Thursday, January 26, 2012

Laser Scoring in Nano Manufacturing of Graphene Coated Products

The other day, I was reading in one of the science journals and it turns out that some researchers have discovered that the one-dimensional carbon sheets known as graphene have self-healing properties. In other words, when you put a hole in one of the sheets, the atoms reattach themselves wherever they can almost immediately, to remake that one-dimensional, one atom thick molecular structure. Hey, that's a pretty nice trick isn't it? And since the graphene can do that, it automatically makes a great deal of sense for various coating applications. Okay so let's talk about this for second shall we?

Just because the atoms work to repair themselves and maintain that molecular structure, doesn't mean that it will always be good for us unless we can control this process in the nano manufacturing of the material. It seems to me that we could use a laser scoring strategy to cut the grafting very slowly, and allow it to reattach, shaving off precision amounts as we move across the sheet. In doing this it would tighten down like a zipper each time, holding in whatever was behind the sheet in a tighter and tighter sequence, therefore giving it structural strength, kind of like shrink-wrapping, but on a nano scale.

Do we have to use a laser to do this? No actually we can also use the same enzymes found in human blood, which will help dissolve the carbon and perhaps we could put these enzymes through a tube kind of like a carbon nanotube injector or cutting tool, only it wouldn't be made of carbon nanotubes, some other element that forms into a similar to structure in a stable molecular form. This would also suffice. Of course, it depends on what you're working with. If the material behind the graphene coating could be damaged by the laser, then you couldn't use the laser, you'd have to use something else.

Whatever you use would have to be something of intense precision, working under some sort of an electron microscope using an artificial intelligent algorithm to ensure that the laser stayed on the same line as it cut across to the carbon bonds between the atoms, therefore it could cut the exact dimensions necessary and tighten the graphene sheet one molecule spacing at a time. Do you see my point? If we can do this, providing we can create graphing sheets, which I believe we will be able to do in the future, then such a strategy could work.

This would mean we could use this material for just about anything, and it would be in outer shell of superior strength, and a coating which would always be self-healing both before, after, and even during the manufacturing process. Wow. Indeed, I hope you will please consider all this and think on.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

How to Choose The Right Access Platform For Your Job

There is a definitive need to use the right access platforms for any particular job and it depends on the nature of the work. The purpose of a proper platform is typical for mechanics that need to remove the engine of a vehicle. A machine used to remove the engine of a vehicle is called a cherry picker. There are also many other uses that can benefit from the use of this machine. If you are in need of a cherry picker, knowledge is needed to select one to meet the needs of the job.

A cherry picker is a type of boom lift or a type of Mobile Elevated Work Platform of machine. This is a piece of powered access equipment and is used to allow access to hard to reach areas. The model used for your job depends on the size of the project and what you need to access. You can also find machines that are manually operated.

The size of the machine is dependent end on how it is operated. Most cherry pickers are a type of crane that may have a basket and a platform for the machine operator. A small machine may be used that will have only a frame and a chain to lift and hold an object while work is completed. The crane that is on a cherry picker can be telescopic, articulated or lift straight up.

The operator can use a cherry picker at many different locations. The location of the job or a work area should be known before buying or renting the use of a picker. A machine that will be used inside a building may need to be small to fit through doorways and be manoeuvrable. Machines needed inside of a building will typically be powered by electricity unless a manual model is used. A larger model for an outside job may be powered by a diesel engine.

The type of job is also a factor when deciding on various access platforms that are available. Finding a specific model is important as there are many varieties that are on the market. You will need to match a cherry picker based on its size and the work area for the machine. There are other factors that you need to consider such as the type of lifting action, the reach of the crane, and its manoeuvrability.

These machines are available for many types of jobs. You can find a cherry picker to hire online or at your local home improvement centre. However, larger jobs may require finding a vendor that can rent or sell a cherry picker that will meet specific job requirements. Speak with a sales consultant or expert to gain the knowledge to make a decision to rent or buy.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Simple Home Financing Advice For The Borrower

There is a lot of home financing advice available today and with banks being more cautious about lending, it can be very beneficial to heed much of it. A borrower can avoid some of the headaches with getting a mortgage by heeding some of these tips.

Preapproval for a loan can shorten the lending process. Many mortgage lenders will review all of the home shopper's financial information even before he has decided to make a bid on a house. The lender can even help the potential buyer determine what his price range should be. Before you start shopping for your new home, talk with potential lenders in order to determine the options that you have available, and then start the pre-approval process so that things move quickly once you find the home that you want to buy.

Nearly all mortgage lenders will examine a person's debt-to-income ratio prior to lending a potential borrower any money. To know how much an individual will qualify for, he needs to understand his debt-to-income ratio. A person's monthly mortgage payment, including principal, interest and taxes, should not exceed 28 percent of his monthly income. His overall debt payments, including student loans, credit cards and medical bills, should not exceed 36 percent of his total monthly income.

Even though it can be exciting to shop for furniture and appliances, these major purchases will show up as increased debt on the potential buyer's credit report. A lender may run a last minute credit report prior to the closing date. It is important to avoid any purchases that could change the debt-to-income ratio or cause worry. Once the home purchase has gone through and the financing is taken care of, then you can start shopping for the furniture and appliances that you need for your new home. Also, keep in mind that you don't have to buy everything right away, you can slowly furnish your home as the money is available.

Prior to the closing date, it is also recommended that the potential buyer not make any sudden changes in career. Fluctuations in income can worry the bank and the seller, so that the buyer could lose the house. He should wait to change jobs until after all of the paperwork is signed. Even then, it is a good idea to make sure that he can still afford the home if he decides to make a switch.

Shop around for the best rate. The buyer's primary bank may not be the one that is best suited for his mortgage, so looking around for other options may provide alternatives that offer cheaper financing. A lower interest rate means a lower monthly payment or being able to afford a higher loan. The individual should go to several different banks and get quotes.

Understanding debt-to-income ratio, getting pre-approval for a loan, shopping around for the best rate and not making drastic moves that will alter your credit score is home financing advice to those seeking to obtain a mortgage. Each of these will help greatly with the process. It could also help put an individual in the home of his dreams.

Monday, January 9, 2012

TuffTrak(R) Portable Roadway, the Ideal Heavy Duty Road Mat

What is TuffTrak®

TuffTrak® is an effective portable roadway system designed in the UK and manufactured in Europe. The heavy duty road mat is used by a wide range of industries all over the world and provides access for plant machinery and vehicles. The matting is easier than ever to put together, making it ideal for outdoor events and construction projects.

TuffTrak® is manufactured from high density polyethylene, meaning it can provide an effective roadway for vehicles of up to 150 tonnes. Mining and utility industries and military sites use TuffTrak®as workpads. The roadway is also used by a wide range of other companies, including construction, transmission, civil engineering and infrastructure maintenance projects.

By using TuffTrak®, your grounds will be fully protected against severe tracking, rutting and environmental damage. The raised traction surface has been designed to prevent all cars, trucks and machinery from slipping on uneven ground.

The portable roadway is created using a unique moulding process for a high level of integral strength. The strong design means that the road mat is not liable to theft and can be kept in wet areas for long periods of time without the risk of degradation - unlike other wooden mats, TuffTrak® will also not increase in weight when wet.

TuffTrak® is perfect for those working with power lines as it does not conduct electricity. The matting is also chemically inert, so it exhibits excellent resistance to a wide range of acids, alkalis and solvents.

TuffTrak® Features

Well established suppliers and manufacturers of ground reinforcement solutions offer a detailed brochure containing more information on
TuffTrak® matting. The matting's many unique features include:

• Compared to many other metal matting systems, TuffTrak® is surprisingly light in weight, so it is not liable to theft and is really easy to install.

• TuffTrak® is safe for the environment as it is recyclable and created with 100% recycled polyethylene.

• The solid, core design does not absorb water, so it to be used in all weather conditions.

• Full instructions on how to install TuffTrak® roadways are provided with every order. Quick fit bolts and connecting plates or straps make TuffTrak® one of the easiest heavy duty mats to install.

Other Heavy Duty Road Mats

EuroMat® can be used as a temporary access mat for vehicles and pedestrians. Like TuffTrak®, EuroMat® is easy to install with a fast fit connection system.

EuroMat® is perfect for outdoor evening events as it comes complete with reflective markings for safety in the dark. Cat's eye light systems can also be used to provide extra safety for vehicles.

GeoGrid® is a cellular paving system ideal for providing ground access, roadways and trackways. When filled with aggregate, soil or grass it offers a high quality, temporary parking area or pathway.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Five Important Steps to Avoid Troublesome and Costly Fire Code Violations

Today's building owners and facility managers are facing tough challenges in the aftermath of 9/11. One of those challenges is dealing with unexpected or unplanned visits from state and local building inspectors on the prowl for fire code violations.

It's true that building inspectors have become stricter than before, "tagging" buildings for the smallest of reasons, especially when it comes to fire codes. More and more, they are challenging maintenance teams and failing buildings for fire code violations that used to pass muster before. And you know what that could mean -- Steep fines and/or costly retrofits that must be completed quickly - sometimes required within ten days!

If you own or manage a commercial building, chances are you have passive fire protection systems in place, such as spray applied fireproofing, firestopping, intumescent coatings, and fire-rated walls and doors. Unlike active fire protection, which is designed to detect and suppress fires and only kick on once a fire has started (think sprinkler systems and extinguishers), passive fire protection is always at work, helping to prevent the spread of fire.

Passive fire protection is a key element in the overall performance of a building, and routine maintenance of these products through testing and inspection will keep them in tip-top shape. Here are the steps you should take to test and inspect your passive fire protections systems in order to avoid fire code violations and the fines associated with them-as well as keep your building performing in actual building fire conditions.

1. Know where all the passive fire protection systems are located in the building. This is as easy as reviewing the construction documents-including any life-safety drawings-for the building. These drawings indicate where fire-rated components are located.

2. Identify all areas throughout the building/structure that have undergone a renovation or upgrade since the previous inspection. Commercial structures undergo renovations and upgrades related to tenant change, as well as use and occupancy change. As a result, partitions and walls may be removed, electrical wiring re-directed, mechanical equipment removed/replaced, and roof systems changed. When these types of renovations/upgrades occur, passive fire protections systems are susceptible to damage and/or failure.

3. Visually inspect the aforementioned areas and note all passive fire protection deficiencies, such as material that has been removed, is damaged, missing or falling off. Also check thickness and adhesion/cohesion characteristics to make sure they meet current guidelines. Keeping in line with National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and International Code Council (ICC) code requirements will ensure you're in compliance.

4. Reach out to professionals if you find deficiencies. If any products or systems are damaged, missing, falling off, or don't meet thickness guidelines, reach out to professionals for help. Consulting with a fire-protection engineer or installer will set you on the right path toward compliance. An installer, especially, will help you repair or replace the deficiencies.

5. Know what's going on in your building at all times. Keep your eyes open for any changes in your passive fire protection systems as a result of renovations or upgrades. Implementing a plan for periodic inspection and maintenance, to include walk-throughs and visual inspections, will help you keep on top of things-not to mention save your hide should a pop-up inspection catch you by surprise.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Building Material Retailers Can Add Value for the Contractor by Adapting Common Internal Processes

Competition has become fierce within the building industry because of the current housing situation. Contractors are now more reliant on price than ever, to secure jobs against peers in the industry and compete with the current foreclosure inventory that saturates the market. Contractors, like building material retailers (BMRs), are searching for ways to reduce costs, uncover core competencies to improve margins and sale services over competitors. Therefore, the new focus for BMRs is how managers and executive staff can evaluate and improve internal processes to aid contractors in achieving these goals and to create a win/win situation. Darrin Gilliam, CEO of Marvin's Building Materials & Home Centers acknowledges, "Making our customers' lives easier is the base of our business, and we make that happen in everything that we do"(Shutt, 2012, p. 22). A process that many in the lumber industry overlook for critique is the steps in use to assemble a lumber order for shipment to the jobsite. How can management approach this process to save the contractor time and money, add value and grow relationships? BMRs will need to gather information, assess the current process, and change the process to incorporate the needs of the contractor.

The building material industry requires a personal attention approach for service. Close relationships with customers are essential in maintaining current and future business. Jacobs, Chase, & Aquilano (2009) recognize, "the customer is (or should be) the focal point of all decisions and actions of the service organization" (p. 256). Sales personnel build the most rapport with contractors by working on a close one on one platform during projects. Thus, the communication channel already exists to gather information on customer preference. Managers and executive staff can utilize feedback from the sales force on customer expectations, and, from this information, incorporate an uncompromised reduction approach to redesign the order building process. The uncompromised reduction approach "uses knowledge of the customer to develop procedures that enable good service, while minimizing impact on the service delivery system" (Jacobs, Chase, & Aquilano, 2009, p. 269).

Generally, yard personnel assemble lumber packages out of habit and experience, yet without any knowledge about the sequence in which the customer will be using the material. Utilizing uncompromised reduction will gain managers the perspective to map an alternate process and train workers to assemble the components of a framing package in a way that will minimize the contractor's labor and time to unpack it. The time and money the contractor saves will equate to an increase in the perceived consumer value for the BMR, grow customer relationships, and create a competitive advantage.

Contractors build houses from the ground up, so assembling the components of a framing order should be in the opposite manner. Hence, adding a service blueprint for conducting this process to ensure consistency for every order, and seeking to add value where it is the most visible to the customer. For example, packaging the roof material first to queue this phase at the bottom of the stack in a bundle. Next, assembling wall material to queue in the middle of the package, and, finally, bundling the floor system last including the sill plate on the top of the order. Amassing material in this array enables the contractor to save direct labor costs on the job by not having to pay workers to sort through a random stack of product to find the material in need to assemble any phase of the project, thus neutralizing a bottleneck for the customer. Simply, changing the sequence of activities in the process can add value for the customer without sacrificing any efficiency within the process. However, obtaining customer input can allow managers to tailor this method to coincide with each individual customer's method of construction. Moreover, cost analysis permits managers to calculate whether further customization of the process at the individual customer level is beneficial to the organization, e.g. is further customization to achieve extra value worth incurring additional costs?

This is one example of many processes within BMRs that managers and executive committee members can break down and alter to add value for the customer. The framing stage of the construction is one of the most critical, "The quicker this phase is completed, the fewer weather-related delays you'll experience while finishing the interior of the house" (, 2012, para. 8). Any minor changes that can save time within this stage of construction can mean a significant favorable variance in the construction budget. Conversely, any delays or wasting time during this phase can cost the contractor and the homeowner time and money. Time is of the essence in construction because the labor is hourly, and the bank will not carry a construction loan on the books for a significant amount of time without converting the loan to a mortgage. Moreover, the bank will not convert the construction loan to a mortgage without a written document of completion by the contractor, and an appraisal of the final product. This part of the construction process is a vicious cycle. Therefore, it is essential for BMRs to manipulate internal processes to assist the contractor in working more effectively and efficiently. The outcome will include close mutually beneficial relationships to ensure future business, increase profits for the contractor and the BMR, add value for the customer, and each will enjoy new and useful competitive advantages.