How to Select a Reliable Hinge for a Design That Lasts
Hinges can be one of the smallest, yet most important parts of a design. The very functionality of an enclosure can depend on whether the hinges specced into it can perform as intended, and if those hinges fail, the entire design can be rendered useless. In order to choose the best hinges possible for your design, consider what external conditions they need to withstand, the weight of material they need to support, and how other parts may depend on them to work properly.
Here are three qualities you should factor in when choosing the best hinge for your design:
Even a hinge that is otherwise perfect for your design should never be specced in if it won’t be able to endure the temperatures, moisture levels, and frequency of use your enclosure is likely to encounter. If your design will be used in extreme conditions, consider choosing a hinge made of one of the following materials:
- Stainless steel – This high-quality metal resists rust and corrosion, making it ideal for wet or humid environments.
- High-performance plastics – In addition to avoiding corrosion, these plastics can withstand extreme heat and cold. They also possess anti-friction properties that can prevent your hinges from wearing down even after years of use.
- Zinc – Whether your hinge is made of stainless steel or another metal, zinc galvanizing adds an extra layer of protection that can help prevent moisture-related corrosion for years.
Including durable hinges in your design is imperative for creating a container that functions properly for years, even under intense conditions.
Hinges that can hold up in extreme environments may still fail if they can’t support the weight of the structure they’re holding. As a moving part, they have to withstand not only the resting weight of a door, but also the stress of its motion and the impact when it closes. If your enclosure will require your hinges to support a large amount of weight, investing in high-quality materials for your hinge is even more crucial to ensure that its strength isn’t compromised by weak metals or hidden corrosion.
In addition to the moving parts of the hinge, also take into account the connection point between your hinge and the rest of the enclosure. A weld-on mount can provide more reinforcement than hinges that are screwed or bolted on. However, when choosing a weld-on hinge, be even more selective in the purchasing process – while more reliable, weld-on hinges are far more difficult to remove and replace than other mounts.
As a common connection point for different enclosure parts, a hinge is an important component in a design’s foundation, and if it doesn’t work exactly as it should, other parts may fail as a result. If just one hinge breaks or moves out of alignment, it can shift a door enough to prevent a lock from sliding into place or a gasket from properly sealing. The consequences of just one faulty hinge can involve a broken enclosure, but also loss of product inside the container.
Here, as always, the material you select for your hinge is paramount. Be especially conscious of extreme temperature fluctuations, which can cause some metals to expand and contract and ultimately affect how a hinge and door may fit within an enclosure. The parts of your hinge are equally important; the pins that go into pin hinges can bend over time, especially when supporting a heavy door or one that is frequently slammed shut or is struck by other objects. Fewer loose parts in your hinges mean fewer opportunities for improper alignment.
CLOSING THE DOOR FOR FAILURE
Hinges may not occupy a lot of surface area on your container, but they bear a large amount of responsibility when it comes to keeping your design functional. Prioritizing hinges that offer durability, strength, and stability will protect your enclosure and its contents for years on end.
Contact us today to learn more about choosing a reliable hinge for your design.