New Automatic Pencil Prevents Lead From Breaking

Oct 8, 2014
Kenichi Takata, Nikkei Monozukuri
The "DelGuard" is priced at 450 yen (excluding tax, approx US$4.16).
The "DelGuard" is priced at 450 yen (excluding tax, approx US$4.16).
[Click to enlarge image]
The two mechanisms that protect a lead from (1) a perpendicular force and (2) a diagonal force
The two mechanisms that protect a lead from (1) a perpendicular force and (2) a diagonal force
[Click to enlarge image]

Zebra Co Ltd will release an automatic pencil that prevents a lead from breaking Nov 12, 2014.

The automatic pencil, "DelGuard," has mechanisms that guard a lead in accordance with the writing pressure and the tilt angle of the pencil. As long as it is used in a normal way, its lead does not break even when a strong force is applied.

In Japan, 90% of the middle and high-school students use an automatic pencil when studying, etc. But when they concentrate on the study and apply a force to the pencil, its lead breaks. Also, if the lead becomes short, it becomes stuck inside the pencil.

The DelGuard prevents a lead from breaking with two newly-developed mechanisms. First, when a strong force perpendicular to the paper is applied, a spring in the shaft shrinks to move the lead upward and prevent it from breaking. Second, when a strong force diagonal to the paper is applied, another spring pushes out a metal guard from the tip of the pencil to protect the lead.

Those two protective functions operate in accordance with the angle and strength of the applied force. But when the button is clicked more than three times (when the part of the lead protruding from the tip of the pencil is long), the lead might break.

Furthermore, in the aim of preventing a lead from becoming stuck inside the pencil, Zebra added a part that guides a lead in the shaft to ensure that even a short lead is set in the feeding mechanism.

Zebra considers that it is a great advantage for middle and high-school students (main users) to be able to use an automatic pencil without worrying about breaking a lead or clogging up the shaft. The company aims to sell two million units of the new automatic pencil in the first year.