True or false: Maxime Thonnerieux is a forward for the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins.
False. He is the global R&D director for Nord-Lock Inc.
, an Elk Grove Village, Ill.-based manufacturer of bolt-securing systems.
In an interview with New Equipment Digest, Thonnerieux describes Nord-Lock's new X Series as "the world's first multifunctional washer."
"It combines Nord-Lock's unmatched wedge-locking protection against spontaneous bolt loosening due to vibration and dynamic loads with an exceptional spring effect to protect against slackening due to settlement and relaxation," Thonnerieux says.
For more about X-Series washers
and the product-development process behind them, read on.
NED: Why did Nord-Lock decide to market this product?
: For 30 years we have focused on providing the world's most effective bolt-securing solutions. We work very closely with our customers and, as a trusted global partner in bolt optimization, we always react to new trends and customers' ever-increasing needs.
Joints increasingly have to withstand stresses from multiple fronts, including vibration, dynamic loads, settlement and relaxation. We realized that there was no solution on the market designed to secure bolts from all of these at once.
Traditionally, critical application design has involved trying to figure out which-spontaneous bolt loosening or slackening-will have the biggest effect on the joint, and choosing a solution to handle that single problem.
The Nord-Lock X-Series washer is the result of our goal to design a system that would address both challenges and eliminate our customers' insecurity when choosing a solution. In other words, bolt security without compromise.
NED: How are these washers different from similar products?
: Nord-Lock X-Series is the world's first multifunctional washer.
It combines Nord-Lock's unmatched wedge-locking protection against spontaneous bolt loosening due to vibration and dynamic loads with an exceptional spring effect to protect against slackening due to settlement and relaxation.
It's a unique combination that makes X-Series a true evolution in bolt security.
Imagine a single product that solves multiple bolting challenges. Think of the simplified and quicker design process with the use of one solution to cover different design issues, or inventory and logistical savings due to reduced item numbers. X-Series washers give you all of that.
NED: What problems did you encounter during the development process?
: There's never a simple way to merge two functions into one product. The biggest challenge is to reach 100 percent performance of each feature and this was our priority from the get-go.
While working on the spring effect of the washer, we had to ensure that the wedge-locking function was not compromised. In the end, tests showed that this function was not compromised and that it was actually enhanced.
NED: How long did it take from conception to final production?
: It took six months from the idea to the first drawing of the product. Then it was about two years until the first batch of X-Series washers was produced. The product was launched in 2012 at the InnoTrans Trade Show in Berlin.
NED: Did cost factors play a role in changing the final design of the product? And, if so, in what way?
: While it's always sensible to keep costs in mind, at Nord-Lock we prioritize the design objective in all of our projects.
We scrutinize everything in the development process, but when your mission is to safeguard human lives and customer investments by securing the world's most demanding applications, you can't and you don't want to settle for less.
NED: Who do you consider your target audience to be and what benefits will they realize from using this product?
: Every company using or working with critical bolted joints.
Our customers don't have to spend time and money assessing different solutions or compromising the safety of their applications because their choice turned out to be optimal. Those companies can now focus on other aspects of their applications because we give them the right solution.
X-Series washers ensure total bolt security while simplifying maintenance since there is no need to use and stock multiple solutions. We're talking about high cost savings when the additional safety margin can be used for downsizing the joint, such as thinner clamped parts, lower bolt grade and reduced total number of bolts.
These washers also increase operational reliability while significantly reducing the risk of unplanned production stops, accidents and warranty claims.