Designed during my time at Gripple, FAST TRAK is a pre-fabricated trapeze bracket solution that offers speed, flexibility and efficient use of space for the installation of electrical containment, pipework, ductwork and other mechanical, electrical and piping services within the construction of buildings. After 3 years of feedback on the 1st generation product and receiving several additional requests for more functionality from the market the project was originally 5 separate briefs that were extensions/add-ons to the existing product. Instead of reacting to the market's requests for additional accessories and bolt-ons, a more holistic approach was proposed that involved combining all 5 briefs with an added extensive market research phase to re-design the core product and further future proof and protect Gripple's unique FAST TRAK product. After putting a vision for the product together, the project was backed by the company and new machinery and manufacturing processes were invested in off the back of a compelling design.
Quick - Up to 6 times faster to install than traditional suspension systems
Safe - Pre-fabricated system removes the need to cut rod or channel on site
Tool free - Brackets can be moved up and down the traks to accommodate changes in service height during installation
Zero Waste - Traks bend neatly under bracket
Space Saver - Can be multi-tiered to accommodate additional services
Easy measurement - Indicators at each end of the bracket can be used as a guide when marking fixing points on the ceiling
Versatile - Product can be used in multiple orientations to allow the suspension of combined services
With demand for the product ever increasing, design for automated assembly was considered from the outset. The idea was to take the functional latch mechanism and design it as a sub-assembly that could be fit to either end of a bracket. What was later dubbed as the 'engine' consists of an ABS plastic injection moulded housing that houses two compression springs, a steel push-button latch and a steel brace component. The sub-assembly is completely self retaining and features a series of snap fits to hold the engine together. The engine is then push fit into the opens ends of a bracket and two snap fit arms retain the engine in place at the end of the bracket.
One of the big innovations to the new FAST TRAK product was the new strap. The original strap was perceived to be flimsy, and allowed the trapeze to sway before all the services were locked down to make a rigid system. However, users still liked the functionality that you could bend the excess lengths of the strap underneath the bracket and tuck them away for a neat installation. These are two conflicting requirements. These two conflicting requirements were catered for by controlling the bend direction of the strap. The roll forming process allowed second moment of area theory to be implement into the design of the strap, moving material away from the neutral axis of the strap to make it more resistant to bending when a force is applied in a given direction.
Take a look at some of the FAST TRAK installations that have been carried out by Gripple customers by clicking through the gallery below.