Trantorque – Four Decades (and more) of Design Innovation

by Product Engineer Barry Fisher

Fenner Drives introduced the Trantorque single-nut keyless locking device in 1978. The design innovation, however, did not stop with the awarding of patent protection. It has continued right up until the present and will continue to do so in the future.

Barry Fisher has a unique perspective on Trantorque: he was the manufacturing engineer for 13 years and now is the product engineer. So he’s seen the results of continuous innovation that improves quality and performance of the Trantorque product. And it’s enduring legacy.

Continuous Innovation

“Since I’ve been here, there’s been a new Trantorque product every three to five years. First it was the OE, then the Micro. Some changes may be incremental, a lot of small nuances. But, over the years, they’ve become significant.”

Examples include:

  • Changing the nut design to allow easier access during installation or removal
  • Improving ease of installation by adding a design element to allow Trantorque to be held in place on the shaft and prevent it from slipping on the shaft during tightening/loosening
  • Precisely milling relief slots to aid in ease of installation adjustment
  • Enhanced surface finishes to improve performance

Applications Drive the Process

New ideas come from customers who supply a constant flow of feedback and unique application challenges.

“They’re always asking, ‘What can you do, to give us more?’ Customers want improved performance, custom configurations, and exotic materials, due to their unique applications. For example, higher rotational speeds, temperature extremes, and environmental conditions.”

When there’s an application challenge, the company tackles it head-on.

“We get all the technical people together, throw some ideas on a whiteboard and come up with the best concept. It’s almost a think tank. We don't have just a person sitting there just thinking up different stuff. We just get everybody together and make the decision. Then we take it through the process.”

New Product Development

Fenner Drives follows a very thorough stage-gate process for new product development, with a robust product roadmap pipeline launching improvements, line extensions and completely new lines every three years or so, as noted.

The company is beginning to rely on advanced design techniques like Finite Element Analysis (FEA) to improve the process.

“FEA advances our understanding of complex applications and product design. It allows us to verify the performance of a design, helping us with new product development.”

To find out more, visit our Trantorque Keyless Locking Device page. Or, for immediate assistance, call 1-800-243-3374 and ask to speak to customer service or an Application Engineer or complete the contact form.

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