Improved Method of Indexing Circular Flanges

Hall, Robert
Lindberg, Rodney
Twisselman, Jeremiah
McMaster, Tim
Our client has a common manufacturing task of producing flanges with precisely located bolt holes. Precision is paramount as the bolt holes in one flange have to mate to another within a tolerance of several thousandths of an inch. Currently, the flange indexing process is laborious and time-consuming, involving the use of charts for a variety of flange sizes as well as the use of inexact measurement tools available in a fabrication shop. Our objective is to reduce the time and manpower this process requires, while maintaining precision and repeatability. Our design utilizes a high resolution rotary encoder coupled to a digital counter to precisely monitor and display the distance travelled by the indexer. An integral marking system makes it easy to precisely mark the location of bolt holes. The encoder mount can also be adjusted to follow a path offset from the centerline depending on the location of the desired bolt holes. Our design is portable, durable, and simple for a single person to operate with a limited amount of training.
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