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X-Frame for waste free buildings gets commercialisation boost
Clip-together modular building design can be rapidly assembled, disassembled and reused, eliminating waste during a building’s lifecycle and heads us towards a circular economy
Victoria University of Wellington PhD candidate Ged Finch is fast tracking the commercialisation of his X-Frame structural frame solution for waste free buildings with support from the KiwiNet Emerging Innovator Programme. The game-changing framing system can be disassembled and re-used at the end of a building’s useful life.
Finch’s design, a self-braced interlocking wood design which clips together eliminating the need for single-use fixings, has the potential to eliminate waste and reduce the amount of raw materials being used by the building industry. Approximately half of all New Zealand’s waste—about 1.6 million tonnes every year—is generated by the construction sector.
“The current widespread use of adhesive-based fixings and single-life materials means that building a single new home will create about four tonnes of waste during construction, and even more when it’s eventually demolished and taken to the landfill,” says Finch.
Finch, who has been working with Viclink, Victoria University of Wellington’s commercialisation office, also secured a place on KiwiNet’s Emerging Innovator programme to help commercialise the green architectural solution.
Every single component of Finch’s X-Frame design, cut by a computer-controlled router, can be disassembled and reused, so no waste is produced at any stage of a building’s lifecycle. The clip-together design allows any type of structure—floors, walls, ceilings—to be rapidly assembled and disassembled many times over, using unskilled labour and a bare minimum of tools, akin to flat-pack furniture. Adding doors or windows at a later stage is simple, and when kids leave home: “they could literally take their rooms with them, as our modular design also clips onto standard framing.”
Dr James Hutchinson, ceo of KiwiNet, says: “Ged’s vision is to transition the building sector from a linear (take, make, dispose) economy to a circular economy—where materials are reused in endless cycles. His approach could set a new benchmark for sustainable design, and it makes great commercial sense. KiwiNet’s Investment Committee saw an opportunity to support Ged with expertise, networks and funding to do specialised work required to demonstrate his ideas at scale, and to assist with the commercialisation pathway from concept to new architectural solution.”
Finch came up with his idea during his Masters year and, under the guidance of Guy Marriage—Senior Lecturer in the School of Architecture—has taken it into his PhD (with additional supervision from Dr Antony Pelosi and Dr Morten Gjerde).
Viclink has been an amazing support,” says Finch. “During my Masters, Liam Sutton—one of Viclink’s commercialisation managers—brought in an IP specialist to talk to me about how to protect my intellectual property and also connected me to a circular economy start-up funder.”
Finch says Viclink introducing him to KiwiNet has had one of the biggest impacts to date as it has given him access to a great network of expertise and experience, his own business mentor and funding to further develop his product.
“I’m using the funding to carry out specialised work required to finalise engineering designs for the earthquake resistant hold down fixings for the walls and interior,” says Finch. “KiwiNet’s support is also helping me to test the structural integrity and weather-tightness of the X-frame product, both critical features for any future commercialised product. They’ve also arranged for me to meet with scientists from Scion who are developing natural adhesives from forest waste products and Auckland based company Fastmount which manufactures reusable clips that connect interior wall linings with the structure. These materials perfectly complement the X-Frame technology—the networking is the magic!”
He says that even though X-Frame is innately earthquake stable because of its design geometry, independent structural testing is crucial in getting his product to market. His PhD scholarship funded by the Building Research Levy (BRANZ) is also assisting with the project, with additional funding also provided for structural testing of the prototype product.
Finch is currently building a small (10m2) prefabricated prototype dwelling in Auckland to demonstrate his ideas at scale and to inform market viability. He believes the completed prototype will be New Zealand’s most sophisticated ‘circular’ building.
Finch says, “This prototype build is a major step as it is the first time we will have built the entire wall system with cladding, cavity battens, insulation and an internal lining. Unitec Institute of Technology’s School of Architecture have helped out by providing robotic fabrication facilities to create the frame – which means we’ll be able to have the entire building water-tight in less than one week on-site. We’re cladding the assembled X-Frame in an entirely reusable, chemical free external cladding system centered around a naturally preserved timber product being developed by Abodo Wood Ltd.”
Finch was recently invited to present his concept at the Advanced Building Skins (ABS) conference in Bern, Switzerland. He says this was recognition from the international building industry that major changes are needed to curb waste production.
Finch says X-Frame could totally transform the way we think about buildings. “My ‘blue-sky’ objective is to build a housing development with a complete circular economy design—where all building materials can be quickly recovered at the end of a structure’s life and either efficiently recycled or directly reused without any negative environmental impacts.”
The KiwiNet Emerging Innovator Programme is open to early career researchers based at universities, Crown Research Institutes and other publicly funded research organisations across New Zealand. Programme recipients receive expert legal advice from KiwiNet corporate partner MinterEllisonRuddWatts and IP advice from Baldwins, as well as funding from the Norman Barry Foundation, owner of the Quality Hotel Parnell Limited, K1W1 and PreSeed Accelerator Funding, from MBIE.
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Sheet metal fabrication that packs plenty of punch
Punch Tooling NZ is what the company describes as your partner in the field for all aspects of sheet metal fabrication, fitting your exact requirements to high-quality precision tooling.
Representing “only the world’s leading and most reliable brands”, Punch Tooling NZ brings its considerable knowledge of manufacturing processes to ensure the implementation of the right plant and materials, fully installed and calibrated with ongoing technical service and support.
“Our team of service engineers can support what we sell. Due to inquiries from customer, we have partnered with Mebius Australia to sell the Penta Fiber laser range. This includes large format laser up to 8 meters in length and 20kw power,” says the company.
Penta also have developed the hand-held laser welder. Punch Tooling says that hese machines will be available in 2020 and represent a leap forward in welding with little or no clean-up and very fast welding speed.
“We also have the DeraTech range of Press brakes, these machines are quality press brakes with press frame monitoring to compensate for frame stretch as the tonnage increases.”
This combined with automatic crowning and an easy to operate CNC controller can now give the same bending accuracy as higher priced machines at a fraction of the cost.
“Penta lasers combined with the DeraTech range of press brakes give our customer a quality range of machinery at competitive prices. With 40 years’ experience in the field, Punch Tooling knows your industry and will help you improve processes and overcome any problem.”
Punch Tooling represents Wilson Tools, ToolsPress, Haeger, Pem Fastners, Coastone, Penta Laser and DeraTech.
“We can supply the right machinery at the right price. Give us a call.”
The post Sheet metal fabrication that packs plenty of punch appeared first on NZ Engineering News.
BUSINESS CONSULTANTS ADVISE ENGINEERS ON CRITICAL COMPONENTS TO JOB SCHEDULING
Working smarter; that’s what it’s all about. NZ Engineer News has approached three of the most experienced business consultants working in the New Zealand engineering space to advise us on job scheduling for engineers. Here’s what they had to say:
IAN FEATHERSTONE, OWNER OF GLASS HALF FULL
I advise on the importance of accurate scheduling, using software. Most of the businesses in the engineering sector are adding value with time and materials. The service and profit risks from estimating and managing materials is reasonably straight forward, especially for those with an engineering mind.
Managing time and tasks is another matter altogether. We can all calculate or estimate the expected time a task or a group of tasks should take for a particular job, however it gets more complicated when the business grows to a size were multiple jobs are happening at the same time, with shared resources and limited available working hours. Add to this the constantly shifting timelines, job variations, non-workdays and inevitable rush jobs, the task of organising and matching the right people to the right job, with minimum downtime can, become overwhelming and time consuming.
I have found that people with a logical or engineering mindset can quickly understand and implement scheduling software to help them plan and manage people, tasks, capacity and most importantly make promises to customers that they can keep and minimise downtime so the business can maximise the amount of “billable hours” it can charge out to increase the bottom line.
If you are considering scheduling or time management software, then I recommend you look for a system that has a demonstrated track record of working effectively for the engineering sector where 100% of the clients using the software are engineers and other custom manufacturers, where by default the software has all the necessary functionality to cope with all the complexities that occur on factory floors. The latest scheduling softwares use tablets on the factory floor, where factory staff start and finish their jobs on their tablets which enables automatic updating of job status and live and accurate scheduling. The software needs to be easy to use, provide clear, simple information and reports to your people, is accessible from anywhere and capture budget to actual time data that can be used for payroll and job costing, thus giving you feedback to improve your processes. Some provide excellent reports from which you can give your team feedback to help them keep improving.
DAVID LAWRENCE, OWNER OF LEAN MANUFACTURING
I consult to over 140 engineers and other jobbing manufacturers throughout New Zealand and Australia on scheduling, shop floor productivity and lean manufacturing. I can say that the substantial majority of engineers still schedule manually using spreadsheets and do not schedule well at all.
My short hand advice to owners, production managers and management teams of engineering firms that I consult to is six fold;
1 Stop using spreadsheets to schedule work. Spreadsheets are very time consuming, job status must be assessed and recorded manually then entered by staff or management manually, and in most case sequencing of tasks and capacity of tasks is not considered so the forward work schedule is not accurate
2 Invest in tablets for your factory floor and labour management and scheduling software to track daily and weekly downtime and manufacturing time
3 Use only scheduling software that where jobs and tasks are updated live from factory floor tablets and where individual staff register task started and task finished in real time
4 Use only scheduling software developed solely for engineering and other custom one off manufacturing businesses
5 Four minimum requirements of scheduling software; task/process capacity reporting, Job list viewable on calender, drag and drop of Tasks and Jobs on the calender and Gantt charts
6 Factory floor Job and Task status is ideally viewed live on 50 inch TV monitors on the factory walls and office walls for all factory staff, administration staff and management to see continuously throughout the day
I use ‘Empower Factory Productivity and Scheduling Software’ developed here in Auckland, NZ
WARWICK RUSSELL, OWNER OF SMETRIC INSIGHTS
Smetric Insights helps make driving business performance easy. Our focus is on developing software and interfaces that enable custom reporting for Engineers, custom product Manufacturers and other businesses. We provide owners and management teams with tailored, high-quality reporting which includes accurate figures that provide greater visibility of work in progress, job and task requirements, scheduling, true manufacturing time and true labour costs.
I have also owned two engineering businesses with over 100 staff. So, I know and fully appreciate all of the challenges around scheduling to meet changes in customer demands with quantities, timing and variations. Then there are all the challenges to manage breakdowns, unexpected downtime and jobs taking longer than expected.
Historically, in an attempt to try and schedule jobs, the Engineers used manual job cards on planning boards and Excel spread sheets. These were all a bit of a nightmare with different versions of the truth, no good visibility across the shop on where things were at and the challenges of rescheduling the jobs manually on the board.
To work out job times and job costs, at the end of the working day, the Engineers used to have factory staff fill in manual job sheets with their job start time, job end time and job duration time that they “guessed”. We then had administration staff re-enter those job times into our job cost system. This was a poor system and poor reporting; times on jobs were recorded highly inaccurately, the information was too late for management to do anything with, not good for basing future quotations on and they did not make factory staff accountable to their job times.
Software such as Empower Factory Productivity & Scheduling is a game changer for engineers. By using touch screens or tablets on the workshop floor jobs, factory staff and time on jobs are tracked in real time and there is visibility across the entire business; where teams and individual factory staff are at, where jobs are at, where the capacity constraints are and what conversations are needed with clients on priorities ahead of time, not after a late delivery.
DATALOGIC ENHANCES ROBOT GUIDANCE AND TRACEABILITY
Datalogic, a leader in robotics, Industry 4.0, automatic data capture and process automation, is introducing its new Impact 12.2 software to further enhance the traceability and ease-of use of vision-guided robots and cobots used for a wide variety of pick, place and other vital production line tasks.
The new robot guidance and traceability software is available throughout the Asia-Pacific region, and incorporates a number of calibration and performance enhancements to make robot rogramming faster and simpler, as well as improve accuracy and traceability.
“With Datalogic’s ‘Impact’ 12.2 system, robots can now be deployed faster, and they are more adaptable to changing applications in dynamic industries such as warehousing, logistics, supply chain, manufacturing, automotive, healthcare, transport and OEM markets,” says Bradley Weber, product marketing manager – machine vision, Datalogic.
“The latest software has been thoroughly tested in conjunction with leading robotics company Universal Robots, and has been fully approved and UR+ certified to work their robots and cobots. UR+ certification means they have the full technical support and expertise of the Universal Robots team, as well as access to their highly customisable software,” says Mr Weber.
Collaborative robots, or ‘cobots’ work harmoniously with people in production and distribution operation such as pick-and-place and production lines. Often, the robot performs repetitive tasks requiring strength or precision, while the person guides the robot to the right place, provides a part for it to pick, or performs other tasks that complement the robots programming.
According to Universal Robots, “Cobots give manufacturers access to all the benefits of advanced robotic automation, without the extra costs associated with traditional robots: difficult programming, long set-up, and shielded work cells. This makes automation affordable even for small-batch production runs and mixed product assembly.”
Datalogic’s latest Impact software was designed with a focus on traceability and guidance, with upgrades to performance, ease of use and flexibility, to save time and improve productivity, says Mr Weber.
Performance enhancements are provided by the new system’s calibration software, which improves the capability of pick and place applications; the locating tool to improve positional accuracy; and OCR upgrades to assist with high speed traceability applications.
Ease of use features of the new software include an intuitive system, ease of set-up and simple integration with robots, processors and cameras.
Like previous software, Impact 12.2 runs on all Datalogic’s smart cameras and MX industrial Vision Processors. By utilising the same intuitive drag and drop environment across all hardware, users can set up the vision system in less time and share vision programs between Smart Cameras and Vision Processors. It also allows users to create custom user interfaces in minutes to monitor the line.
Flexibility is important to automated processes, and the latest software can solve many applications simultaneously – such as guidance, gauging, inspection and identification – as well as solving variations of the same application.
Datalogic’s Optical Character Recognition (OCR) can read characters in trickier locations or on harder to read surfaces, such as the side of a metal housing, the VIN number on the frame of a car or the date/lot code on a package. The tool can be set up to read characters of different fonts or text that is slanted, slightly blurred or displayed on a noisy background.
“Key customer advantages include swift and simple calibration, reducing learning and programming times and accurate robot guidance, all with full end-to-end traceability to ensure product quality and transparency,” says Mr Weber.
Datalogic’s latest Impact software platform integrates with more than 100 vision tools, and runs on all smart cameras and industrial vision processors for any vision application and inspection requirements.
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ALFA LAVAL – EFFICIENT SELF-PRIMING PUMPS FOR IMPROVED PERFORMANCE
Alfa Laval’s LKH Prime 40 is the latest new addition to the range. Not only does the hygienic, self-priming pump offer high energy efficiency and versatility, it also allows for significantly reduced noise levels and easy maintenance. In utilising the Alfa Laval LKH Prime 40, performance is greatly increased, including the ability to reach a flowrate up to 110 m3/hr and head of 115m.
Alfa Laval is a leading global provider of specialised products and engineering solutions based on its key technologies of heat transfer, separation and fluid handling.
The company’s equipment, systems and services are dedicated to assisting customers in optimising the performance of their processes. The solutions help them to heat, cool, separate and transport products in industries that produce food and beverages, chemicals and petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, starch, sugar and ethanol
Alfa Laval’s products are also used in power plants, aboard ships, oil and gas exploration, in the mechanical engineering industry, in the mining industry and for wastewater treatment, as well as for comfort climate and refrigeration applications.
IMPROVED ENERGY EFFICIENCY
Using the combination of advanced air-screw technology, optimized impeller and casing geometry, Alfa Laval LKH Prime exceeds industry expectations for efficient operation, reduced energy consumption and CO₂ footprint. Alfa Laval LKH Prime is engineered to meet the most stringent requirements of the hygienic industries. It is EHEDG certified and authorised to carry the 3-A symbol.
A HIGHLY VERSATILE SOLUTION
Characterised by reliability for improved operational productivity and designed for Cleaning-in-Place (CIP) duties containing entrained air, Alfa Laval LKH Prime can also pump product, potentially reducing the capital investment when designing process systems – whatever the industry.
SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCED NOISE LEVELS
Quiet in operation, Alfa Laval LKH Prime reduces sound pressure levels by 80% when compared to pumps using traditional pump technologies for CIP/entrained air applications. This noise reducing feature is a smart way to improve the working environment and plant safety for employees.
EASY TO MAINTAIN
The pump is easy and cost effective to service and maintain. By sharing common parts with the Alfa Laval LKH pump range, LKH prime offers low cost of ownership and increased uptime, backed up by the security that comes from Alfa Laval’s global service network.
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ADVANCED HIGH STRENGTH STEEL – DEMAND AMID RADICAL END-USER SHIFT
Global sales of advanced high strength steel have witnessed a significant surge, in line with growing preference of end-use industries for materials with favorable mechanical properties. The demand for advanced high strength steel is likely to surpass 13,800 KT in 2019, registering an upswing from 2018, says research study into the high strength steel market.
IInterest in enhancing fuel economy and vehicular safety continues to grow across both developed and developing economies, creating sustained opportunities for manufacturers of advanced high strength steel. The report opines that growing demand for advanced high strength steel has translated into a massive influx of innovative and new products, well aligned with end-user interest vis-à-vis high strength and optimal performance.
“End-user’s inclination toward advanced materials offering durability, while retaining formability critical to the manufacturing procedures, remains palpable in the market space. Manufacturers, in a bid to solidify their market sustenance, are developing distinguishable products offering optimal scalability and longevity, albeit repeated use,” says report.
According to the report, end-user preference for dual phase advanced high strength steel (AHSS) continues to remain intact, with global sales likely to exceed 10,300 KT in 2019. Dual phase advanced high strength steel, otherwise known as ‘DP-AHSS’, offers immense scope for developing lighter and thinner components without compromising on strength, which is one among the chief factors boosting its adoption across multiple end-use verticals. Martensitic advanced high strength steel is also estimated to join the trail in terms of demand in 2019 and beyond, as end-users continue to demonstrate marked preferences for steel solutions offering robust mechanical strength.
The analysis finds that AHSS variants with moderate tensile strength will continue to remain preferred, on account of high use across a range of applications. This report opines that AHSS with ‘600-900 MPa’ tensile strength will remain the top-selling variant, with global sales estimated to exceed 7,000 KT in 2019.
The study says that advanced high strength steel will witness extensive adoption in development of structural details. Advanced high strength steel is widely used for crafting structural details and reinforcements as they offer immense scope for weight optimization and freedom of design. This, in turn, makes it a lucrative application target for the manufacturers in terms of profitability. Moreover, use of advanced high strength steel in manufacturing car seats is also gaining substantial traction, as car seat components are subject to strict safety standards.
As per report’s analysis, Europe remains a highly profitable region for the manufacturers of advanced high strength steel. Demand for advanced high strength steel remains high in Europe, notably in the EU 5 countries, where the automakers are striving to reduce weight of vehicles in a bid to meet futuristic regulations vis-à-vis tailpipe emissions. The report unveils that Europe will continue to be the largest market for advanced high strength steel in 2019, with North America following suit.
Offering products with excellent strength and high computability with end-use applications remains a key focal point for manufacturers of advanced high strength steel. Realising the competition level in the global market space, manufacturers are vying to be well-positioned to capitalise on the evolving market trends. Manufacturers of advanced high strength steel are analysing the short- and long-term consequences of incorporating new designs in a bid to constantly push their performance boundaries via launch of new products.
The report delivers actionable insights into the advanced high strength steel market over the forecast period of 2018-2027. It indicates that advanced high strength steel market is likely to expand at a volume CAGR of over 10% through 2027.
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Kiwi robotics company continues expansion
Top tech investors support global expansion of the world’s first non-magnetic, climbing inspection robot for hazardous environments
A New Zealand-developed climbing inspection robot that caught the attention of top US investors, with its ability to help keep workers safe in hazardous environments, is continuing its global march.
Invert Robotics announced in May that it has secured a US$8.8 million round of funding led by Finistere Ventures, an agtech/foodtech venture pioneer, with support from Yamaha Motor Ventures & Laboratory Silicon Valley (YMVSV), the corporate venture capital business of Yamaha Motor Co. Ltd.
Existing investors, such as Allan Moss, Inception Asset Management and the New Zealand Venture Investment Fund, also participated in the capital raise.
Using the strategic investment to scale its team, open a US office and expand its technology platform and industry-specific solutions, Invert Robotics aims to increase the global footprint of its climbing robot – the first specifically designed to inspect the integrity and safety of non-magnetic, hazardous environments.
“The immediate value of Invert Robotics across the global food supply chain – from ensuring food and beverages are stored and transported in safe, pathogen-free environments, to avoiding catastrophic failures in agrichemical-industry containers and plants – is undeniably impressive,” says Arama Kukutai, co-founder and partner, Finistere Ventures.
“However, we see the potential applications as almost limitless. With Invert Robotics, companies across a variety of industries will be able to deploy climbing robots to make asset inspection easier and more effective to avoid life-threatening situations for their workers, their communities and their consumers.”
Invert Robotics offers precise, remote inspection of non-magnetic surfaces such as stainless steel, carbon fiber, aluminum and glass. Its climbing robot is already being used by key players in the global aviation market, alongside major Australian and New Zealand dairy companies and co-operatives such as Fonterra, Synlait and Murray Goldburn.
The global chemical industry represents another market where Invert Robotics’ technology is helping to keep workers safe while undertaking critical equipment inspections.
“Our climbing robots go where other robots cannot and people should not,” says Invert Robotics managing director Neil Fletcher.
“We give our customers an easier, safer and faster way to inspect the safety and integrity of the most hazardous and toxic environments. Industrial accidents in the chemical industry can be costly and sometimes even deadly, but they are often preventable. Remote inspection solutions that take into account chemical corrosion and high-pressure processing scenarios can help chemical companies improve worker safety, optimise maintenance and avoid future tragedies.”
The Invert Robotics climbing robots can securely adhere to surfaces that other robots cannot and go into confined, treacherous spaces that would put workers’ lives at risk. Going beyond visual inspections, the company’s robots can perform in-depth scans using surface-wave detection and ultrasonic probes to measure wall thickness, assess structural integrity and find defects on any surface.
“As part of Yamaha’s long-term vision supporting the development of advanced robots to improve workplace efficiency and safety, Invert Robotics’ technology and its value proposition made a positive impression on our investment committee,” adds Craig Boshier, Partner and General Manager for Yamaha Motor Ventures in Australia and New Zealand.
Wheel reinvented: automated/electric vehicles to benefit
Israeli start-up company Ree has unveiled and made claims of what it describes as a revolutionary flat and modular platform which fundamentally changes the way electric vehicles are built to power widespread vehicle electrification. By integrating all of the components formerly found under the hood of the car into the wheel, Ree says it offers optimal freedom of design, multiple body configurations on a single platform, reduced vehicle size and weight, and increased energy and operational efficiency.
The skeptics are plentiful, but the company says that its unique approach strategically places the motor, steering, suspension, drivetrain, sensing, brakes, thermal systems and electronics into the wheel, creating a truly flat platform. This design provides a low centre of gravity to maximise efficiency and supports the vehicle’s agility and stability. Ree’s innovation drastically reduces a vehicle’s footprint, weight, and improves both energy efficiency and performance – aspects crucial to the electric and autonomous vehicle revolution.
Rees platform provides automakers, mobility providers and delivery companies a tailor-made solution. Based on a novel quad-motor system, and including active height-levelling suspension, steer-by-wire and a smart quad-gear box, Ree’s technology provides the basis of any type of vehicle from a high-performance car able to do 0-60 mph in less than 3 seconds to an off-road SUV with advanced active suspension technology. The platform can also be used as the base of a robotaxi or even a 10-ton cross country truck.
“The concepts of the past are limited and restrict the ability of the automotive industry to realize the electric and autonomous reality they are striving for. Until now, the industry has operated by making incremental improvements on the traditional design of the automotive vehicle. At Ree, we believe that in order to hasten the automotive revolution we need to reinvent the wheel – quite literally,” says Daniel Barel, co-founder and ceo of Ree.
The adaptation of Ree’s universal framework will replace multiple platforms for OEMs resulting in substantial savings. The design and validation of each platform traditionally costs manufacturers billions. By enabling them to utilise one platform for all of their vehicles, costs will be slashed, while performance, safety, comfort and energy efficiency will all be drastically improved.
Ree says it is already collaborating with leading OEMs as well as Tier-1 and Tier-2 automotive companies including Mitsubishi Corporation, Musashi Seimitsu Industry, Tenneco, American Axle, FCA and NSK among others.
In a release, Ree says Mitsubishi Corporation commented, “We can see Ree’s technology has huge potential in the autonomous driving world, as it makes the electrification process highly efficient with its new modular platform.”
Watch this space.
The post Wheel reinvented: automated/electric vehicles to benefit appeared first on NZ Engineering News.
Students from TU Delft and VU Amsterdam present recumbent bike they hope will go faster than 121.8 km/h
On Saturday 27 July the Human Power Team, a student team from TU Delft and VU Amsterdam, presented their latest aerodynamic bike at the Dutch National Military Museum in Soesterberg. The team hope that this recumbent bike, named the VeloX 9, will break the world speed record for cycling – which currently stands at 121.8 km/h – in the Nevada desert in the USA.
A real eye-catcher
The National Military Museum offered a part of its site for the students to try out the VeloX 9 between the military aircraft on display. This test run of the super-fast recumbent bike was a real eye-catcher among the museum’s visitors. “Never before have we cycled for such as big audience as today”, said Britt Krabbenborg, team manager of the Human Power Team.
Women’s world record
The aim of the Human Power Team is to unite man and machine in order to demonstrate what can be achieved using human power. They do this by producing a bicycle every year to take part in the World Human Powered Speed Challenge in Nevada, USA. Here the Human Power Team competes against other teams to achieve the highest possible speeds on a bicycle in the women’s category. Last year the team took the first and second place. This year the students want to win in their category and also claim the world record for the Netherlands. Taking up the challenge are students Rosa Bas from Utrecht and Jennifer Breet from Amsterdam. The current world record stands at 121.8 km/h and is held by Frenchwoman Barbara Buatois.
The presentation at the National Military Museum showed that the athletes can make a stable start, and in other test runs in the Netherlands the recumbent bike has already achieved speeds over 70 km/h. Krabbenborg: “With an eye to the world record, this is a promising start. During these tests we only had two kilometres of tarmac to race on, which is quite short. During the world record attempt in America there is a straight run of eight kilometres, which gives you more time to accelerate to top speed. Besides this, the record attempt in America is held at an altitude of 1400 metres, so the lower air pressure there means the VeloX experiences less air resistance than in the Netherlands.”
“At high speeds our greatest enemy is air resistance. Which is why the shape of the aerodynamic shell of our bike is such an important factor in reaching our top speed”, explains Bart van de Krol, the team’s Aerodynamics Engineer and a student of aerospace engineering. “We have designed the shape as closely as possible around the bodies of our athletes to keep the bike as small and streamlined as possible.” In addition, the VeloX is made of lightweight materials and uses a new gear system in which the sprockets move instead of the chain. This means the chain maintains a straight line and so experiences less friction than in a standard bike. Moreover, this year the VeloX has been fitted with tyres designed specially for the team, to endure the lowest possible rolling resistance.
100% human power
The Human Power Team consists of 16 students who have all put their studies on hold for a year to work on the project. Besides producing a high-tech bike, it is important that the athletes themselves undergo the best possible preparation for the world record challenge. An endurance, power and high-intensity training programme will ensure that they are in top form at the start of the race in September. Right now the athletes are focusing on training on the VeloX 9 to get them accustomed to the new recumbent. In this way the team is doing all it can to claim the world title for the Netherlands.
Gallagher takes out big award
The Gallagher Water Flow Indicator took out the Fieldays International Innovation Award at the International Business Networker on day two of Fieldays 2019.
Inspired by pure frustration, Murray Tones was sick of forever going around his farm looking for water leaks and was told by his wife that he’d talked about it enough and it was time to get on and do it.
The process for creating the Water Flow Indicator took about six or seven years and went through three or four different protypes until Murray was ready to take it to the next step. Equipped with his prototype secured in a box, Murray went to Gallagher to pitch his idea and come up with a plan.
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