Fastening & Joining

11-2001

It's so simple

Snappy joining solution

Problem. Joining materials can be a major stumbling block in some designs. The designer has to consider all manner of mechanical means available to them, as well as all the restrictions that they may have to face with regard to dissimilar materials.

Once a joining solution has been reached the whole concept of design for manufacture has to be taken into account as well as any disruptions the chosen method may have in the build process. Welding would have to be performed before coating, if you choose riveting, you have to make sure that the assembler can get to the hole, and if your product works in nasty areas you have to consider corrosion of the join and the galvanic interaction of different metals.

Solution: Designed to simplify the production process, the new Zip-Tech tool, from Wilson Tool, also provides designers with a simple solution towards joining metal sheets, removing many of the hurdles faced when using other proprietary mechanical means.

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The tool allows in-process forming of a mechanical join within the normal programme cycle of a punch press. The join is fairly basic but very effective. The tool creates tabs on the edge of metal sheets, one in the plane of the sheet, the other slightly raised. When they are bought into contact with two similar tabs, on another sheet, the two sheets can be pushed and locked together. One tab exhibits a raised nodule, the other a hole, so that when they are bought together they lock into each other – analogous to a detent system.

Applications: According to the company, the rigid, snap-together join, is ideal for applications such as electrical cabinets, office furniture and display cabinets. As a permanent or temporary fixture it could also be used for other applications and, indeed, other materials. MF

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