The VPG Rapid Response Clamp was designed and engineered to contain leakage from damaged pipework, ( initially shrapnel damage on combat ships) under pressure ( up to 300psi ), up to 6X faster, using only one person with no tools, and with less potential for harm to the operator than all competitive systems on the market. In addition each clamp covers a wide diameter range, is designed to last 10 years plus in a marine environment, is reuseable and offers substantial through life cost advantages.
Initially the design challenge was to produce a device that would be vastly superior to the devices used by navies to repair combat damage from shrapnel to fire fighting mains and fuel lines on board ship. The majority of navies globally use either the Jubilee Patch or a Banding Clamp or similar. Tests by the Australian and US Navies had shown that the repair time using former technology was 6-8 minutes depending on the skill of the operators ( 2 are required ). Our task was to be able to achieve a better seal performance, in less than 60 seconds using no tools and only one operator. This challenge was met and validated by US, Australian and Malaysian Navies. VPG then set out to design a sister product that would allow penetration of the same basic clamp design ( using the same IP ) into the general maritime and commercial market.
The value proposition that both the original Milspec and the newly designed Commercial version offer are that both were engineered to contain leakage from damaged pipework, under pressure, up to 6X faster, using only one person with no tools, and with less potential for harm to the operator than all competitive systems on the market.
In addition each clamp covers a wide diameter range, is designed to last 10 years plus in a marine environment, is reuseable and offers substantial through life cost advantages. The Milspec version features fully 316 stainless steel operating system. The Commercial Version is 316 stainless and Glass fibre polymer.
The clamp was designed to be fast as speed contains damage and can save lives and assets. A over-centre cam handle design was chosen for simplicity and ruggedness, coupled to a quick actuation / release nickel
plated high tensile chain. It was important that the Clamp had to look amazing ( high quality ) as its initial target market was military. Initial prototypes were of fully welded and machined construction. Subsequent development particularly in manuufacturing cost improvement has seen all welding eliminated to replaced by castings and laser cut stainless steel sheetmetal. All operating edges were rounded or filleted to avoid catch points to eliminate/ minimise the opportunity for operators to be injured / cut even under extremely stressful application of the product. All competitor products are almost impossible to use in high stress situations without operator injury. By eliminating the requirement to use additional tools such as wrenches or spanners in the operation and designing the clamp to be fully self contained, the training involved in clamp use and operation is significantly shortened with no additional parts required to be kept in stock or fumbled around for under pressure. The clamp is covered by International patent with the Commercial Version of the Clamp covered under the same patent.
Perhaps the most significant aspect in the development of this clamp is the commitment by the US Navy to adopt the VPG Rapid Response Clamp as the replacement Damage Control Clamp for its fleet. Over the past 6 months, the Clamp has commenced roll out to US Navy Damage Control Schools, is on the newest / largest ship in the fleet, the USS Gerald Ford and 3 Nimitz Class Carriers. As a former US Navy Damage Control Master Chief has stated publicly,"CVN-78 has had excellent results with the clamp in training sessions, it is far superior than the US Navy's old clamp". "Because of the speed of it's installation and ease of it's removal, a larger number of crew members are able to practice during training periods. This immensely aids in increased readiness to respond to an actual casualty involving piping systems". The clamp is now sold via distribution to both Naval and Commercial markets with additional rollout continuing. Over 95% of clamp sales are export with four full time staff being employed in South Australia to assemble the clamps. It is anticipated that this will rise to 10 full time staff assembling in 2018. In addition the business outsources the manufacture of compenents to four South Australian businesses as well as its sister South Australian companies for supply of precision machined components and tooling. 2018 sales are estimated to be $2.0million with 95% derived from export.