Case Study: Smoker Lid Counterbalance Hinge System
Kamado Joe®, an innovator and leader in the outdoor grill and smoker industry has perfected the ultimate smoker, to the great joy of their customers. However, the dome-shaped ceramic lid design, which contributes to the high-quality cooking experience, also resulted in heavy (45 lb. to 75 lb.) lids that many customers struggled with and found to be extremely difficult to lift.
After several attempts to address this issue with a traditional spring-assisted hinge, Bobby Brennan, co-founder of Kamado Joe®, contacted Weber Knapp for help.
“I knew that Weber Knapp had addressed a similar application in the past, and thought they might be able to help us,” Brennan said. “Boy, did they come through with a design that meets and exceeds our specifications. They gave us the wow factor for our customers.”
Leveraging their years of experience and proprietary Vectis technology, Weber Knapp was able to design and build a unique counterbalance hinge mechanism for each unit, that provides a feather-light feel throughout the opening range of the lid, helping it to remain stationary until it is manually moved to another position.
This also provides the additional advantage of being able to vent excess heat to whatever extent is necessary without having to hold open a heavy lid with one hand while trying to tend to the food with the other. At the almost-closed angle, the mechanism is designed to apply pressure to help ensure a tight gasket seal – the key to preparing successful, delicious meals in a smoker. Kamado Joe® will be introducing this feature on two products in 2016.
“We were so excited about the results with the Big Joe™ that we also had Weber Knapp design one for the Classic Joe™,” said Brennan. “Initial reaction to the prototypes has been overwhelmingly positive. This will be a game changer, addressing a common concern from end users regarding the weight and mobility of the lids.”
Some Vectis Hinge Specifications:
- Support Life – 50,000 cycles
- The torque is adjustable to accommodate the lid weight variance
- The lid counterbalances from approx. 10 degrees open to full open. Lid will coast closed below 10 degrees and may coast open after 60 degrees.
- Maximum operating force to lift the lid is 10 lbs.
- Shipped in a specified position to minimize the assembly time
- Unit replaces a traditional spring-assisted hinge