Stafford, VA óThe Department of Defense is looking for ways to improve operations. They recently found better ways of cleaning and crushing containment drums with the help of the Baum and Romstedt Technology Research Corp (BRTRC).
For the U.S. Navy Command, Dan Simons, a mechanical engineer and the director of BRTRC's research center, took into consideration that the drums might range in size from five to 55 gallons and contain hazardous chemicals.
One of the thirteen methods BRTRC recommended for cleaning drums involves using ultrasonic cavitation for removing rust and scale.
Simons identified 8,000 physical effects related to the project and narrowed his list to 31 that seemed especially pertinent. He then used these key words in a search of the patent offices in the U. S., United Kingdom, Japan, Ireland, and Europe. The searches turned up 80,000 patents.
"We estimate that 80,000 patents would stack up to a height of 27 feet, eleven inches high if each patent were contained on a single piece of paper," he says. "It would have taken forever to read through all of those patents."
Instead of reading all the patents, Simons applied a semantic text processor call Knowledgist from Invention Machine Corp. (Boston, MA) that automatically reads the downloaded patent text and organizes it into folders categorized by function and physical effects.
"It took five members of the BRTRC technology research team a total of 84 hours over three days to discover 13 solutions for cleaning the drums and 18 solutions for crushing drums," says Simons. The DOD is evaluating the solutions provided by BRTRC.