Epilogics, Inc. was formed in 1988 to commercialize a newly patented transmission technology called the Infinitely Variable Transmission, or IVT. In 1989, after licensing the IVT to Eaton Corporation for use in heavy duty truck transmissions, Epilogics embarked on a transmission development effort for the Penske Racing Team, one of the most successful Indy car teams in history. A rule change banning automatic transmissions ended the project, but not before Epilogics co-founder Paul Pires conceived a lightweight, small, yet extremely strong one-way clutch necessitated by Penske’s stringent weight requirement for the transmission. This device, dubbed the Mechanical Diode® one-way clutch, or MD, was destined to replace the IVT as Epilogics’ flagship product.
EPX Racing Products (later licensed to Sonnax Industries) was formed in 1991 to Supply Mechanical Diode one-way clutches to the top drag racers in the world for use in racing torque converters. The "Unbreakable Sprag" as the MD came to be known, cures a longstanding problem for racers by completely eliminating sprag failure during competition.
In 1994, Epilogics successfully licensed the Mechanical Diode to Case Corporation for use in tractor transmissions. Case began production in early 1996. The MD has proven so reliable that Case offers an unprecedented 15 year warranty on the assembly containing the MD.
The small size and light weight of the MD caught the attention of Becker Orthopedics in 1995. Becker licensed the MD for use in prosthetic and orthotic devices and is currently developing products for that market.
The Department of Defense became interested in the MD when the possibility of a smaller, lighter, more reliable one-way clutch device became apparent. The DOD requested that work begin on a Mechanical Diode for use at ultra high speeds in helicopter drivelines. These newly developed MDs have been tested at speeds exceeding 20,000 rpm (the maximum speed currently attainable on available testers).
In early 1993, Epilogics began marketing the Mechanical Diode technology to the OEM automotive market. In August 1993, Brenco Incorporated, a first-tier supplier to the automotive industry and the world’s leading manufacturer of roller bearings for railroad cars, licensed the technology for OEM automotive applications in North America. By early 1996, production tooling was in place to produce high volumes of MDs for automotive OEM transmissions. In late 1996, Brenco was acquired by Varlen Corporation and the MD license was assigned to Means Industries, a subsidiary of Varlen.
Currently, Epilogics is in the final phases of completing a world-wide licensing program for the Mechanical Diode. For more information on available license opportunities please contact Epilogics directly.