ANDBARB is a new patented way for connecting and joining manufactured items together with one action which completely fastens the items. It is fast so analogous to structurally zipping the elements together. Andbarb is designed from the beginning by an algorithm with CAD then manufactured using CAM/CNC. It can be engineered electronically and integrated into elements over the world wide web so manufacturing can be remote from the design location. Andbarbeliminates failures from traditional fastening methods and reduces the high labour cost of assembly. Andbarb can be manufactured individually for each application, which only allows the correct elements to be joined together. Andbarb can be made in a single material, multiple materials or composite materials that have suitable characteristics. Objects are correctly assembled with minimum action making it viable to automate assembly. The quality of the connection is simple to ascertain visually. Because of the simplicity of the connecting process Andbarb can be used by unskilled labour. Robots can use Andbarb in hazardous conditions that humans would have difficulty operating in e.g. nuclear facilities, underwater, underground, and in space. A small version of Andbarb can be used for assembling furniture and other consumer objects.
ANDBARB has an inner and an outer component, one component being fixed to each object that is being joined. The joint is made by inserting the inner component into the outer component. There are corresponding projections ‘Barbs’ in each component that engage and lock the components together in matching slots. The precise shape of the joining components, the barbs and their slots ensure security of the joint. The quality of the joint is assured by a visual inspection of the joint confirming the correct engagement. Andbarb can be considered to connect items together as the fastening is designed and built into the joint.
Research has shown ten per cent of items are damaged and four per cent of items cause injuries through operatives incorrectly fastening objects with traditional methods of nails, bolts, rivets or welding etc. While these traditional fasteners have low cost, there are high labour costs. Andbarb replaces the fasteners with low labour input that connects components in one action reducing costs of installation, damage and injury. Andbarb can also be designed to disengage.
ANDBARB is designed into manufactured products. The size and forces acting on the components determine the size and shape of the Andbarb for that application. Minimum training, equipment and investment is required to manufacture Andbarb into the product. When assembling products minimum training is required as the Andbarb is individually shaped for each product so only allows the correct assembly. Because of the low skill required in assembly this can be automated for robots. Products can be transported in component form for assembly at the point of use.
Andbarb is designed by an algorithm that computes the size and shape of the components then is used for the Computer Aided Design of the joints components. This information can be sent over the Web to be designed into the objects being joined and to the point of manufacture for production and integration into the objects.
ANDBARB is intended to be used where elements are manufactured individually for assembly to make a larger item. Andbarb is designed to be installed in the element at manufacturing stage without needing a change to the existing elements’ dimensions.
A smaller Andbarb can be used for assembling consumer goods close to the market and even by the consumer. In Finished wood products for example small Andbarbs can be built into furniture replacing the traditional fasteners. This simplifies assembly by low skilled personnel and provides the exact joint required by the designer while also reducing injury and damage. Another advantage is that the furniture can be transported to the required room in component form through narrow doors. Andbarb can be integrated in to 3D items for their assembly into a larger item.
Industrial applications use larger Andbarbs that can be integrated into items while being manufactured using existing equipment. At the point of assembly the items are offered together and the two leaves of Andbarb engage with a small force. Andbarb joints can only be formed with the correct matching components. This allows the remote assembly of items with a guaranteed joint. For example in the Construction industry:- Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs), floor panels, wall panels or roof panels, also beams, and columns can be joined rapidly at low labour cost. Also Andbarb can be used for non-structural panels, insulation, fire proofing, finishes and decorations. This will enable Computer Aided Assembly.
The same principle can be applied to other industrial sectors were manufactured elements are assembled at a separate site but the completed quality must be high e.g. Aerospace, automotive and marine.
ANDBARB can be made in a single material or composite materials that have suitable characteristics connect or fasten the components and are compatible with the components materials and meeting manufacturer’s and statutory requirements. Initial materials have included aluminium and plastic. While steel components are being designed. We expect to have products ready for market by the beginning of 2014. Being able to ensure that items can be correctly assembled means that components can be distribution for assembly at the point of use at lower costs.