Tencarva Machinery Company Granted New Patent for Uniguard Guard Assembly

GREENSBORO, N.C., June 7, 2009--Tencarva Machinery Company, headquartered in Greensboro, was granted a new United States patent on April 21, 2009, for the protective guard assembly extending around a rotating shaft, which is at the core of the design of the firm's Uniguard Machine Guard products and is manufactured by Tencarva, according to Rod Lee, Tencarva president.

The inventor of the guard assembly is Kenneth J. Brisk, Uniguard manager with Tencarva, of Browns Summit, N.C. The patent described in the Patent Abstract is for a guard assembly "provided for extending around a rotating shaft extending between a driving device and a driven device. The guard assembly includes two plastic pliable covers bent to form two cylindrical housings. One cylindrical housing is slidable within the other and moveable between a retracted and an extended position. A split ring adapter is secured to one of the devices and housings. Additionally, there is provided an end cap secured to one of the cylindrical housings opposite the adapter plate. There is also provided a series of elongated openings provided in each cylindrical housing and one or more fasteners projecting through respective pairs of openings so as to secure one cylindrical housing to the other and to permit one of the housings to slide with respect to the other when the fasteners are loosened."

Brisk emphasizes that "safety regulations, such as OSHA requirements, require that in certain commercial and industrial settings that a guard be placed around the rotating shaft so as to prevent loose clothing, such as ties and sleeves, from becoming entangled in the equipment."

In 2005, Tencarva acquired the durable, corrosion-resistant Uniguard Machine Guard line of products with the firm's agreement for the purchase of the assets of Computer Cut Inc., of New Bern, N.C. At that time, Brisk, the company's former owner and product's inventor, joined Tencarva. Tencarva manufactures the Uniguard products in Greensboro, with Brisk in charge of the Uniguard production. Brisk applied for this patent September 21, 2005.

The innovative Uniguard Machine Guard is used primarily to enclose a rotating coupling connecting the shafts of the driven equipment and the driver (usually an electric motor) and the driven item to prevent harm to people working around the equipment. Made from sturdy polyethylene, these guards can be custom designed in any size--small or large-to cover the shaft lengths and diameters required. The guards can be customized for users needing access doors for coupling maintenance (such as greasing), or with clear windows for viewing the rotating elements.

The Uniguard Machine Guard was created in 1994 when Brisk was given the task of overseeing that the machine guarding at the facility where he worked was brought up to current standards. Brisk developed the line of products as the result of "a need for an easy-to-use and economical machine guard that could be sold through distributors that carried the type of equipment they are used on."

Working in his garage and on weekends, Brisk refined his initial ideas, and after two years, in January 1997, was granted patent protection for Type CGU-Machine Coupling Shaft Guard. While the guard assembly for the earlier patent has proven to be successful, the installation of this type of guard assembly and others can be time consuming and awkward. Thus, there is a need for a guard assembly for enclosing an area around a rotating shaft extending between a driving device and a driven device that is easy to install and which can be easily adjusted and secured around the rotating shaft so as to close the open area around the drive shaft.

Brisk points out, "Simple in concept, this nonmetallic coupling guard allows distributors to offer an economically priced, OSHA compliant coupling guard right off their shelf."

Teaming with Tencarva Machinery Company, Brisk has broadened the Uniguard product line, and today Uniguard Machine Guards are available to fit almost any application. The product line includes direct drive coupling and shaft guards, as well as vertical and horizontal V-belt guards.

Harry Taylor, Tencarva vice president of operations, explains, "Many guards are simply a piece of bent metal with open ends. These may be called a guard, but offer very little real protection as the rotating shafts are exposed on either end. They can be flimsy, and the openings are large enough that fingers or hands can be inserted (usually by mistake).

"In addition, metal guards rust. The Uniguard is made from a polyethylene that cannot rust and is not affected by the ultraviolet rays of the sun, so it can be used outside. This guard also can be used in chemical environments where stainless steel material had been required (giving the Uniguard tremendous price advantage)."

He continues, "The Uniguards are designed for easy installation. The guards can be purchased with the proper diameter and style to cover a shaft, coupling or belt drive. Many of the direct drive guards are adjustable in length using common hand tools. The guards are split (clam shell like) so they can be installed and removed. Horizontal V-belt guards have slip off backs for easy removal."

The Uniguard comes in many standard sizes, but can be economically built for custom applications, and is constructed of sturdy polyethylene. The unit can also be thought of as a "little plastic house," which lends itself for many other applications as guards or covers.

The Uniguard fully encloses rotating shafts so people can safely work around the equipment. Uniguard Machine Guards comply with OSHA standards and meet ANSI (American National Standards Institute) regulations that do not allow for openings to be greater than ¼". (OSHA does not set a standard for the size of an opening with regards to machine guarding only ANSI does).

Taylor emphasizes, "We find that many maintenance departments will make their own guards from metal. They may do this thinking they are saving money! Before we started using the Uniguard in our applications, I thought the same. I found that it takes a lot of time to design, locate and order material, paint and install. Even then, if someone were injured, whoever designed and built the guard had to be concerned whether the guard was designed properly. The Uniguard is OSHA/ANSI compliant and economical."

Tencarva is a distributor specializing in liquid process, compressed air, vacuum equipment and custom-designed systems for the industrial marketplace. Tencarva is dedicated to providing the highest quality process machinery to all industry coupled with superior customer service and integrity.

Founded in 1978, Tencarva Machinery is committed to providing superior service by supplying innovative engineering assistance, professional equipment selection, competitive deliveries and parts availability, and preventive maintenance and repair services to all its customers. Tencarva has 22 branches in eight states, including Arkansas, Florida, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

For additional detail on the Uniguard Machine Guard product line, contact Harry Taylor or Ken Brisk at Tencarva Machinery Company, 1115 Pleasant Ridge Road, Greensboro, NC 27409-9753, (336) 665-1435. For other information on Uniguard, please visit the website at www.uniguardmgc.com.

Lucinda L. Hall
(615) 377-0771

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