Leveraging ounces of effort into tons of force

May 19, 2005
To give tools and other devices that extra added oomph, engineers at Latch Tool Group, Colorado Springs, Colo.

A demonstrator built by Latch Tool can extend a ram rod 1.25 in. and exerts over a ton of force with a simple squeeze of the hand.

To give tools and other devices that extra added oomph, engineers at Latch Tool Group, Colorado Springs, Colo. (latchtool.com), invented the PowerCylinder. It uses hydraulic circuitry to mechanically amplify a linear force by a factor of hundreds. For instance, the cylinder can turn a 50-lb force into a 3,000-lb force output. The 1-lb device can be motor or hand driven and features a resistance-regulated transmission. The cylinder relies on several innovative components, including check valves that permit large, unrestricted volumetric flows, and an adjustable dart valve. The dart valve sets the maximum force the PowerCylinder will generate and prevents overpressurization. A three-speed transmission automatically trades off speed for force as loads increase, and backs down for more speed as loads shrink. The units are factory sealed and require no hydraulic or pneumatic servicing. The devices are usually sold to OEMs that install them in a variety of products.

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