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News

Novel ball joint meets diverse needs with two DuPont Engineering Polymers

Du Pont Engineering Polymers : 13 May, 2002  (New Product)
An innovative ball-and-socket joint relies on two families of DuPont engineering plastics to meet different application requirements in industrial equipment and automotive uses. Developed by Springfix Befestigungstechnik GmbH, the joint promises reliable transmission of non-linear movement. It is typically used in combination with sliding rods, Bowden cables or similar devices. In situations where flexibility and low friction are at a premium, Springfix uses DuPont Delrin acetal resin for an ingenious part that combines the functions of a socket and retaining ring. For under-the-hood automotive applications exposed to high temperatures, the company makes the socket/ring component from a blend of two DuPont Zytel nylon resins, a super tough grade and one reinforced with DuPont Kevlar brand fiber.
An innovative ball-and-socket joint relies on two families of DuPont engineering plastics to meet different application requirements in industrial equipment and automotive uses. Developed by Springfix Befestigungstechnik GmbH, the joint promises reliable transmission of non-linear movement. It is typically used in combination with sliding rods, Bowden cables or similar devices.

In situations where flexibility and low friction are at a premium, Springfix uses DuPont Delrin acetal resin for an ingenious part that combines the functions of a socket and retaining ring. For under-the-hood automotive applications exposed to high temperatures, the company makes the socket/ring component from a blend of two DuPont Zytel nylon resins, a super tough grade and one reinforced with DuPont Kevlar brand fiber.

Considerable force is needed to extract the ball from its socket, but pushing the ball into the socket requires little effort. Easy insertion aids in use of the joint in difficult-access locations often found on production lines. On account of the high wear resistance of the DuPont plastics used in it, the unit functions reliably and durably, and at the same time more cost-effectively than conventional ball-and-socket units of steel.

The ball-and-socket joint's operation relies on the flexibility of the DuPont engineering polymer employed, Delrin acetal or Zytel Super Tough nylon as the case may be. The socket's radially disposed segments are spread wide open when it comes out of the injection-molding machine. In a pre-assembly step, the socket is partially pressed into the ring sleeve of the ball-and-socket joint arm. This causes the individual radial socket segments to snap inwards into corresponding grooves in the sleeve.

The socket is held in this half-closed position during shipment of the entire component to the assembly point. There the ball portion of the joint is pushed into the socket; this movement presses the socket the rest of the way into the sleeve, where it automatically locks in place. With this movement, the spread-out segments close in radially, forming a cage that holds the ball in place. The ball can be removed from the socket if necessary with a special tool.

Materials used in applications of this kind must be sufficiently flexible not to be damaged by the large deformations they undergo during pre-assembly and assembly. Delrin offers the required spring-like flexibility, and meets other requirements for vibration-damping, abrasion-resistance and low friction.

In under-the-hood automotive applications, where big temperature variations occur, Springfix uses a blend of Zytel ST Super Tough nylon and a self-lubricating Zytel nylon 66 resin reinforced with Kevlar brand aramid fiber. These nylon types have the required low-temperature impact strength and withstand oils, lubricants, condensation and fluid splashes.

An automotive manufacturer uses a Springfix ball-and-socket joint in the transmission rod for an electronic accelerator pedal. The rod itself is injection-molded integrally with the ring-sleeve, using a grade of glass-fiber-reinforced Zytel which is heat- and hydrolysis-stabilized and oil-resistant. This resin has the stiffness and dimensional stability that the rod needs to transmit the precise position of the gas pedal, and the strength to withstand possible abusive stresses.

The robust Springfix ball-and-socket joints can be used for many mechanically demanding applications, such as rods in gear-change mechanisms, with ball diameters up to 13 mm, or as tail-gate arresters. For short production runs, standardized ring-sleeves made of glass-fiber-reinforced Zytel can be connected by means of a steel rod, so that any required length and displacement angle can be handled without additional tooling costs.

Springfix Befestigungstechnik GmbH, established in 1958, is based in Salach Germany. The company makes cost-effective devices for connecting and fastening components and parts. It has its own tooling and prototyping facilities. For more information, visit www.springfix.de on the Web.
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