Back where it all began! The first empirical test from July, 2015 that led me to believe I could be onto something…
I was working on an unrelated project at the time. Watching a tradesman pull a 15 tonne jack stand (30kg) out from underneath an underground loader. This weighed about 23 tonnes. He was on the ground, under the foot print of the machine. There was pushing, pulling and sliding. He was at risk of injury.
A thought occurred to me in the moment. Could the lightweight composite column that I was working on? Perform well in a compressive state! Composites are known for their performance in tension.
So, I set up a length of composite. It was about 300mm in length (100mm x 100mm SHS). Then I placed it between two hardwood timber blocks. This simulated a jack stand. When the machine was mobile again, I put it under the front-end loader arm of the machine. We used the hydraulics of the machine to power down. Lifting the front end of the machine in the air.
The difference in weight between the composite section and the front end of the loader machine was astounding. 1.3kg versus 6.5 tonnes. That was the point when the journey started for Composite Stands. Our goal to design a light weight jack stand out of composite to reduce the risks of manual handling.