Nye Manufacturing turned to one of the ocean’s greatest predators to solve a dilemma in handling municipal solid waste.
The Mississauga-based Nye Manufacturing, a builder of custom heavy equipment attachments, created an excavator mounted bucket and thumb that is equipped with shark-inspired teeth.
To tackle the design, Nye turned to biomimetics, which incorporates structures in nature and applying them where appropriate in the design of products.
“We studied shark’s teeth and their ability to seize and tear thick whale and seal skin,” said Mark Nye, president of the company.
In this case, the ‘aggressive’ teeth were a custom build for Millennium Disposal Service Inc. in Oakville, Ont.
“The customer wanted teeth that would effectively grip the wood waste and gobs of plastic bags, drywall and construction debris. The conventional, boring old traditional tooth profile is just a row of symmetrical triangular points,” Nye said. “In keeping with Nye’s focus on biomimetics, we went with a more complex tooth profile. It is more like the gripping teeth found in nature.”
The teeth have a retro curve towards the throat (the bucket and thumb pivot). The design encourages materials to ratchet up towards the throat and reduces tendency for the material to slide down and out of control.
“This tooth profile has proven very effective over millions of years in the case of sharks,” Nye said.
The shark’s tooth bucket isn’t the first project where Nye Manufacturing incorporated biomimetics into its design. Previous custom attachments have drawn influence from lobster claws, the jaw structure of wolves and cat’s claws.
Nye notes, “This bucket and thumb combo is custom designed specifically for this customer’s preferences, this exact application and this particular excavator. Nothing is mass produced or adapted to fit. This is the good stuff.”