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Flange Lock Sets Out to Stop Leaking Hydraulic Lines

Fri June 05, 2009 - Northeast Edition
Jennifer Hetrick

Quite often, in the course of simple day-to-day work, the thought, “If I could invent something to … I’d be rich” crosses most people’s minds. So when a customer in Greg Molloy’s yard brought in an attachment with the line leaking oil and said, “If you could invent the closure for this, you’ll be a rich man,” Molloy decided to give it a shot.

“We have all seen them,” Molloy said, “Those flange ends on lines with the two half moon clamps and the four bolts that hold them down. Every one has the slugs to go under the clamps but you’re left with that open line and the endless flow of oil.”

Taking advantage of the slow winter season, Molloy put his extensive knowledge of attachments and flange lines to work on being the man who invented the solution to the problem of leaking lines and invented the flange lock tool and founded Flange Lock LLC in Greenwich, Conn. All of the steel and aluminum closures are made right in Connecticut, something that was important to Molloy.

Cleaning Up a Mess

“Customers are always dropping attachments off with a rag stuffed in the line or a plastic bag over it, so my yard was constantly covered in oil. Over the years there have been numerous occasions when we had to break down machinery for transport and I could see how the flange lock would save quite a bit of time and money in this circumstance. With the flange lock in place, there would be no need to remove both ends of the hydraulic line so the assembly would go much quicker and the trailer drivers would be happier since their decks would no longer be covered in oil. When I looked into it further I realized that the construction market is just the beginning of where the flange lock can be used; machinery used in oil fields and dredging, for wind turbines and large machine tools all have the flange end lines in use. So when my customer commented on inventing something to stop the oil leaking from lines, it just clicked and I started working on it. The invention is here, but I’m still waiting to be a rich man,” Molloy joked.

Save Time, Save Money

The flange lock tool is an easy-to-use cap that slides onto the fitting and is sealed with one turn of the bottom plug, keeping oil in and contaminants out. It is produced in sizes for 8, 12, 16, 20, 24 and 32 in codes 61 and 62 and, as Molloy stated, “the great part about this is that it can also be used on the thick Caterpillar flanges.”

The flange lock is currently being manufactured in aluminum.

“The flange lock represents major savings in a number of areas,” Mike Pearl, part owner of Flange Lock LLC, said. “It will save time in that there won’t be any oil leaking and having to be cleaned up. It will save money because again, with no leaks, no oil is wasted. And a really big savings will be with EPA cleanups. The EPA is looking at a lot of equipment right now and a lot of companies are being temporarily shut down in order to get things cleaned up. The flange lock will cut way down on that lost time and money.”

Equipment owners seeking to stop oil leaks are not the only ones who will benefit from the flange lock. Pearl foresees the factories where the equipment is manufactured being able to use the flange lock during the assembly process to keep contaminants from entering the lines and, if a customer desires, selling them on the equipment.

As well, “hoses get cleaned and capped when you buy them,” Pearl said, “but there’s nothing to keep the caps on. A customer buys some hoses, tosses them into the back of a truck, the caps come off and those new hoses are already contaminated. The contaminants get into the machine, and there’s a problem. We have the solution.”

The flange lock is currently being sold on the company’s Web site but it also is being sold through HO Penn, headquartered in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., and that, according to Pearl, represents a future goal of selling through a network of dealers.

For more information call 800/672-6225. CEG

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