End caps on outdoor furniture provide an aesthetic boost to the structure and perform an important safety function, preventing people from injuring themselves on aluminium and other potentially sharp metal edges.
The key to end caps is the precision manufacture of a material that matches the rest of the item of furniture, maintains its integrity in harsh outdoor conditions and fits flush to the end it is protecting.
But finding the optimal mix of these features can be challenging, given the levels of precision involved to maintain appearance and performance over a wide range of conditions, says problem solving expert Vinh Lam, who is the General Manager of CSGtech component solutions, a company dedicated to solving complex challenges involving seals and interfacing surfaces.
Such was the case recently when CSGtech was approached by a customer needing end caps for an Australian bus shelter upgrade project, but didn’t want variations in the extrusion process, because then some caps would not fit as well as others, leading to premature wear, or to them being displaced by accidental knocks.
“The material needed to be UV resistant for outdoor use, and the colour needed to match the rest of the bus shelter. It had to be a flexible material, so that it could withstand knocks and bumps without coming out or deforming in shape,” said Mr Lam.
CSGtech worked with this specialist design and manufacturing customer to produce a part that met their needs and fitted their drawings, while optimising fit and durability.
Fine details optimise success
“Engineers and architects tend to have an intuitive feel for materials, so we’re often starting from a place of mutual understanding. Where CSGtech can further help is by refining and optimising those materials to suit the particular application’s unique requirements,” says Mr Lam.
“In the case of the bus shelter end caps, we showed the customer the material we were working with, so that they had an even greater understanding of its properties. After working through new designs, a slightly larger lip was added to optimise the end cap’s fit.”
“The most important part of the process is to ensure our design is spot on before removing material from the mould. You can’t add material back into a mould later on, so if the design isn’t correct, a new mould needs to be sourced, adding further cost and delay.”
Precision engineering and finesse on the finer details are qualities that CSGtech specialise in for seals and interfacing solutions that apply to a broad range of architectural, building, construction and infrastructure applications. The same level of precision also aids sealing for petrochemical, food and beverage, water and wastewater, medical, scientific and engineering applications.