- Published on Monday, 27 July 2015 10:29
- Written by Kate Kunkel
While the science fiction image of robots conjures up visions of humanoid-like machines with arms, legs and a head, the reality is that most robots have no resemblance at all to humans. Generally they are basically an arm of some kind, and in the past they were most often employed to do repetitive or dangerous jobs such as welding or materials handling, as well as being used for bottling and packaging functions.
However, advances in robotics and computing have made it possible for them to do much more complex tasks, including picking and packing, testing or inspecting products or even assembling electronics. The latest generations are even able to take on what were traditionally considered traits available only to humans, like dexterity, trainability, dexterity, memory and object recognition. Certain drones also are often considered a type of robot that can be used to inspect equipment deep inside hard-to-reach power plant boilers or to scan refineries from above to check for emissions.
- Published on Wednesday, 15 July 2015 12:13
- Written by Mark Freeman
Graphite has qualities that make it a great choice for certain applications in the manufacturing world. Those qualities include its reaction to extreme temperatures, as well as its flexibility when engineered a certain way.
In the valve world, flexible graphite provides an ideal choice for many sealing products.
The History of Graphite
The stories about graphite go back to about 1500 when an enormous deposit of graphite was discovered in the Borrowdale Parish in England. One of its first uses was as a refractory material to line molds for cannon balls, which resulted in rounder, smoother ammunition that could be fired further. This better way of making the balls contributed to the growing superiority of the English Navy back then.
- Published on Monday, 06 July 2015 14:28
- Written by Mark Madsen
Experienced engineers know that not all supplier CAD tools or files are created equal. When applying pneumatic automation components (cylinders, valve manifolds, FRLs, etc.) to a product or system design, it pays to consider some defining details of a web-based CAD tool.
Does the site use neutral or true native file formats? Individual or assembled files? Part numbers or attributes? And does it offer advanced ease-of-use features? How about helpful error avoidance techniques?
New tools that get these decisive details right can save critical development time, make the design experience significantly easier and deliver higher-quality results.
- Published on Monday, 22 June 2015 12:38
- Written by Kate Kunkel
CFD is used in early field issue resolution where a small section of geometry is modeled in order to test a hypothesis such as low-pressure zones around corners, minimum temperatures, impingement angles for wear studies, etc. With the advancement in CFD mathematical models and the increase in speed and capacity of desktop workstations, it has become possible to use the full mathematical modeling capability of modern commercially available CFD codes, producing full three-dimensional flow regimes and flow results.
This presentation focused on seven areas in which CFD has been used in a non-traditional way.
- Published on Tuesday, 16 June 2015 10:33
- Written by Kate Kunkel
One of the biggest objections to hydraulic fracturing centers around the fact that huge amounts of water are needed for the process. In fact, each well requires 60,000 to 100,000 barrels of water; it is the base fluid and biggest component of hydraulic fracturing. The problem is that agricultural, industrial and domestic users are vying for the same fresh water that producers need. Additionally, the flow-back and produced water coming out of the wells is contaminated so it cannot be simply returned to lakes and streams or aquifers and must be sent to disposal wells unless it is properly treated.
While they are both produced as a result of hydraulic fracturing, flow-back and produced water are quite different. Flow-back is a water-based solution that flows back to the surface during and after the completion of hydraulic fracturing. This fluid can contain clays, chemical additives, dissolved metal ions and total dissolved solids (TDS) and has a murky appearance from high levels of suspended particles. Most of the flow-back occurs in the first seven to 10 days of fracturing, but it can continue to flow for weeks and can be up to 20 to 40% of the volume that is initially injected into the well. Contrast this with produced water, which is naturally occurring water found in shale formations. It flows to the surface throughout the entire lifespan of the well and has high levels of TDS. It also leaches out minerals from the shale and contains dissolved hydrocarbons such as methane, ethane and propane along with naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM) such as radium isotopes.