Motion Control Engineering & Manufacturing Resources

Standard or Heavy-Duty Industrial Hinges: Is It Time to Upgrade?

Posted by Weber Knapp on Feb 2, 2021 12:00:00 PM

standard or heavy-duty industrial hinges - installing hinge

Engineers and designers often ponder over what type of hinges to use on their product. “Should we go with standard hinges or invest in heavy-duty industrial hinges?”

In most situations, a standard hinge is a cost-effective motion control method that will perform acceptably. However, if you’re looking for that next level of efficiency and safety, upgrading to a heavy-duty industrial hinge solution is the way to go. 

Keep reading to learn more about how to decide if you need a better hinge solution for your product.

Why Heavy-Duty Industrial Hinges?

Heavy-duty hinges come at a higher price point than standard, hardware store hinges. But what are you getting for that extra cost? Well, a couple of things:

  • Increased weight limits: Load-bearing capacity can be increased dramatically with heavy-duty hinges to better balance the weight of heavy lids or doors. 
  • Durability: Industrial, agricultural, and marine applications need the added durability of heavy-duty industrial hinges to withstand constant use and environmental factors. 
  • Reliability: Heavy-duty hinges react better to unexpected pressure and are less likely to experience failure, unlike gas springs
  • Added safety features: Lids that slam down when released or mechanical supports that aren’t properly controlled can injure people and damage nearby equipment.
  • Longer cycle life: A heavy duty hinge provides uniform load stress, which reduces wear and tear over time.

It’s Time To Change: Finding the Right Heavy-Duty Industrial Hinge

By now you know that heavy-duty industrial hinges are levels above standard hinges in value and safety. So how do you know when it’s time to upgrade to heavy-duty hinges?

First and foremost, is your current hinge just not working? If lids won’t lift, hatches are slamming, or you’re constantly replacing hinges, a heavy-duty hinge is calling your name. 

Another reason to consider the switch is if you’re concerned about safety requirements. Most industries do everything possible to prevent accidents or lawsuits, but sometimes OSHA and other government watchdogs might specify heavy-duty hinges out of standard safety concerns.

The wrong hinge at the wrong place and the wrong time can be catastrophic. Think about unreliable hinges on submarine hatches, or even gas springs used for medical applications. If a standard gas spring starts leaking in a sterile environment, that poses a grave safety concern. 

One of the final considerations for why it might be time to upgrade your hinge solution is simple; do you want to give your customers the extra features of a counterbalance or spring assist hinge? If you’re manufacturing high-end grills or industrial laboratory equipment, the soft-close features of a more advanced hinge would be really convenient for your customers. 

Types of Heavy Duty Industrial Hinges

Although the type of hinge you’ll need for your application might vary, two of the most common heavy-duty industrial hinges are:

  • Counterbalance hinge: These mechanical hinges balance the weight of the lid against gravity’s downward forces. Counterbalance hinges are also used for pivoting loads. Because there are so many design elements, the price of the counterbalance will be higher than a standard hinge.These hinges make 70 lb lids feel like they weigh less than five!
  • Spring assist hinge: A spring hinge is self-closing. Although more cost-effective than the counterbalance, they are still more technical because of the spring, again increasing price over the standard hinge.These hinges are great for lighter lids and less strenuous applications. They’re perfect for drum smokers!

If you are on the fence about adding better hinges, think about how they make the end product more sale-able. Adding more features end users want, such as a soft close or a lid stay, improves product appeal and consumer safety.

Out With The Old, In With The New

Not everyone can include a heavy-duty hinge into their design from day one -- but that doesn’t mean that you can’t after the fact.

If you’re looking to improve your product after you’ve already manufactured them with a standard hinge, retrofitting your products isn’t hard! There’s a whole process for including better hinges in a design that already exists.

But, whether you’re starting from the drawing board or planning a retrofit, the benefits of heavy-duty industrial hinges are undeniable.

Are you interested in switching to a better hinge solution? Want to know more about counterbalances and motion control? 

Check out our free guide! And if you have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out!

motion control and counterbalancing for product design

Topics: Ergonomics, Motion Control, Design, Appliance, Counterbalance Hinge, Hinge, Hinges, Industrial, Durability, Manufacturing