Panel Lock Locking Cover

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Safety and Security
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Currently, there is no device on the market that will secure entire panels, rack mounted components, or many other similar controls mounted on flat surfaces such as the Panel Lock locking cover will. These types of controls may need to be locked out or guarded for purposes of safety, quality, configuration, security, or tamper-proofing. The locking cover can be manufactured in a variety of sizes and shapes. In some cases, only a section of a large panel may need to be secured, so a smaller model can be used to cover only the necessary controls. The ability to lock out these components could potentially save lives when used for lockout/tagout. Other uses might include ensuring the integrity of controls that are configured for specific tasks, tamper-proofing items such as thermostats, or guarding sensitive switches or knobs that may be accidentally bumped. Integrity seals can be used instead of locks for particular applications.

Although thermostat tamper-proof guards are currently on the market, the models available require installation to the wall with screws or other fasteners. Some even require removal of the thermostat to install the cover initially. With a version of the Panel Lock made for thermostat guarding (with added vents), no drilling would be needed; it would simply clamp around most thermostats and be secured by an ordinary padlock. The benefits of this would be ease of installation, portability, and the ability to use locks that are keyed alike for simplicity in buildings or facilities with many thermostats to guard.

The device is constructed mostly of clear polycarbonate to allow for viewing of the components underneath. Two interlocking halves slide together to form a barrier over the components to be locked out. Each half features a flange with numerous holes. When installed, the holes in the flanges align with each other allowing the device to be locked in several different positions (to accommodate different widths of equipment) and secured in place with a standard padlock. The locking flanges can be located on the face of the device or on the side, depending upon the application.

The device is held in place on the equipment by a variety of methods depending on the equipment it is applied to. One method uses adjustable brackets to slide under the "handles" on the front of rack mounted equipment to hold the device in place. Other methods of attachment are available for equipment without these handles. Small clips can be screwed or bonded to the surface of nearly any panel or other device with components that need to be guarded. The device can also be configured to secure some components by simply clamping around them, and not requiring clips or other methods of attachment.

Many potential commercial applications exist for this device. Because it can be configured to secure nearly any control mounted on a flat surface, the possibilities are endless. It can be used to secure control panels on many types of fixed or mobile equipment used in construction, manufacturing, medical, or military applications.

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  • ABOUT THE ENTRANT

  • Name:
    Jennifer Scheer
  • Type of entry:
    individual
  • Profession:
    Technical Writer
  • Number of times previously entering contest:
    never
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    Visio
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  • Jennifer is inspired by:
    The need for better ways to keep workers safe.
  • Patent status:
    none