Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Breaking News

Breaking News? Wait, isn't this entire blog about stuff that is "breaking"?  

Well, yes, now that you mention it...

So, what's breaking now?

Well, I heard some great news just yesterday, directly from Doron Polus, CEO of The Sliding Door Company.

  Remember this part?

The issue with this part is that it is an exact knock-off of a Simpson Strong-tie part.  Well, not exact but close enough to fool inspectors who are expecting to see the Simpson part.  

According to Doron Polus, CEO of The Sliding Door Company, the company went to the expense of having this product ACTUALLY tested (finally).  So, now they have engineering data on this part.  And it is as strong or stronger than the original Simpson part.  That's GREAT news, right?  

Well, no.  When you build a house of cards, every card has integrity, but the overall design is what matters.  So what is the overall design?

Engineering, Shmengineering...

TSDC went to the effort of having an engineer review their products.  We've already discussed how the engineer was misled about the materials used with regard to the aluminum.  But Let's look at the design now too.

The picture above is from the engineering calculations document - approved by an engineer.  We're going to have a look at the components that were replaced by the little bracket pictured above.  Below is the email describing which components will be replaced by the little bracket.


OK, so the "Outlet" connectors were replaced as of 2015.  That's the very strong piece that holds the entire system (house of cards) together.  It's Item 3 in the picture above.  Let's have a look at this.

Wow, it's hard to imagine that all this material can be adequately replaced by this.  Well, to be fair, two of these tiny brackets are required to replace the large, sturdy Outlet connector.  

The engineer even called out "stainless steel" for the part.  So the stuff that was supposed to connect to steel, now connects to aluminum.  And not just any aluminum?  "Proprietary Aluminum".  Instead of the screws going into the very strong steel connector piece, they now thread into the thin side wall of the proprietary formula aluminum post.  

Yet, without ANY engineering experience or background, Doron Polus decided that the tiny bracket can adequately replace the large "Outlet" connector... to save money.  Profit first - Engineers be damned...

This bracket also replaced the floor connector on 2x4 posts as well as the connection at the walls.  The bracket it replaced at the walls was twice as thick.  
The structural integrity of the entire system (if it had any to begin with) has been further compromised.  And for what?  To save maybe $5.00 per installation?  Profit first - Customers be damned...

Who's the Boss NOW?

That Doron is reading this blog and reacting to it is AWESOME!  I get to blog about his product failures and he gets to go to the expense of having his products tested for safety, FINALLY.  It's the "win-win" situation I described here.  He should be thanking me for forcing him to improve his products.  I'm sure he will, very soon - I could see it in his eyes.

Fixing the House of Cards

So what's next for The Sliding Door Company?  Well, now that they have been exposed, they're going to need to have the tiny bracket tested IN THE SYSTEM before they can claim an engineer has examined their products.  That means they're going to need to go back to the engineer and ask him to re-engineer their products to take into consideration the far weaker brackets.  I hope they remember to tell him that the aluminum grade they use in their products is unknown.  Good luck with that!

What is really required is that Doron stop playing God.  He's not an engineer by any stretch of the imagination.  Yet he makes engineering and safety decisions willy-nilly without regard to who might be impacted by them.  He seems more intent on reacting to this blog than making actual improvements to his products. 

Why on earth would Doron have testing done on a bracket he can already buy from Home Depot?  A bracket he can't use in his systems without having another set of engineering documents produced?  Did he go to that effort just to prove me wrong about the Simpson bracket?  He has installed this bracket in many installations.  Maybe he's protecting himself from future liability.  I guess we will see when it becomes more Breaking News.


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