means tubes can be joined in seconds to make strong structural frameworks. No specialist training is required and the connectors can be used again and again. The connectors are designed to fit internally into pipe section with the same outside diameter, but can also self-adjust to varying internal wall thicknesses. Bespoke locking mechanisms can include features such as a secondary locking system, visual safety checks, or a quick-release action. And connectors can also be designed so movement - such as vibration - will actually tighten their grip.

"With many variations of design open to us, protected by our worldwide (PCT) patent pending, we can take this enabling technology into nearly any market where quick, quiet, safe and efficient structural assembly is important," says Corcoran. The company is currently looking for partners to help introduce this enabling technology into different markets and to assist with its development.
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