Tie Rod Assembly Cuts Costs
Adjustable Lawn Mower Linkage with Spherical Rod Ends
When end users put their hands on a lawn mower, the first thing they feel is the steering. That makes the tie rod assembly crucial to the equipment's overall feel. When a major lawn and garden equipment manufacturer approached Triangle with the challenge of improving the look and feel of its steering components while simultaneously reducing costs, our engineering team embraced the challenge.
The request: Reduce cost and time on an adjustable lawn mower linkage
The lawn and garden equipment manufacturer asked whether we could produce an adjustable linkage to be used in the hand controls of their stand-on mower. They were looking for a solution that would help them better manage inventory and reduce component costs.
Our Solution: From machined to a stamped tie rod assembly
Though we had experience with spherical rod ends, this was a new challenge. The lawn and garden equipment manufacturer provided us with a list of specifications that could help design this new product. Through our process, we saw opportunity by stamping the spherical rod end rather than machining it. By stamping this tie rod assembly:
- We could produce the components at a significantly lower cost.
- We could eliminate a weld, thereby improving component strength and lifespan.
- We could also automate the assembly process for added cost savings and faster turnaround.
How did we do it?
Looking at the existing components gave us a baseline to improve upon. We identified the product design, material and manufacturing process that would help this lawn and garden manufacturer maintain quality while reducing costs.
To determine the best material for the product, we tested various material samples using accelerated life testing process. This process helped us choose the material with the longest life for the quietest operation.
Our engineering team chose sintered bronze spherical balls because they are oil impregnated which results in less maintenance and less noise. This value-added feature means the end user will never need to add oil, a common maintenance task required for many other bearings on the market.
Stamping and automation: A cost-effective combination
Stamped metal is a preferred solution for customers placing large-volume orders. That's because stamping offers:
- Reduced set-up and labor costs
- Less material waste
At Triangle Manufacturing, automated assembly processes support high-efficiency production. Lights-out manufacturing allows us to meet tight deadlines and provide faster turnaround times. Best of all, advanced manufacturing allows us to assemble the product at a fraction of the cost. Because of our manufacturing process, we can provide cost-competitive pricing for spherical rod ends and tie rod assemblies.