As the spring sun climbs higher in the sky and the days get longer, those of us not blessed with the eternal summers of Florida, southern California, and the Southwest itch to break out the gardening tools, golf clubs, and other outdoor equipment that's been laying dormant all winter.
This spring, as in the past, a lot of new outdoor technology is blooming along with the flowers and shrubs. Our cover story describes some of the new items: an innovative chainsaw developed by Poulan with help from BASF; Toro's electric blower/vac, made with design assistance from Dow Plastics; and Viking's latest lawn mower, which includes materials from Hoechst Technical Polymers and DSM Engineering.
But, the innovations don't end at the garden fence. When you're ready to leave the planting fields and head for the playing fields, a new softball bat from Dudley Sports will make you look like a pro. That division of Spalding Sports Worldwide has just introduced the Fusion bat, made of a combination of C-405 aluminum and graphite composites. Dudley says a model with a 30 oz swing weight actually weighs only 25 oz, which will allow you to swing 3-6 mph faster than you could with an aluminum bat of equal swing weight.
Back at work, new technology first unveiled at the recent National Design Engineering Show in Chicago will make you more productive. We'll be reporting on the latest technology unveiled there in an upcoming issue.
All these engineering achievements follow a great tradition of breakthroughs coming at this time of year. It was in June of 1955 that Giddings and Lewis developed the first commercial NC machine tool. In April of 1961, Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space. One month later, Alan Shepard did the first U.S. manned space flight. A year later, Lockheed's Mach-3-capable A-11 took to the air. Also in the spring of 1962, the late Seymour Cray, figuring his engineering team needed the creative renewal that could come from relocating to the quiet back woods, moved his entire 6600 crew to Chippewa Falls, WI, where they became the first to use silicon instead of Germanium in computer design.
Did the springtime relocation have anything to do with the refreshing of the team's creative juices? No doubt. Spring is the season of renewal, personally and professionally.