Enduralock LLC recently competed in the NASA iTech competition with their new fastener that permanently locks with high vibration resistance, while providing reversibility and reusability. NASA iTech is an initiative to find and foster innovative solutions to challenges faced on Earth and in space. Finalists pitched ideas in a variety of categories, including artificial intelligence, autonomous robotic capabilities, virtual reality and flexible materials. NASA choose Enduralocks vibration resistant metal fasteners to present their technology to NASA judges. NASA selected the top three teams after two days of presentations and collaborative sessions with technology experts.
Enduralock’s co-founders Dr. Hess and COO, Diana Greenberg were one of three winning teams selected and recognized during a non-monetary awards ceremony at the culmination of the forum. They will receive continued mentor-ship to help further develop the technologies for the commercial market.
Photo Credit: NASA
We were very impressed with their fastening technology and presentation for the NASA judges so we contacted Dr. Hess to learn more about their products and the company. The presentation is available at the bottom of this page, we recommend you take a listen.
Q: What made you visualize the need to design a new fastener?
Enduralock’s fastener technology derived from a spinal implant that was developed starting in 2007. FDA required that it survive 5 million cycles of compression and 5 million cycles of torque without loosening. I invented a locking mechanism that I realized could have many industrial applications. Since then the technology for industrial applications has been further developed.
Q: Can you describe what the Enduralock line of fasteners are?
Enduralock fasteners are the first permanently locking fasteners, that are reversible and reusable with a standard 6-point socket. The aerospace requirement for a self-locking nut is to withstand 30,000 cycles of vibration. In an independent test lab, Enduralock fasteners survived 300,000 cycles, and they are reversible and reusable. As the nut is free-spinning with the socket engaged, there is no wear on the teeth of the lock member (spring) or the teeth of the washer.
Q: What applications are they best suited for?
There are numerous applications across many industries. One application is the replacement of Castle Nuts or Safety Wire. Castle nuts have 6 gradations of torque per revolution, while Enduralock offers at least 36 gradations. In a critical application, where the engineer has spec’d a narrow range of torque, Enduralock will save the customer time and money for installation and maintenance.
Another application is where there is high vibration in a harsh environment, such as high heat applications (eg. gas turbines or jet engines). Often permanent fasteners are utilized, but for maintenance they need to be cut or drilled out. Enduralock fasteners are manufactured completely out of metal, and they provide for easy reversibility and reusability for maintenance. They will withstand the harsh environment, but they will also allow for easy reversibility and reusability.
Although there are numerous other applications, one final example is in the Oil & Gas Industry. Currently there are no locking bolts for use in pipelines. Enduralock is currently scaling its fasteners to 2-3” diameter to provide for the first locking bolt for pipelines. We believe that will dramatically reduce oil spillage.
Q: Congratulations on your NASA iTech award and all of the other accomplishments you company has recently made. We enjoyed your presentation very much can you tell us about the NASA iTech experience?
Participating in the NASA iTech competition was exciting as well as humbling. After all, I was just presenting a next generation fastener (nut and bolt)! The companies that competed represented the top early stage companies from around the world with technology that could be applied to Space as well as on Earth.
Q: What does space certified mean for your fasteners?
Prior to the competition, the engineers at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center evaluated Enduralock’s fasteners and declared that they could be used on future missions.
Q: Will you be commercializing this fastener, or will it be primarily for special applications?
Enduralock has commercialized its products this year. We completed 2 joint development projects with Superior Energy, Halliburton is assigning part numbers for use on fracking pumps and blenders, and Gulfstream Aerospace is planning to replace Castle Nuts with Enduralock fasteners. There is considerable interest from NASA, and a meeting has been scheduled at NASA Goddard. Meetings are also being scheduled at NASA Stennis and at JPL. The U.S. Army’s ground vehicle research center (GVSC) has requested fasteners for ballistic testing for the application of armor attachment.
Q: Can you share any information about your NAS Standards application?
To obtain a new NAS Standard, a company must obtain sponsorship from two prime members of the Aerospace Industry Association, who commit to using the product, once a Standard is created. Enduralock has sponsorship from Bell Helicopter and Boeing Helicopter.
Q: How was your experience at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Hague?
It was great to interface with companies from around the world. For the opening night, Enduralock was chosen to represent North America in the photo shoot, and I had the opportunity to meet with the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Enduralock also competed in a corporate challenge by Shell Oil, which we won. This resulted in a Shell engineering team meeting, with the conclusion being that Enduralock’s fasteners would have applications across the Energy industry.
Q: Is your manufacturing process being done in the USA?
We have utilized manufacturers both in the U.S. as well abroad.
Founded in 2014, Enduralock specializes in vibration-resistant technology. Enduralock is the premier leader and fabricator of vibration resistant technology in the fastener industry. Headquartered in Lenexa, Kansas, they ensure commitment to innovation and high quality products.
Their creative spirit in industrial fastener engineering has brought to existence a proprietary portfolio of advanced fastening technologies – Radial Lock Fastener, Radial Lock Bolt, and Nut Plate panel fastening system. Our premier products were engineered with the customer need in mind. Enduralock fasteners are highly vibration resistant and provide a permanent lock, yet they are able to be fully reversed and reused with standard tooling. Features of our technology allow for a very accurate pre-load determination, as well as a marked reduction in the time and cost of maintenance.