How dampers control can improve safety
Sugatsune was recently contacted by a company that had suffered two industrial accidents in quick succession, both involving service hatches on production line equipment. In both cases a flap had descended unexpectedly on an arm or hand. A safety mechanism had been misused on one and simply wasn’t present on the second. So what’s the best way of preventing accidents like these?
Very often soft close stays or hinges using mechanisms like the UDH capsule damper are installed. Soft-closing hinges such as the JH14-50 will stop a flap from slamming down from the open position and in many cases this is the simplest solution. The damper does require priming so in situations where the hatch is routinely lifted by only a small degree, another approach may be sought.
Disc dampers such as the UDD have continuous torque in one direction. They have a different format to capsule dampers so may fit better in some situations than others. The UDD often appears in bread bins for example making sure that careless hungry fingers don’t get trapped.
A drop-down flap differs in that whilst the danger of trapped limbs or fingers is reduced, a flap descending rapidly can be an impact hazard. The HDS-10 has long been the standard soft-down fitting for drop down flap doors and recently it has had lift-assist added. A hospital in America fits them to foldaway computer keyboard installations. The keyboard drops down silently and yet with a nudge from an elbow – to prevent contaminating sterile hands for example – will silently close itself.
Lift assist stays
A lift assist stay like the S-AT may not be as glamourous as a soft-down mechanism but it does apply uniform force throughout the transit of the hatch. It has powerful springs that will prevent uncontrolled downward movement but also adds to safety by making a heavy hatch much more manageable.
If powerful springs are your thing the Sugatsune has the magnificent HG-JH210 lift assist hinge. Not only is it built like a tank, it’s designed to be fitted to one. It can offer up to 210kgf-cm rotational force per unit, enough for some pretty serious applications.