A Brief History of the Modern Modular Quarter-TurnArticles, Quarter-turns
Quarter-turns (or cam latches) have been around for a very long time. Hundreds of years in fact. Thanks to their simplicity of design, they have been adopted by many different industries for use in countless applications over the years.
But many lock producers were slow to respond to the needs of large industrial enclosure manufacturers as their business grew and diversified. Enter DIRAK Inc.’s founder Dieter Ramsauer, the father of the modern, modular quarter turn.
Something that most of us in the industrial hardware world might take for granted is how truly versatile and flexible the modular quarter turn is. Within a single housing design, we can select one of many different key or tool types to meet the needs of our particular customers or industry standards simply by specifying the type we want. That has not always been the case.
Before 1967, people producing enclosures for multiple customers and/or industries had to potentially source their quarter turn from different suppliers that didn’t necessarily use the same physical dimensions on their locks.
This meant different sheet metal punches or cutouts would have to be used to accommodate different industry-standard key types. That proved to be a burden on manufacturers as they diversified into different industries that may have used enclosures that would have otherwise been identical save for the type of lock used.
The Modular Standard: How Dieter Ramsauer Revolutionized Enclosure Building
Dieter Ramsauer, a toolmaker, hardware salesman and soon-to-be inventor, identified this need and put his pencil to paper. By making a housing capable of accepting different inserts of standardized size, the insert could easily be changed within the quarter turn housing.
This allowed enclosure builders to standardize on the cutout in the door or panel before knowing what type of key or tool would be used. That simple change made an enormous impact on production.
Now manufacturers could build enclosures by size and sell them to customers regardless of industry. While other common cutouts exist for quarter turns, the one penned by Mr. Ramsauer was the first true modular standard, and is still the most prevalent one in industrial hardware today.
The Legacy of Dieter Ramsauer: From Quarter Turns to Global Industrial Design Leadership
Dieter Ramsauer went on to design many other industrial hardware solutions, many of which have also become standards. He even went on to found DIRAK, now a global leader in industrial hardware design and production.
DIRAK's quarter-turns are considered to be some of the most innovative and revolutionary in the market.
The world of industrial hardware has exploded in scale since he first put the design of the now ubiquitous modular quarter turn on paper, and more have been manufactured than he likely ever could have imagined. The quarter turn has been around for a long time, but the quarter-turn most of us know was invented in 1967 by a forward-thinking inventor named Dieter Ramsauer.
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