This technical information has been contributed byATHENS, Tenn.—A hydroformed, stainless steel truck grab handle manufactured by East Tennessee–based metal fabricator Mills Products Incorporated has won the 2015 Paccar Inventor’s Award. The grab handle competed against submissions from Paccar’s global staff of 22,000 in the annual competition to identify the most inventive project of the year.
Metal Hydroformed Heavy-Truck Handle Wins Inventor's Award
Metal machining company custom designs an aerodynamic truck handle
A popular option on Paccar trucks since its launch in March 2014, the hydroformed stainless steel grab handle significantly reduces wind noise compared to the standard grab handle offered on Paccar trucks, is equipped with contoured finger grips to aid drivers getting in and out of the cab, and can withstand over 4,000 lbs. of pull force, exceeding the OEM’s requirements by more than three times, according to a release from Mills Products.
Mills contributed to the project by helping develop the design and by providing the manufacturing method—tubular hydroforming—that made its realization possible. The company’s tubular hydroforming expertise facilitated the product’s noise-reducing aerodynamic shape and contoured finger grips while consolidating production tooling requirements into a single step, reducing Paccar’s overall tooling costs for the project by 32 percent.
Mills Products (millsproducts.com) offers hydroforming, tubular stamping, roll forming, and finishing services from facilities in middle Tennessee and northern Mexico, focusing on “producing superior parts and making existing components stronger, lighter, and more affordable,” the company says. The company claims to be the first metalforming manufacturer to use hydroforming technology for appliance manufacturing.
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