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Motion Control Engineering & Manufacturing Resources

Does Your Unconventional Project Need a Heavy Duty Hinge?

Does Your Unconventional Project Need a Heavy Duty Hinge?

Posted by Weber Knapp on Nov 28, 2023 4:49:44 PM


Your project is unusual. 

You aim to solve a unique problem that requires a custom solution. Adding mechanical motion control would perfect your design

But is it possible?

In the world of motion control solutions, there's no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach.

Every application presents its own unique set of challenges and requirements, and it's not always easy to find a solution that perfectly meets your needs.

That's where Vectis technology comes in. With a deep understanding of motion control principles and a commitment to customer satisfaction, we're here to help you navigate even the most unconventional hinge applications.

Custom Applications Require Custom Heavy Duty Hinges

Vectis focuses on the continual improvement of kinematic motion control, aiming to improve the functionality of various applications. This includes everything from office equipment to grill hinges. By considering alternative approaches, we are able to tackle obstacles and uncover innovative solutions. Our goal is to provide you with answers to even the most complex mechanical problems.

But back to the question at hand: Is it possible to develop a kinematic motion solution in your unconventional idea? To come up with a solution, we will need a few things from you:

  1. Application requirements
  2. Operating environment
  3. Design and aesthetics
  4. Project requirements

When designing a heavy duty hinge for custom applications, the more details you send us, the better. 

The first step is to send us a detailed drawing of your application. We want to see the whole project and understand how you want the hinge to function alongside other design elements. This gives us a better understanding of what you need and if our Vectis hinges can work for potential mounting locations. From there, we can determine if we're the right fit for your project.

Here’s a closer look at what details you should provide: 

Unique Projects
Where a Vectis Custom Heavy Duty Hinge Saved the Day

Our case studies showcase our unwavering commitment to adaptability and unconventional thinking, spanning several challenges and applications. In each instance, we deliver the most effective solution, meticulously tailored to the specific requirements and constraints.

Bespoke Solutions:
Protecting National Treasures with Custom Hinges

The Rotunda of the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C., houses priceless documents, including the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. These documents are displayed in massive glass-lidded cases that are opened and closed regularly for maintenance. However, the original hinges were cumbersome and posed a risk to the delicate documents.

The Solution

Weber Knapp's Vectis™ technology provided the perfect solution. Our engineers designed a custom hinge mechanism that combines counterbalance and mechanical linkage to ensure a smooth, controlled opening and closing motion. The hinges were seamlessly integrated with the existing cases, requiring only minor modifications to a fiber optic light bar.

The Results

The new hinges have significantly improved the safety and ease of access to the National Archives' collection. They have also been rigorously tested to withstand at least 10,000 cycles, and Weber Knapp has successfully tested them to 36,500 open/close cycles.

The Art of Concealing:
Weber-Knapp Elevates
Kitchen Design with Innovative Hinge Technology

The modern kitchen, now a focal point for family interaction, seamlessly blends high style with performance through a new generation of appliances. A growing trend emphasizes the discreet integration of wood-paneled doors into kitchen cabinetry.

Challenge and Solution:

In collaboration with a refrigerator manufacturer, Weber-Knapp faced the challenge of designing a concealed hinge for the new 700 Series — a 36-inch wide refrigerator unit. The hinge had to support a 143-lb door. Weber-Knapp exceeded expectations, creating a concealed hinge that resisted door sag and endured 300,000 test cycles — double the typical lifespan of a refrigerator door.

Results and Impact:

This collaborative effort birthed a concealed industrial hinge that transformed the appliance industry. Initiated by Sub-Zero's dissatisfaction with a previous hinge, Weber-Knapp's design, which is less than 3/4-inch high, supported a 107-lb door, influencing the rise of discreet appliance aesthetics. Beyond aesthetics, the hinge provides flexibility in kitchen layout, allowing for various open positions and self-closing features, shaping the trend of inconspicuous yet high-performing appliances in modern kitchens.

Read about more of our custom hinge designs here: 

Read more case studies here!

1. Application Needs

Selecting the appropriate hinge for a specific application requires careful consideration of several factors, including lid weight, dimensions, the center of gravity, motion type, lid movement range, and load requirements. These factors influence the hinge's ability to support the lid's weight, ensure smooth and controlled motion, and maintain stability throughout its range of motion.

These details are crucial:

  • Lid Weight and Dimensions: Determine the weight and dimensions of the lid to ensure the hinge can support the load.
  • Center of gravity: Locate the center of gravity, as this influences the hinge's functionality, stability, and overall performance. 
  • Motion Type: Specify the desired motion type, such as spring assist, counterbalance, or manual opening.
  • Lid Movement Range: Define the desired range of motion for the lid, including opening and closing angles.
  • Load Requirements: Determine the weight and load distribution the hinge needs to support. This includes both static and dynamic loads.

2. Operating Environment:

In what environment will the hinge be used? Failing to take these details into account, your hinge may not properly function:

  • Environmental Factors: Consider factors like temperature, humidity, and chemical exposure to select appropriate materials and finishes.
  • Cycle Life: Determine the expected number of opening and closing cycles to ensure the hinge can withstand the usage.
  • Mounting Locations: Identify potential mounting locations for the hinge and ensure compatibility with the application's structure.
  • Integration with other components: Consider how the hinge will interact with adjacent parts.

3. Design and Aesthetics

Especially in applications where the hinge is visible, the hinge design should be functional and aesthetically pleasing.

Make sure to include these details as necessary:

  • Visual Appeal: Design the hinge to complement the overall aesthetics of the application.
  • Concealment: Consider options for concealing the hinge if necessary.
  • Material Selection: Choose materials that are durable, lightweight, and corrosion-resistant.
  • Structural Integrity: Ensure the hinge design can withstand the applied loads and stresses.
  • Finish: The finish will need to be durable and aesthetically pleasing.
  • Safety: Ensure the hinge is safe to operate and prevents unintentional opening or closing.
  • Ergonomics: The hinge should be easy to use and should not cause any strain or discomfort to the user.

4. Project Requirements

In addition to the technical details of the hinge design, consider the project requirements. This will help ensure that the hinge is designed and manufactured to meet the project’s must-haves.

  • Project timeline: This will allow us to determine if we can meet your project's needs and how long it will take to design, prototype, and manufacture your custom-made hinges.
  • Estimated costs: We understand cost is a significant factor in any project. We can work with you to determine the best solution to fit your budget.
  • Compliance with relevant standards: The hinge should comply with safety or performance standards, like RoHS, REACH, and BIFMA.


Contact Sales and Engineering for Custom Heavy Duty Hinge Solutions

At Weber Knapp, we understand that not every hinge application is the same. That's why we're dedicated to helping manufacturers find the perfect custom hinge solution for their applications, no matter how unconventional.

If your application goes beyond the capabilities of Vectis hinges, our sales and engineering teams are here to assist. Contact us to discuss your specific challenges, and we'll collaborate on designing a custom solution that fits your unconventional needs.

Ready to Get Started?

The best place to begin designing your custom hinges is with our Vectis DYO App. We’ve included step-by-step instructions, guides, and details about our Vectis Series hinges. Try the calculator and design your hinges today.

Design your own counterbalance hinge with the Vectis DYO app. Click to learn more.


Topics: Applications, Design, Counterbalance, Counterbalance Hinge, Engineering, Hinges, Vectis, Manufacturing