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USEFUL PRODUCTS

Finding Inspiration From Experience

Hunter-Works is 3 guys with different talents, combining their experience to make useful things. A lot of our ideas come from decades of maintaining, restoring & driving cars & trucks.

Image by Quinn Nietfeld
Product Name
Keep 'Em Clean

Scott, the idea guy, had finished a frame-off restoration of his 1970 Bronco and took it out for its first drive. Upon returning to his shop, he slid under to check everything out and there it was.. grease from the universal joints splattered across the previously pristine underside of his Bronco. Immediately he was reminded of the same messy problem he'd dealt with so many times as the owner of a fleet of 35 Class 8 tractor-trailers, that were always kept clean and polished.

 

Scott called his brother Ryan, the business guy, and said "you need to make something to cover these u-joints". Knowing this was an issue from his own experience, Ryan agreed. It was a problem that needed solving. That was 2015. Ryan tinkered with various ideas over the years but was unable to devote the necessary time to develop a viable product line until he retired from his business in 2023.

 

Ryan called his son Caleb, the design guy, who used his appreciable CAD skills to bring Ryan's 'back of a napkin' sketches to reality. Caleb built upon the basic concepts and developed 3D models by digitally wrapping ideas around actual driveline parts. The 3D models were then 3D printed, trial fitted to the parts, re-designed and re-fitted until an elegantly simple and inexpensive solution to the problem of universal joint grease was achieved.

 

The Larger View

Preventing grease accumulation on the undercarriage will save fleet operators thousands of dollars in cleaning costs each year. Auto restorers and hot-rodders will rejoice at not having to wipe the underbelly of their car after every drive. Off-roaders & farmers will celebrate not having brush, rocks, & mud stuck in their u-joints. But let's think about the other 50% of u-joint grease that lands on roadways.

 

I'm not wanting to pick on truckers or gripe about trucks, we come from there, trucks put the food on our tables. Heavy trucks are serviced approximately every 15,000 miles and part of each service is u-joint lubrication.

 

Mechanics are trained to "pump out" the u-joints until fresh grease is visible from all four u-joint caps to purge contaminated grease that can decrease u-joint service life. The amount of grease required for this process is easy to measure and maybe the volume for each u-joint seems insignificant, but each truck has between 2 and 8 u-joints and there are about 14 million Class 7 & Class 8 trucks operating in the US today. Rough calculations quickly get well into 10's of millions of pounds of lubricating grease thrown from u-joints onto US roadways, eventually washing into our watersheds each year.

 

Grease is recyclable just like motor oil and most, if not all of what's now thrown into the environment could be captured in u-joint covers, scraped out during service, dropped into the same barrel with used motor oil and recycled.

 
Moving Forward

Ryan is currently working to advance the adoption of his product with assistance from the Tennessee Manufacturing Extension Partnership (TMEP) and Tennessee APEX Accelerator, both of which are part of the University of Tennessee Center for Industrial Services (UTCIS). UTCIS Solutions Consultant Lee Leonard, PhD has offered the following assessment, “Ryan’s invention has the potential to both protect the environment and conserve natural resources. I am excited to be working with him on the development of this product.”

 

The TMEP is a service provider and consulting organization committed to building a thriving manufacturing industry across the state. The Tennessee APEX Accelerator (formerly TN PTAC) assists businesses in competing successfully in federal, state, and local government contracting.

We're not only a business, we're also stewards of the earth (Protectors if we may), and

we believe both purposes can be in harmony.

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