What Environments Will Destroy My Flex Arm Device?
We get the question a lot about what kind of environments are concerning for a flex arm device. When we started creating flex arm devices, all of our products only had one kind of environment that they needed to perform well in — metal working machine shops. That’s because our very first product was created for – you guessed it – a machine shop. As we (and the industry) have grown, we’ve seen almost limitless applications of flex arms to a number of different industries.
In fact, that’s one of the things we enjoy most about our business — seeing how our product can find its way into a vast array of fields. The thing is — as the applications grew, so did the number of environments that a flex arm would have to thrive in. It seems like every single week someone is approaching us from a field we never dreamt of to figure out if a flex arm is the right move for them. Spoiler alert: it usually is.
That means we’ve had to be flexible (pun intended) with how we treat our flex arm. What works in one environment might not work in another. That’s why we’ve adjusted to utilize a ton of different options for materials, mounts, and other flex arm components. While that might seem like a headache, it’s one of the parts of the job we love the most. It occurred to us though, that some of our flex arm family might not always see the applications on the market. Sure, they might be able to piece together tangentially the different industries we see flex arms in, but there isn’t a codified list of ways we’ve seen flex arms used.
In this post, you’ll find a number of different industries that use flex arms, and the specific devices that we’ve had a hand in producing. Hopefully this list will inspire you — it certainly inspires us. The beauty of a flex arm is that it is aesthetically pleasing enough to be right at home in high-tech or medical environments, but still is rugged enough to survive some very intense environments. These things can take some abuse!
We’ll delve into some of the main environments we get questions on and if you don’t see your question answered here, please reach out to our team. We’re just a phone call away from solving your flex arm device problems.
What about grinding and destructive industrial settings?
This category is made up of our classics, oldies but goodies. We started with using flex arms in devices for metalworking, grinding, and automotive service environments. That’s not to say that this is an easy environment for flex arms to stay fresh — they have to be able to withstand lubricants, abrasives, and some rough treatment from users. For those devices, we need flex arms that are strong, supple, and can work even when they’re dirty. I mean, when’s the last time you saw a clean automotive shop?
We also create devices for band saws, wood lathes, and routers. While the industry might be different, many of the needs are the same. For this environment we needed our flex arms to still function in areas with high dust content, a lot of vibration, and with high impact usage. Think about it, when you’re using a wood lathe or a band saw, you can’t be worried that your flex arm will wimp out. If it does you risk not only a bad product, you put your user in danger. That’s no good.
Will medical facilities with aggressive use be too intense?
The medical field is the largest part of our business today. A medical device in today’s market often has demanding customers with critical applications that need to work every time. That means that the flex arm must be able to tolerate frequent adjustments.
We also need them to be easy to clean. That means wipe-down cleaning has to work effectively and quickly. Luckily, the aesthetically pleasing look and easy-to-clean functionality of a flex arm go a long way in industries that require germ-free environments. These devices also have to be “friendly” and professional looking and come in a wide variety of colors.
If you go into a hospital, you’re liable to see a flex arm device on every floor. From the exam room, to the ER, to surgery. It’s true. Some of these devices include Welch Allyn and Midmark exam lighting, Accuvein vein viewers, Hill-Rom line managers, and CAPSA medical carts.
These aforementioned traits have also lent themselves to not only tangential fields like dentists offices, but food prep spaces that are in close proximity to the public. Devices like cough shields need flex arms to have a great look, but also need to be able to hold up to heat and be easy to clean.
How about places with a lot of vibration and impact?
The most recent iteration of flex arms has seen us taking them to the last frontier — outside. We work in a number of industries that require devices that are able to function outdoors in some pretty wild environments. That can be for marine equipment, for military surveillance cameras, or even hang-gliders.
For marine usage: Seasucker makes suction-cup tablet mounts for tablets and navigation electronics. For the military: We help produce devices for military antennas and surveillance cameras which must withstand desert to polar conditions, UV exposure, and more.
What else should I be considering?
There are also a ton of other high-impact devices used in supporting electronics in fleet vehicles (Pro-Clip USA), material handling, military helicopters, and even hang-gliders (Cumulus Soaring uses our Flex Arm for Glider PDA and GPS applications). Crazy, right?
All that to say: if you have a dream device, there’s probably a flex arm that can work for it — no matter the environment. Think you can stump us? Give us a call! We’d love the challenge.