Coffee Time Challenge
What a mover!
Unless you are Geoff Capes, moving heavy rolls of paper, railway wagons or aircraft by hand is probably unthinkable.
Usually, heavy rolls of film, paper or cables require some kind of heavy duty machinery to move them wherever they need to go. These industrial rolls can weigh tons, yet all need to be maneuvered around warehouses.
This is usually done by fork lift, or by groups of people all pushing the roll, putting their backs in to it, and straining away. This is obviously far from ideal as it can cause back problems, especially in the long term, and has potential dangers if it rolls away out of control.
And then there are items that are just too heavy; railway carriages, trucks, and even aircraft for example. Take a maintenance depot that deals with trains and trams. Moving these colossal masses, sometimes over 100tons, usually requires the driver. But often engineers need to check wheel integrity, by rolling or lifting up the trains. Drivers are not always around, lifting equipment is large and expensive, and powered trains not always available to move carriages.
Aircraft, of a small to medium size, are also limited in maneuverability once they are parked and the pilot has gone to the bar. Yet maintenance engineers might need to move the aircraft to a hanger. While machines exist to move these they are again generally large, bulky and heavy.
The challenge this month is to come up with a handheld device which can be used to roll anything from rolls of paper to trains. The device should require no real physical effort from the user and be able to shift up to 100tons. It can be powered by any means, but should not be overly complicated. An air hose, hydraulic line or electrical cable is probably going to be your best bet.
This should be a classic problem for mechanical engineers, and first principles can probably guide you most of the way, certainly in terms of the kinds of forces you are dealing with. The device should also be small and light enough that it can be carried around, being highly portable and only needing to be connected to a power source.
High power density is obviously a must have, and for particularly heavy items such as trains, additional methods of finding grip can be added to the design. The solution can involve using high ratio gearing, a clutch system, driven by anything from pedal power to an electric motor. However, strain on an electric motor could cause it to overheat and prematurely fail, so it might not be the ideal solution after all.
Solution to July 2012 Coffee Time Challenge
The solution to the challenge of how to strip electrical cables quickly, efficiently and safely comes from igus, whose chainflex CFRIP an intelligent solution to strip back long lengths of cable both quickly and easily. By integrating a tear strip into the cable jacket, CFRIP simplifies the stripping back of the cables, especially for those with gusset-filled extruded jackets, without damaging the cores.
With just a few steps, the outer jacket can be opened like a zipper to the desired length by simply pulling the special CFRIP tear strip. Electrical engineers and panel fitters can not only save 50% of the cable stripping time typically required using conventional methods, but also avoid the need for additional cable stripping tools. The cables are also designed in such a way that the integrated tear strip doesn't damage the outer jacket or cores during operation.
igus CFRIP technology is offered in the chainflex CF5 PVC control cable family, where the tear strip is in the outer jacket, and in the chainflex CF6 shielded version, where the tear strip is in the inner jacket. Other types of chainflex cable integrating CFRIP technology are being considered.
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