Counterbalanced hinges made in Jamestown, NY Shipped to China for Assembly and Sales in US
Weber Knapp shipped its inaugural shipment of Vectis™ counterbalances hinges to China for assembly in the popular Kamado Joe® smokers to be sold in the US. More than 2,600 units were sent.
The Kamado Joe ceramic smoker has become a trend setter in the increasingly popular outdoor ceramic smoker cooking industry. Along with the many advantages recognized by converts to the Kamado method of slow-cooked smoking came an unwelcome feature affecting the user experience. The dome shaped ceramic lid design that contributes to the high quality cooking experience results in a heavy (45 -75#) lid often found to be extremely difficult to lift. After several attempts to address this issue with a traditional spring assisted hinge, Kamado Joe co-founder Bobby Brennan contacted Weber Knapp.
“I knew that Weber Knapp had addressed a similar application in the past, and thought they might be able to help us,” Brennan said. “Boy, did they come through with a design that meets and exceeds our specifications. They gave us the wow factor with the Vectis spring-loaded counterbalance hinge for our customers.”
Through its proprietary design software, Weber Knapp was able to design and build a single counterbalance mechanism that provides a feather light feel throughout the opening range of the lid helping it to remain stationary until it is manually moved to another position. This also provides the additional advantage of being able to vent excess heat, to whatever extent is necessary, without having to hold open a heavy lid with one hand while trying to tend to the food with the other. At the almost-closed angle, the mechanism is designed to apply enough pressure to assure a tight gasket seal, the key to preparing successful, delicious meals in a smoker.
“Initial reaction to the prototypes has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Brennan. “This will be a game changer, addressing a common concern from end users regarding the weight and mobility of the lids.”
Vectis™ and Vectis™ Custom combine assisted lifting forces, positional stability, and controlled opening and closing within an integrated hinge system. Vectis can be designed and purchased in low volumes without the costly expense of tooling or engineering time. As a first for the market, Weber Knapp has also developed the Vectis™ Design Your Own (DYO) custom application that allows manufacturers to create unique lift, lid and load requirements making products more reliable and user friendly.