D-SNAP Technology – An Innovative Fixing and Assembly System

D-SNAP technology illustrates how this innovative fixing and assembly system for the sheet metal and panel building industries can save time and money without using tools for construction of enclosures and mounting of hardware such as handles, hinges etc.

Snap technology applied to enclosure hardware provides a unique alternative to traditional fastening methods. It is currently used in the assembly process of specialist industrial enclosures and has the potential for use in many other areas; for example, household appliances, industrial machinery, HVAC equipment, automotive and furniture industries. Fasteners that incorporate snap technology can be manufactured easily, they are quick to install, very secure and extremely economical. They also offer a high load-bearing ability. Snap technology in these applications offers many advantages when compared with traditional fastening techniques. Especially in the case of high-volume production it is possible to incorporate snap technology into products for blind assembly, and then to integrate the products into an automated assembly process using robots.

Because it can be installed as a single piece, the snap fastener offers many advantages for the user. The main advantages are time and money savings in the assembly of a wide variety of enclosures and switch cabinets – however additionally, when the need for the costly storage of panel parts is eliminated, the overall manufacturing process speeds up. Other parameters may also be improved eg storage outlay for fasteners used in process is noticeably lower, since the snap fasteners are delivered as pre-assembled components and are immediately ready for installation. Over and above this, the user profits from the superior functionality afforded by a system where no parts can get lost after installation.

Combining snap fasteners with functional components such as locks, hinges, handles etc., – plus the special design of the snap fastener itself – creates a much larger range of applications that can go beyond just the joining of panels to include the complete enclosure assembly and finishing stages.

This unique modular technology requires only rectangular hole punching to suit the relevant component which can then be pushed into place by hand to achieve a firm positive fit. The system can be used to fabricate complete cabinets by means of joining elements which can hold sides to back, panels to frames – other components then complete the assembly with snap-in hinges and door closure / security items and so on. The technology that enables this involves careful use of detail design criteria and spring utilisation to ensure a "locked-in" tight fit once installed and a robust assembly when in use.

An excellent example is the 40mm long cast hinge with 180 ° capability and sealing capacity to IP65 with RH or LH operation which are particularly applicable where full door opening is required, either for maximum door clearance, eg for insertion of equipment – or for access to the rear of the door. They may be used on standalone enclosures / racks or on suited style side-by-side installations with three versions available – with M5 cast in screws, with screws on one leaf and SNAP-LINE® fitting on the other leaf – or with SNAP- LINE® (D-SNAP®) technology on both leaves to enable a simple "blind" push-in fitting that does not require access from the rear – this can provide up to 90% savings in hinge assembly time.

The D-SNAP® range of panel assembly joiners, locks, hinges etc. is designed to enable specialist cabinet builders to quickly fabricate housings with flat sheet into a robust structure. These specialist joiner components operate to fasten two or more sheet metal panels together by simply pressing and snapping the joiner into prepared panel cutouts. They are ideal for fastening cabinet components, eg removable top or base and for robust firm fixing of panels of similar or varying thickness, eg multi-component motor control cabinets.

D-SNAP® joiners will adjust to varying thicknesses of panel and use standard 30x10mm cut-outs enabling rapid assembly after painting. Where removable panels are needed then pull-off forces may be chosen from 15N / 30N / 50N dependent upon component.

As a finishing touch a low profile SNAP-LINE® swinghandle is ideal for enclosures and control panels where "no-tools" snap-in fitment and resistance to vibration will be appreciated. Features of this D-SNAP® technology unit include clamping ranges from 0.7mm to 5.3mm, LH and RH application and blind assembly, which – like the D-SNAP® hinges – can save up to 90% of assembly time compared to other swinghandles . Fitment is by means of a simple 110x25mm cut-out – removal is also accomplished quickly and without tools.