The world of machines, machine parts, and machine parts manufacturing is an intricate one. Here is just a sample of the specialized knowledge necessary in some ordinary mechanical components.
- Industrial Lifting Magnets. As children in school, we all played with magnetism, using the familiar red and silver horseshoe to slide a piece of metal across a table. That particular feat involved applying enough magnetic force to overcome the staying power of friction combined with the ever present vector of gravity. Now imagine removing friction from the equation, using magnetism to completely negate gravity by lifting an object straight up, and increasing the size of the lifted object by about two thousand pounds or more, depending on the magnet. And of course, you need to be able to shut the magnet off when you want to put the object down.
- Grease Fittings. Grease fittings make it possible to maintain lubrication in hard to reach areas by providing a point of access for a grease gun. These precision tooled parts look like screws with nozzles on the tops. The holes at the tip of each nozzle contain ball bearings which sit on compression springs, and the compression springs maintain just enough upward pressure to keep the ball bearings flush to the hole, keeping it sealed. The pressure from a grease gun is enough to overcome the tension of the compression springs, so the ball bearing is moved back as grease is injected in, and it slides back into place once the gun is removed.
- Clevis Pins. Most machines require strength and reliability, but some also need the flexibility of easily removable parts. A clevis pin is a clever little device that acts as a securing mechanism. It looks like a smooth bolt, complete with a flared head at one end, but in the other end is a cross drilled hole that accepts cotter pins. These pins can be placed and removed easily, yet sit securely in the clevis pin when installed, preventing the “bolt” from being removed.
The next time you see anything with moving parts, take a second to marvel at not just the parts themselves, but the ingenuity of the design, as well as the machines involved in making the parts. And you can start to appreciate the mechanical wonders all around us.