A screening bucket you don’t have to service!
For some people, their passion truly does become their work, and that’s when the magic happens. And that’s just the case for Sam Turnbull, CEO of Flipscreen. Engineering and Innovation have been at the core of his passions for many years which ultimately lead to him creating the machine which won him the title of inventor of the year. An even greater fete though is when an award-winning invention keeps being improved upon, year on year. The Flipscreen is a screening bucket, which is nothing new, however, there is nothing conventional to be found when digging deep into the Flipscreens mechanics and comparing it to other screening buckets on the market. And when considering the incredible innovation and functionality, it’s no surprise with the moves the company is making. Such as their opportunity to create something unique for the Japanese market.
You see Flipscreen has entered into a licensing agreement with a Japanese manufacturer for the whole of the Japanese market. In the short 5-year negotiation; yes, that’s right, five years. One part of the deal was a Flipscreen altered specifically for the Japanese market.
Presented with a brief on all the attributes needed for this purpose, along with a list of things that they did not want on their screening bucket. Sam once again had a reason to work on his passion and improve upon the Flipscreen… Enter the EX85 Project!
The list included;
- Longer periods between greasing
- No chain adjusters and Longer periods between drive servicing
- Less fowling when used in wet conditions
- Less noise of the material being screened
- Less noise of the ratchet mechanism
- Must include integrated Flipscreen smart valve
- Must be lighter to enable fitment to a greater range of excavator sizes.
Sam went about tackling each item as follows:
- The modern way of dealing with greasing is to incorporate a central greasing system which constantly supplies the exact amount of grease to the bushings. We decided that rather than going down this conventional path; why not make a bush which never needs greasing? So, we scoured the world and discovered the Chromium/ stainless steel bushings used in heavy industry. They may be a lot more expensive in the first instance of manufacturing, but when you stand in front of an equipment owner and tell him that his operators never have to grease the implement, you make a friend for life.
- To get away from our traditional chain drives, we had to reconfigure the whole machine. The research was done into two-speed bent axis driven planetaries. Trips were made to Korea where the best of these are made to configure the exact spec for the extreme conditions experienced on the end of an excavator’s arm. These drives had to not just be capable of scooping up concrete and screening it as per purpose, but had to be able to demolish the building in the first place while the boss wasn’t watching; you know, more like things are in the real world. Each drive can take the weight of the carrier machine several times over and they put out 23,000 Newton meters of torque; that’s the torque of 35 F250 super duty truck motors.
- We looked at many ways to reduce fowling when screening mud, one successful idea was to remove internal ribbing and replace it with sweeping radius. This way the metal being contacted was also the structure without the extra framework. The other way we reduced sticking was to introduce hopper liners. This stuff is like the best non-stick frypan you have ever seen but also has better wearing characteristics than most metal.
- The Hopper liners were a great breakthrough in noise reduction; as concrete and rocks impacting special molecularly designed polyethylene makes about a tenth of the noise of hitting high tensile steel, plus the material acts as a damper, like acoustical foam it robs all surrounding areas of the ability to achieve harmonic vibration effectively canceling sound.
- The specially designed ratchet system was what set this unit apart in the sound category from our biggest competitor; the dreaded second-hand Flipscreens. We had to incorporate an external hydraulic cylinder into the ratchet system to total silence this unit. However, we didn’t want any hoses because they would get damaged; yes, that’s right we wanted a hydraulic cylinder without hoses. So, the cylinder rod locates into the sidearm with the base pointing out to the ratchet; the rod has internal veins ported through its center allowing for both hydraulic lines to be inside the rod. Therefore, a cylinder without hoses; simple.
- The Flipscreen’s proprietary smart valve was a must but really didn’t fit into the new design which was way more compact than previous models. To get around this (good pun here) we made the smart valve manifold cylindrical thus setting it perfectly into the top of a sidearm with lots of space to work on valves and fittings.
- Weight is our biggest challenge, put simply; every kilo we put on our Flipscreen is one less kilo which we can scoop up. We religiously stay within the safe working loads of carrier machines. Our competitors put overweight attachments on people’s machines, but we don’t want to be part of the scandal when it all goes pear shape hurting or killing someone with an overloaded attachment and we certainly don’t want to injure people. So, to be able to reduce weight you have to rethink the way you design, you can’t just add steel to make things stronger. It may not seem so, but steel is flexible. With this in mind, we successfully incorporated flex points under the main drive arms and a leaf spring effect on the hitch plate. Together these work like a big shock absorber. These design features have allowed us to remove unnecessary dumb metal and put the steel where it is needed therefore reducing the weight by reducing the EX85 by 356KG compared to its predecessor.
The most exciting part of this whole process for me is not just knowing that you have created something unique and the best in the world, but the response we get from our customers. How much they enjoy the strength and durability of their new purchase and how much they smile when you tell them ” don’t service it, just use it”.
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