Testing a break-through tension control innovationVehicle manufacturers and engine developers are fighting an ongoing battle to optimise performance, fuel economy and emissions. Although the last two are largely related, the emissions have to comply with standards such as Euro 5 (and Euro 6 from 2014) in Europe, and the EPA Phase 3A standards in the USA. Taking into account the global markets, differing standards for petrol (gasoline) and diesel cars, and the further standards for light commercial vehicles and lorries (trucks) and buses, the situation is highly complex.
Bolted joints are one of the weakest places in many structures and not surprisingly one of the largest single causes of failure, expensive warranty claims, safety and production downtime, not to mention causing fatalities. It is the point where assemblies variously leak, wear, slip or tear apart when subject to sustained external forces. But thanks to a recent innovation by Chartered Engineer Stan Ceney, technical research and development manager at Clarkwood Engineering, the development of 'TenCon' could make all that a thing of the past.
TenCon is a tension indicating washer that allows joint tension control in fasteners. The new tension indicating washer is seen as a major worldwide contribution in overcoming problems and meeting industry's call for a cost-effective simple means of monitoring bolt stress, improving safety in critical structures and preventing environmental catastrophic problems.
Stan has been involved in tensioning control of bolted joints for more than 40 years and during his career has won awards for innovations that have subsequently been developed into products in Europe and America. With a desire for his latest innovation to be developed in the UK, Stan joined Clarkwood as a company with the skills, heritage and experience to bring the tension controlled washer into manufacture.
With success for Clarkwood Engineering in winning the "Manufacturing Champion" category in the Wolverhampton Express & Star Business Awards 2012, hopes are now high for 'TenCon' which has been has been awarded a finalist place in the 'Make it in Great Britain' exhibition and is among four finalists in the Stronger category (Best Innovation). Staged at the London Science Museum, this showcases some of the most exciting British manufacturing developments and explores the positive impact they have on our lives. The exhibition also includes winners of a Challenge to find UK manufacturing's most promising innovative and cutting edge products and processes.
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