Letters to the Editor 4-20-98

April 20, 1998

5 Min Read
Letters to the Editor 4-20-98

April 20, 1998 Design News

Letters to the Editor

Readers state their views


An eager competitor

Regarding "Buy metric," (Design News, 3/2/98 Letters)?I like to compete against anyone who is willing to build additional cost into a product or to eliminate from consideration what may be the highest-quality component simply because it isn't specified in his particular choice of units.

I hope (the writer) also restricts himself to dealing with ISO-certified firms.

George Dubovsky


A plug for diesels

Regarding "Diesels Unacceptable," (Design News, 3/2/98 Letters):

This nation moves much of its produce and material by truck and rail using diesel engines. In addition, RV'ers use diesel powered vehicles. Every large motor home is powered by a diesel engine. The large majority of tow vehicles for 5th wheel RV trailers are powered by diesel engines. The simple reason is that you get substantially more horsepower and torque, and up to twice the fuel mileage using a diesel than with gasoline engines.

As far as battery or solar powered vehicles go, they are primarily designed for commuter travel and not over-the-road, long-haul trips. I don't think that the vast majority of the motoring public would consider buying such vehicles, mostly from the cost standpoint and recharging problems (sites). The American driver wants good fuel economy, performance, horsepower, and speed. That is why they buy what they do.

I would not object to tax dollars being used for developing a better diesel engine that is even more fuel efficient, powerful, and less polluting. Today, I think that the Ford Motor Co. and International Harvester are doing just that.

James Hofbauer
The Boeing Company
Huntington Beach, CA


More information

I read with interest your article "Micro-wave technique takes telemetry to new heights," (Design News, 3/2/98 issue).

There are two very important problems when taking data from a rapidly turning shaft such as the torque converter you described: (1) Getting power to the rotating member and (2) getting the information back.

You did not say how the circuitry on the torque converter was powered. Was it a battery? If so, how large, how heavy, and how long would it last? There is a new technique for handling these problems which is used in the Torque and Horsepower measuring instruments described at www.torque-and-power.com.

Thank you for the interesting article.

Clyde L. Ruthroff
e-mail at: [email protected]


Losses and gains

I just finished reading the excellent article on the way Cannondale shaved a pound off of their bike frame ("Skin and bones, but plenty tough", Design News, 3/2/98). The only comment I had was some pictures on the internet would have added to the enjoyment of the article.

Roy Voss


Inventions wanted

Regarding the news story, "Program seeks to puncture use of compressed air" (Design News, 3/2/98), the goals of the compressed air challenge should be expanded to include regenerative energy recovery in any application where this is theoretically possible.

Consider: Every working day, millions of vehicles around the country are raised five feet or more for oil changes or maintenance and repair by powered lifts, a significant percentage of which are air powered. A vehicle elevated five feet above ground has many thousands of foot pounds of potential energy, all of which is wasted as the vehicle is lowered--i.e., the compressed air in the lift cylinder is vented to the atmosphere.

Put on your invention hats. If you can come up with a practical system, file a document disclosure with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office?submit the idea to the DOE's confidential Energy-Related Inventions Program. You could receive a grant up to $100,000?

Gerald Shirley
Aldshir Manufacturing Comp., Inc.
Tuckahoe, NY


Zero pollution! Yes

I was disappointed to see the letter (Design News, 2/16/98) perpetuating the myth that electric vehicles "in most cases" merely transfer burned fossil-fuel air pollution from tailpipes to smokestacks. Deregulation has made it possible for consumers to buy electricity derived exclusively from 100-percent renewable, non-fossil-fuel sources.

People like me who are inclined toward EV ownership would also follow through by subscribing to receive pollution-free power.

Steven Kent


More on SUVs

In response to Mark Walker's letter (3/23/98 issue), I agree that the enhanced view of the road ahead is a plus. This leads, however, to another point: His enhanced view is a detriment to those behind him.

Before the glut of SUVs, pickup trucks, and vans of any flavor, one rarely had one's view of the road ahead blocked in any way. Even the occasional station wagon was of the same height as an automobile. Now, of course, drivers must deal continually with the problem of not being able to see what's ahead.

How about if we all had one of these "high-rise" vehicles? Then we would all be able to see better, or at least no worse than our fellow drivers. Or, in my opinion more reasonable, we should do away with the lunacy of recreational use of these vehicles, thus spreading fairness like oil on the waters of controversy.

James A. Ledbetter
Navistar International
Melrose Park, IL


Send us your letters

Got an opinion on engineering? Want to add information to an article you've read in Design News? Tell us about it. We welcome your letters. All, of course, are subject to editing for brevity. And, you must sign the letter and tell us your company's name.

Send them to Letters, Design News, 275 Washington St., Newton, MA 02158, or e-mail them to:[email protected].

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