The ongoing relationship between Morgan Advanced Materials and Gripple is proving highly successful in agricultural and industrial applications around the world. By including Morgan’s renowned Sintox FA alumina ceramic in their range of steel wire joiners and tensioners designed for use in agriculture and construction, Gripple has distinguished itself from more mainstream competitors. So it is little wonder that this employee-owned business is going from strength to strength, and that Morgan has helped Gripple to deliver more than 20 million units per year to 86 countries.
The founder of Gripple, Hugh Facey, came up with the idea on a wet Welsh hillside in the mid-1980s and the innovative Gripple fastener first went on sale in 1988. The original product provided an alternative to the knotting and bending techniques that had, until then, been used to construct wire fences, and was quickly adopted by customers across the world. The name of the product was derived from its ability to ‘grip’ and ‘pull’ the wires it was attached to.
Over time, the product range developed, and today the company is the acknowledged market leader, with a huge range of products. Gripple now manufactures items for civil construction, building and seismic protection applications, as well as for agriculture. Some things, however, have not changed – one of those is Gripple’s long-standing relationship with Morgan Advanced Materials, which has lasted for more than 15 years and continues to thrive.
Gripple needed to ensure the durability and robustness of the rollers inside their popular Gripple Plus wire joiners and tensioners, but this presented a considerable design and manufacturing challenge. The Gripple Plus is a joiner and tensioner in one, which is often used on fence, trellis and support wires. It allows users to secure fences four times faster than knotting and other traditional methods, and in a manner that maintains the inherent strength of the wire. The Gripple Plus range also permits high load holding.
The rollers are a critical part of each unit, because they grip and hold the wires. During installation, wire is inserted into a channel within the Gripple Plus, where it is gripped by a spring-loaded roller and tensioned as it is pulled through the channel.
As the Gripple Plus is used in agricultural and industrial settings around the world, the rollers within the products must be able to withstand constant exposure to the elements, extremes of temperature and the threat of events such as earthquakes and explosions. They must also be corrosion resistant. As a result the rollers must be made from a highly robust and stable material that will retain those properties over their lifetime. Thus for Gripple, the challenge lay in finding a material that could fulfil all of these requirements.
Fortunately, Morgan was able to provide the solution: Sintox FA. This 95 per cent alumina ceramic exhibits excellent strength and stiffness in compression, superior hardness and wear resistance, and has good thermal stability. The fact that the material remains stable at high temperatures, has a low coefficient of thermal expansion and is non-combustible and electrically insulating makes it well suited for Gripple’s purposes.
The partnership between the two companies is further strengthened by Morgan’s commitment to customer service. Using a web-based inventory management system, Gripple’s supply chain team can quickly and easily order new stock, which Morgan delivers within a week. This in turn allows Gripple to offer next-day delivery to its own clients. The combination of Morgan’s top quality products and superb customer service allows Gripple to maintain its own commitment to high quality, and its profile as the market leader. Furthermore, Gripple distinguishes itself from much of the competition by using a cutting-edge, high-performance ceramic within its agricultural fastening products.
Looking to the future, both Gripple and Morgan anticipate further growth, and intend to continue the pattern of continuous improvement that has been established during their partnership. Once more, Morgan Advanced Materials is at the heart of a system that delivers the required performance in a range of very demanding environments and applications.
For more information on Morgan’s Sintox FA material, please see www.morgantechnicalceramics.com/gripple.