24 October 2019
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Drawer slides for winners

If you are reading this waiting for the tyres to be changed on your car you might like to think about the theory that the technological advances made in Formula 1 racing filter down to ordinary motorists. For example, the record for changing all four wheels on a F1 car is 1.92 seconds.

Everything in F1 is hugely competitive including the time it takes to complete a pit stop. If a team can cut pit stop times, they gain a competitive advantage and – during a Grand Prix – every hundredth of a second counts.

Technology arms race

Pit teams use lasers to position the car perfectly and redesign wheel nut threads again and again to aid speed and prevent cross threading. They have even experimented with using helium and nitrogen to make wheel guns faster.

Nothing can fail

It’s vital that cars pit as rapidly as possible and that a fast turnaround is achieved every single time. The pit crew is drilled to perfection and all the equipment must be absolutely reliable. This extends to the transport systems used by the teams, which is where JET PRESS’ Accuride Slides come in. They are used in the cases the teams use in the pit lane and to transport tools and components from race to race.

The teams travel around 100,000 miles a year between races and test sessions. Most are based in Europe, so a lot of this travel is by road, so they must withstand the occasional rough ride. For the non-European ‘flyaway’ races all the kit goes into an aircraft hold, so space is a critical issue. The cases also go through a rapid semi thermal cycle – from the cold of an aircraft hold straight onto a runway in Australia or the Middle East – and still work perfectly.

There is not enough time between some of the flyaway races to go home so teams often transport a lot of components.

Only the best will do

The designer must create a transport system that can withstand the rigours of air and road travel. It should be lightweight, so more components can be carried, and crucially it must never fail when it gets into the pit lane.

The Accuride 9308 and 7400 slides are used in F1. The 9308 has a 227kg load rating and opens 100%. It also features lock-in and lock-out functionality so the drawer will only open when the lever is activated, and they can be locked open when in use. Some designers pair the 9308 slide with the 9301 so only one of the slides has a lock-out lever – another way to save split seconds in the pit lane.

The 7400 Self Close Drawer Slide has a 45kg load rating and bayonet fittings that work well with metal cabinets. They can be installed quickly and easily and moved later if the size or configuration of drawers needs to be changed.This slide opens more than 100% so nothing can get stuck at the back of the drawer and the slim profile means space is maximised.

The Accuride 9308, 9301E and 7400 are all Ball Bearing Drawer Slides so the action is consistently smooth, and the Mild Steel construction is robust. Passivated Zinc Plate protects against corrosion, so these slides keep performing at 100% efficiency for the life of the case.

A winning team

Though JET PRESS may not be responsible for winning a Grand Prix, when a driver takes the chequered flag and climbs on the winners’ podium its engineers know they’ve played their part.

Tom Austin-Morgan

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