SNAP-FLAT – THE SELF CLOSING OVER CENTRE LATCH
The Snap-FlatTM Latch is a conventional adjustable Over Centre Fastener with a critical difference. It has been fitted with 2 springs that deliver 2 compelling benefits.
The first is the ‘FAIL-SAFE’ feature, where due to the tension created by one of the springs, the centre latch arm is prevented from accidentally de-coupling from the catch plate or hook. The Snap-FlatTM centre latch will stay secured to the hook even when no longer in the over centre position. This safety feature is particularly important in “moving” applications – see “When Do I need a Snap-Flat Latch“.
The second compelling benefit is the ‘SNAP-FLAT’ feature, where the centre latch, when intentionally dis-engaged from the catch plate or hook, will ‘Snap’ back into a secure FLAT POSITION. This prevents the latch from flapping around or protruding where it can be damaged or cause injury.
The first model of the Snap-FlatTM, is a large over centre fastener (model SFM8-304), with a recent variation developed for Pop top Caravan applications (model SFM8-304-C). The latch’s design and use of 304 stainless steel ensures strength, long-term durability and prevents corrosion in harsh Australian environments. The latch has a rated breaking strain of more than 1 tonne, making it suitable for most heavy-duty applications.
The over centre latch or centre fasteners is also adjustable and includes twin lockable holes.
Snap-Flat Caravan Latch SFM8-304-C
$34.95 excl GST
Large Over Centre Latch / Fastener with Caravan Bar – 304 Stainless Steel, Lockable & Adjustment range from front of latch to tip of blade, is 75 – 100 mm.
6 in stock
|1 - 3||—||$34.95|
|4 - 9||10 %||$31.46|
|10 - 19||15 %||$29.71|
|20 - 29||20 %||$27.96|
|30 - 59||25 %||$26.21|
The Snap-Flat Caravan Latch design delivers 2 important safety benefits compared to conventional over centre latches / fasteners.
Firstly the Snap-Flat latch’s spring tension prevents the latch from disengaging from the hook, even if the latch has not been NOT secured into the over-centre position. This prevents a potentially deadly accident if the pop-top’s roof lifts-up and blows away during towing.
Secondly when the latch is un-coupled from the hook, the latch and handle ‘Snap’ back to the Flat Position. This prevents damage to the latch and personal injuries.
The Snap-Flat latch also helps prevent the Pop-Top lifting cable mechanism being damaged when winding up the Pop-Top. This can occur when all 4 over centre latches haven’t been correctly disconnected. The Snap-Flat visibly and audibly will “Snap” back reducing the chances of the latches having not been correctly disconnected.
The Snap-Flat Caravan latch features a Caravan Bar designed to engage with Caravan style hooks or catches and is made from 304 Stainless Steel. It is lockable, has a certified breaking strain in excess of 1 Tonne. The adjustment range from the front of the latch to the top of the blade is 75 – 100mm (total latch length, including handle is 178 – 203mm)
Note when retro fitting: If replacing an existing pop top or hybrid caravan latch the Snap-Flat latch comes with a different hole pattern to conventional caravan latches (3 hole versus 4 hole pattern). After removing your current latches, fill the 4 holes with silastic to waterproof your van. Position the Snap-Flat latch to cover the existing 4 holes and drill 3 new holes and attach with 12G x 18mm Counter Sunk SS Screws.
|Dimensions||140 × 46 × 32 mm|
Stainless Steel 304, Lockable, Adjustable 165 – 190 mm, With Caravan Bar
Snap-Flat Latch SFM8-304
$29.95 excl GST
Large Over Centre Latch / Fastener – 304 Stainless Steel, Lockable & adjustment range from the front of the latch to the tip of the T-Bar is 36.5 to 61.5mm
947 in stock (can be backordered)
|1 - 3||—||$29.95|
|4 - 11||10 %||$26.96|
|12 - 23||15 %||$25.46|
|24 - 47||20 %||$23.96|
|48 - 71||25 %||$22.46|
The Snapflat Latch design delivers 2 important safety benefits compared to conventional over centre latches / fasteners.
Firstly, when engaged with the hook the springs keep the latch always engaged regardless of whether the latch has been secured into the over centre position or not. This FAIL-SAFE feature ensures the latch cannot accidently de-couple from the hook, which can be critical in certain applications.
Secondly, when de-coupled from the hook or catch the springs ensure the latch `snaps’ back into a flat position and prevents the latch and handle from flopping around. This prevents accidental damage to the latch and personal injuries.
The Snap-Flat latch is made from 304 Stainless Steel, is lockable, has a certified breaking strain in excess of 1 Tonne. The adjustment range from the front of the latch to the tip of the T-Bar is 36.5 to 61.5mm (Total latch length including handle is 140 – 165mm).
|Dimensions||115 × 46 × 25 mm|
Stainless Steel 304, Lockable, Adjustable length 140 to 165mm, Fitted with standard T Bar
Patent applications for the Snap-Flat latch, PCT
All I can say is the Snap-Flat Caravan Latch SFM8-304-C should be installed by Caravan manufacturers. These latches are great value and exceptionally well made. Has really finished off the Caravan. Looks a million dollars.
The Snap-Flat latch is far more solid and better engineered that the standard ones. On its own, that would be enough for Lazy Lizard to adopt them. But they have a very clever spring loaded design that keeps the latch under tension. This greatly reduces the chance of it rattling loose and will even keep it in position if it hasn't been tighten correctly. While the latch is undone, it sits flat, so it can't accidentally catch something or rattle around loosely.
I usually have one of the standard hold down clips let go each trip, I travel rough out back tracks and have a bad habit of driving fast, these new snap flat latches are the ducks nuts, they don't let go, I have recommended to my other prospecting mates
Snap-Flat Over Centre Latch Applications
The Snap-FlatTM over centre latch or centre fasteners can be used to replace conventional adjustable over centre latches (also known as toggle latches), there are however certain applications where the ‘FAIL-SAFE’ and ‘SNAP-FLAT’ features can be particularly important. If you are using an over-centre fastener or toggle latch to secure a “moving” item, then the Snap-FlatTM latch provides important safety benefits compared to a traditional over centre latch. See “When Do I Need A Snap-Flat Latch“.
Which features of the Snap-FlatTM latch are most important will depend upon the application. Some applications we have identified where the Snap-FlatTM latch offers compelling advantages, include:
Pop Top Caravans
Several problems have been identified with the use of over centre latches or centre fasteners on pop top caravans (sometimes referred to pop top roof clamps or pop top roof clips). The most critical is the tendency for existing adjustable over centre latches to accidently decouple while driving, potentially resulting in the pop top’s roof blowing off. While this is obviously an expensive accident the real concern is the potential to cause an accident with nearby motorist. For full details on the problems with traditional pop top caravan latches and how the Snap-FlatTM latches resolves these. The use of stainless steel enhances the durability and life span of the Snap-Flat latch, which can be important in Australia’s harsh environment.
Adjustable latches are used on camper trailers for a variety of purposes, the most common being to secure equipment such as solar panels, canter lever rack for dinghies or cargo and to secure the camper’s pop top roof. Due to camper trailers often being driven on rough terrain conventional centre latches can often accidently de-couple resulting in a loss of equipment or causing a potential accident with nearby motorist. For full details on the application of the Snap-FlatTM latch for camper trailers.
Ute Tray & Trailers
Conventional heavy duty over centre latches (or heavy duty toggle latches) used on ute trays and trailers can represent an injury risk as they can protrude out from the ute or vehicle body. They also can result in damage the paint work on a ute’s mudguard when the tray is dropped down. The ‘SNAP-FLAT’ feature of the Snap-FlatTM latch resolves both these issues.
Containers, Crates & Boxes
The Snap-FlatTM latch was originally invented by Uniseg Products because conventional stainless over centre latches installed on our Battery Transport & Storage Containers, were always being damaged, when being forklifted or the container was collapsed. The Snap-FlatTM latch also prevented the latch accidently de-coupling, which reduced the safety risks while transporting the containers. When security of the goods is important the Snap-Flat is also a lockable over centre latch, with twin pad lockable holes.
An unexpected application for the Snap-FlatTM latch has been to replace latches or centre fasteners used to fasten rota moulding tools together during the manufacturing processes. The Snap-FlatTM latch delivers several important benefits, including not accidently de-coupling and the ‘SNAP-FLAT’ feature prevents the latch being damaged and prevents the latch spinning out of adjustment.
Installing the Snap-FlatTM Over Centre Latch
The SFM8-304 model over centre latch and the caravan style equivalent (model SFM8-304-C), come with three 6.2mm countersunk mounting holes. A variety of methods can be used to install or fix the latch and this may depend upon the application and the required strength. Using stainless steel fittings is recommended.
The strongest and most secure installation method is to use nutserts and 6mm countersunk threaded bolts. Other alternatives to fix the centre latch, include;
- 10G Countersunk head self-tapping screws
- Pop rivets (use stainless not aluminium rivets)
- 6mm Tek screw (not recommended)
Why the Snap-Flat Latch was invented?
Early versions of UNISEG Product’s UNISEG Container and Battery Transport & Storage (BTS) Container used a conventional ‘non-sprung’ over center latch. These over center latches or centre fasteners were being frequently damaged when uncoupled from their hook, due to the latch and its handle not being secured and be able to flop around.
The latches would often protrude and be damaged by bumping against other equipment, when the container was being shifted by forklift. They were also damaged when collapsing the Uniseg Container into the flat position.
As a result of these problems UNISEG Products designed and developed the Snap-Flat latch where the latch and handle ‘Snap’ back to the FLAT POSITION, when the latch is un-coupled from the hook.