Southport, England--Robert Rix, founder of Gorix Ltd., has invented a fabric he hopes will replace the wires of traditional seat-heating systems by serving as the heat source itself. The nonthermostatic fabric adjusts its energy needs based on the thermal load it receives. The colder a person's body, the more heat the system puts out. Moreover, the heat is distributed evenly over the entire surface of the fabric--each fiber of each thread acts as a conductor.
Rix's system starts with a "synthetic, carbonized, polymer-based material" he cooks in a special oven until it becomes pure carbon. To give the fabric its electro-conductive properties requires enhanced spinning and weaving. A 10% imbalance between the warp and the weft of the weave amounts to only a slight difference in textile terms, but it results in a 50% difference in electrical properties. This allows Rix to orient the material to suit the end-product. Most important, it gives seat makers unlimited set resistance values and space considerations, he claims.
In a car seat, a wire carries current through creases and corners that normally exist in the foam. A copper bus bar at the edges of the fabric then carries the current to the electro-conductive fabric. This, in turn, is laminated to the back of the face fabric, leather, or vinyl seat surface. The system enables the entire seat to act as a heater, but distributes the heat in a uniform thermal pattern only to the area where the occupant sits. Wire heaters, on the other hand, concentrate their heat only around the wires.
The system is now under evaluation "by a leading U.S. automaker," Rix confirms, with full prduction in one and a half years.
Truchard will be presented the award at the 2014 Golden Mousetrap Awards ceremony during the co-located events Pacific Design & Manufacturing, MD&M West, WestPack, PLASTEC West, Electronics West, ATX West, and AeroCon.
In a bid to boost the viability of lithium-based electric car batteries, a team at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has developed a chemistry that could possibly double an EV’s driving range while cutting its battery cost in half.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.