March 2, 2015

Some of you think of me as an electronic geek.  But, those that have worked closely with me know that I prefer simple solutions that don’t involve electronics and wires, whenever possible.  For me, it’s Keep It Seriously Simple—its fate (spelled incorrectly with an extra “s”).

 At TMC this week, I found such a solution.  When I was working at Daimler Trucks North America and my group was responsible for brakes and safety systems, we were asked to find solutions to wheel ends coming off.  In Ontario, there is a substantial penalty for allowing this to happen.  So, naturally, every possible inventor and company came out with electronic widgets to monitor the wheel end lug nuts and tell you if there is a problem.  I frequently pushed back that the extra cost, complexity and failure rate of such a solution was not the right answer.  The simple solution was to have a good program of tightening the lug nuts and checking them regularly, even using a torque wrench.  

Well, at TMC, I found a new supplier showing for the first time.  Unlike many others in this category of first timers, this company did some reasonable development work and field testing with Paschall Truck Lines.  They said the VP of maintenance had indicated he was willing to talk positively about it.  Strange thing is, I ran into David Graham soon after that and asked him about the device and if he really said they could quote him.  He agreed readily.  

The device from ZAFETY Lug Lock is a simple piece of plastic or rubber material that you put over two adjacent lug nuts with a force fit, after you have tightened the lug nuts.  It, basically, mechanically locks them and keeps them from turning.  To look at it, it’s hard to believe that it can stop the lug nuts from turning through all the vibrations and abuse of the wheel end.  But they’ve tested it, gotten written approvals and David said it works for him.  In our industry, a good testimonial is invaluable.  So, there it is.  A fateful accident might be avoided by something that Keeps It Seriously Simple—KISSmet.

About the Author

Paul Menig | CEO

Paul Menig is the leader of Tech-I-M LLC, a consulting company focused on helping companies succeed by leveraging technology in their products and processes. After successfully introducing many high tech products in the corporate worlds of General Electric, Eaton and Daimler, he is now focused on savvy technology creating powerful results in companies of all sizes.

Paul also provides free counseling to a wide range of businesses as part of the non-profit organization SCORE that is associated with the Small Business Administration (SBA). Paul is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in electrical engineering and has participated in many training programs in quality, strategic planning, finance and technical areas.

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