A trendsetter in the increasingly popular outdoor ceramic smoker cooking industry is the line of Kamado Joe smokers. Along with the many advantages recognized by converts to the Kamado method of slow-cooked smoking came an unwelcome feature that affected the user experience. The dome-shaped ceramic lid design that contributes to the high-quality cooking experience also results in a heavy (45 lb. to 75 lb.) lid that many customers found to be extremely difficult to lift. After several attempts to address this issue with a traditional spring-assisted hinge, Kamado Joe Co-Founder and CEO Bobby Brennan, contacted Weber Knapp.
“I knew that Weber Knapp had addressed a similar application in the past and I thought they might be able to help us,” Brennan said. “Boy did they come through with a design that meets and exceeds our specifications. They gave us the wow factor for our customers.”
Through its proprietary software (as demonstrated on vectiscounterbalance.com), Weber Knapp designed and manufactured a spring-loaded counterbalance hinge mechanism that provides a feather-light feel throughout the opening range of the lid and allows it to remain stationary until it is manually moved to another position. This provides the additional advantage of being able to vent excess heat to whatever extent is necessary without having to hold open a lid with one hand while trying to tend to the food with the other. At the almost-closed angle, the mechanism is designed to apply enough pressure to ensure a tight gasket seal – key to successfully preparing delicious meals in a smoker.
“Now Kamado Joe smokers have a competitive advantage over similar products,” stated Weber Knapp President and CEO Rex McCray. “Our technical work with Kamado Joe has expanded our motion-control business to include other barbecue grill manufacturers such as Hestan Outdoor.”
“We were so excited about the results with the Big Joe that we also had Weber Knapp design one for the Classic Joe,” said Brennan. “This will be a game changer.”
For the past year shipping containers filled with Weber Knapp’s Vectis Custom Counterbalance Hinges are being sent to China for assembly to the Kamado Joe smokers. As a big thank you to Weber Knapp and its employees, Kamado Joe hosted an epic barbecue at its plant featuring Eric Gephart, it’s director of culinary inspiration.
Filed Under: Design World articles, TIPS SITES (EE World)