Robert E. De Barth - Eyelet Controversy

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 The Eyelet Controversy

At first glance, the Bates Eyeleter eyelet raceway to the receiver anvil does not seem to be a precision path. However, because extreme tolerance may not be required, this pathway does need to be fairly consistent in dimensions, not unlike a lawn mower engine although not as demanding, in order to function properly. The problem with some lower cost sources of eyelets is that only the extreme outside dimensions are considered in order to determine the correct “size” of the eyelet. Below is an example of this idea.

The three dimensions that suppliers never publish are the thickness of the material the brass eyelet was made from, the Bell Radius, and the Overall Height. The Overall Height is the easiest to determine by measuring the eyelet's overall height however, the Bell Radius is not as easy. The Eyelet depends on its Bell radius to resist instability while in the raceway of the Bates Automatic Eyeleter.

The “Bell” as we refer to it, is the actual curve (radius) of the flange part of the eyelet. In the drawing below, both Bell radiuses are greatly exaggerated for explanation purposes only. Note the radius of the Bell shape of the one on the left would have more of a tendency to ride up on the next one in a raceway than the deeper Bell shape of the one on the right. However, the one on the right would tend to rock back and forth more in the delivery system than a flatter type radius. So the problem is to make sure you get the correct Bell dimension and have the best of both worlds.

The Bell specifications are a big influence in the success of the eyelet's travel through the delivery system in the Bates Eyeleter. A shallow or steep Bell added to inconsistencies in the eyeleter's cast housing, formed metal guides, and other pieces of the delivery system, may cause the eyelets to tilt more one way than another while traveling down the chute.  When tilted the eyelets have a much greater chance of jamming in the delivery system. When jammed due to a shallow bell, the eyelets are overlapped slightly with one flange up on top of another. A deep Bell may also jam the eyelets in the chute in a different fashion but we have seen less incident of this type of problem.

During use, vibrations, the normal effect of gravity, friction, and the eyelet itself all add up and can have a most dramatic effect on feeding the eyelets smoothly and without jamming. Of course, due to the nature of mechanical devices there are always a few percent chance of a jam due to an occasional “badly” manufactured eyelet. Manufacturers turn eyelets out at an amazing rate per hour.

The Bates Automatic Eyeleter hopper where the eyelets are initially sorted and delivered to the raceway does not need the precision to operate as the rest of the delivery system. We have done much research to find the lowest cost eyelet that has all the right parameters to provide continuous and flawless delivery in the Bates Automatic Eyeleter.

Other characteristics like whether the eyelet forms a complete bell on the reverse side or fractures and looks like petals on a flower during the pressing are eyelet factors we also investigate. These varied formulations of the brass material used to make the eyelets are not easy to explain in non-technical language.

Earl De Barth, technical writer

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