ESI was approached by ACCOR® Technology to design and manufacture a gripper ring for plumbing fixtures and their corresponding water line connections. The parts had to meet a number of unique criteria.
Plumbing fixtures, particularly connection or joint fittings and faucet components, are increasingly made out of plastic as opposed to metal; this makes the use of gripping style connection rings, also known as gripper rings, problematic.
An important component of fixtures — they are used to help keep a connection in place and sealed — traditional water line connections are soldered into place. Soldering is time consuming and at times can pose a significant fire risk, especially in retro-fit or re-modeling situations.
First and foremost, ACCOR® Technology needed a gripper ring that could function with copper, PVC and pex style tubing. The ring needed to be thin, but it also had to meet a high, 1000 PSI requirement to ensure that it would hold the fixtures effectively in the absence of a soldered joint.
Working closely with ACCOR® over a two-year development cycle, ESI ultimately designed a revolutionary gripper ring.
The result of our efforts was a gripper ring with highly unique teeth along the interior diameter of the ring. Compared to more standard gripper rings, the teeth of our gripper ring are larger, bent at a higher angle, and slightly twisted.
These three small changes made a world of difference.
Not only did our gripper ring maintain the 1000 PSI strength required by ACCOR®, but the slight twist in the teeth also offered a secondary benefit.
This unique bend meant that the gripper ring and fixture could be released from their hold when turned counterclockwise. This benefit is something that no other gripper ring on the market is capable of achieving; this feature will make repairing or replacing fixtures drastically easier and less expensive than fixtures equipped with previous models.
With the PSI verified and the design approved by ACCOR®, we began full-scale production of the gripper ring. We opted to produce the gripper ring using tempered 301 stainless steel on a Minster 60-ton stamping press with a custom built progressive die.
In our first full order, we manufactured 6,000,000 of these gripper rings, delivering them to ACCOR® in batches of 1,000,000 on a monthly basis. ACCOR® has been so pleased with the quality of our gripper rings and the success they’ve achieved that they’ve even written about them in the Features and Benefits section of their website.
|Equipment Used to Manufacture Part||Minster 60-ton press|
|Overall Part Dimensions||.968” diameter x .006” thick|
|Material Used||Full hard stainless steel|
|Industry for Use||Plumbing|
|Turnaround Time||1 million per month releases|