This year’s Mousetrap winners demonstrate that Parker’s ingenuity is not just engineering our customers’ success but also building a better world.
The Mousetrap Awards are named after the quote attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson: "Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door.”
A “Better Mousetrap” has become shorthand for the power of innovation to attract new business. Each year, Parker’s leadership team evaluates the top nominees to identify the year’s best innovations across the company.
“Each year our operating groups nominate what they believe are their most promising ‘new’ products in each of three award categories,” explained Chief Technology and Innovation Officer Craig Maxwell in announcing the winners. “I am honored to announce our 2018 Mousetrap Award Winners.”
Like so much of Parker’s work, you may be surprised to discover that the winning innovations directly impact your day-to-day experience, whether you’re driving to work, enjoying your favorite beverage or setting off for a vacation.
The Better Mousetrap award recognizes excellence in the improvement, modification or extension of an existing product in response to customer need.
This year’s Better Mousetrap award goes to the team who worked with two large OEM customers to develop the Low Drag D-Ring out of the O-Ring and Engineered Seals Division, in Woodridge, Illinois. Parker engineers adapted this seal to fit a transmission jointly developed by the auto manufacturers to fit on their 9- and 10-speed transmissions, respectively.
The Low Drag D-Rings, which are a modification of existing O-rings, reduce drag to improve shifting smoothness and fuel efficiency. Parker’s role in this project enabled the development of a transmission that meets stringent government fuel efficiency mandates.
Each transmission assembly contains 37 Low Drag D-Rings, accounting for approximately 90% of the seals within it. This collaboration not only increases sales for Parker, but also positions the company as an industry leader.
“Not only was it the largest win in the history of the Engineered Materials Group,” said Ron Bechtel, Market Development Manager for the O-Ring and Engineered Seals Division, “but it also sets Parker apart in the transmission world as a sealing expert.”
The Best Mousetrap Award recognizes excellence in the design, development, and commercialization of a new-to-market or new-to-world product.
If your morning commute includes a stop to your local coffee shop, you might just enjoy the fruits of Parker’s Best Mousetrap winners’ labor. The Industrial Gas Filtration and Generation Division out of Haverhill, Massachusetts, brought its expertise in filtration to a new market.
Hot on the heels of cold brew coffee, is another trend in caffeination: nitrogen-infused coffee. While nitro coffee has been around for several years, growing demand has created challenges for retailers looking to add it to their menus. Traditional high-pressure nitrogen tanks pose potential safety hazards, continuity of supply issues, ongoing store operating expenses and inconvenient tank changeouts in a coffee shop environment. The DN-6 Nitrogen Generator removes the tank from the equation, creates a continuous supply of gas on-demand and provides a more sustainable in-store experience for retailers and their customers.
Portable and small enough to fit under a counter, the DN-6 takes compressed air and separates the non-nitrogen elements through a gas separation process called pressure swing adsorption. Once +99.5% pure nitrogen gas is created, it is then passed through a final sterile grade membrane filter so that the nitrogen can be infused into coffee. The generator and manufacturing facility meet NSF approval as well as 12 additional international safety standards.
With more than 30,000 retail coffee shops in the United States alone, the work behind the DN-6 shows the tremendous potential of translating existing expertise for new markets.