AFrench company has introduced a new system to control the cracking of road surfaces. Called Prefis, and built by S2C INDUSTRIE of Angers, the system consists of an arm that makes transverse furrows at fixed intervals in the gravel substrate. At the same time, it injects a bitumen emulsion binder into the furrow. The transverse "precracks" prevent cracks from propagating upward out of the roadbed and into the road surface. The hydraulically controlled arm comes with a vibrating tool and spray nozzle mounted at the front of the system's tractor. The system's hydraulics, binder reservoir, compressor, and generator mount on the rear of the carrier. All are controlled from the driver's seat via a programmable logic controller. Prefis can produce furrows up to 5m (16.4 ft) in width and 32 cm (12.6 inches) in depth. At the rate of one furrow per 10 ft, it can deliver two joints per minute, equal to about 1,200 ft per hr. The French civil engineering research center (LCPC), developed the system. FAX +33 2 41 43 81 23.
Two researchers from Cornell University have won a $100,000 grant from NASA to continue work to develop an energy-harvesting robotic eel the space agency aims to use to explore oceans on one of the moons of Jupiter.
Is the factory smarter than it used to be? From recent buzzwords, you’d think we’ve entered a new dimension in industrial plants, where robots run all physical functions wirelessly and humans do little more than program ever more capable robotics. Some of that is actually true, but it’s been true for a while.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.