Top News from Leading Digital Manufacturing Solution Providers
February 22, 2013
Stocking Tractor-Trailers with MPGs
Ian Armas Foster
The semi-trucks you see on the highway were primarily designed for storage and transportation and not necessarily energy efficiency. Therefore, it may not be surprising that according to HPC for Energy, these trucks constitute 12 percent of the fuel consumption in the United States.
But work done by Navistar in concert with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory showed that a significant portion of that fuel consumption could be reduced by simple changes to the structure of the tractor-trailer.
They began by using a one-eight scale model of a semi-truck inside a wind tunnel to run various tests. With HPC modeling and simulation, HPC for Energy reports that they were able to extrapolate various windy conditions based on these small-model tests. From there, they could begin running optimization programs to target fuel economy.
Ultimately, the LLNL and Navistar proposed four alterations to be made to optimize aerodynamic conditions. A base at the end of the trailer would give the truck a more rounded feel, thus allowing the air flow more smoothly around it. A similar adjustment to the underbody of the trailer would introduce an element of lift (not enough, of course, to lift the trailer off the ground) that would reduce the mechanical weight of the truck as it went at higher speeds. This would also serve to reduce the drag on the back axle.
The third adjustment introduces a small barrier between the cabin and the trailer that prevents air from flowing between the two to further bring down the drag force.
The final suggestion is friction-related, as Navistar and LLNL recommend replacing the common two back tires with a single oversized tire to decrease rolling resistance.
According to the presentation, the proposed modifications could save up to 4.6 billion gallons of fuel per year in the United States alone, cutting semi fuel usage by 17%. As such, these trucks across the nation are beginning to be retro-fitted to these specifications.
These simulations are already having an effect on the tractor-trailer industry primarily because of the HPC capabilities shared between the two institutions. The years it would normally take to run these simulations were reduced to only a few months, allowing these changes to be implemented sooner, ultimately saving more fuel and delivering a greater impact.
As the cloud becomes an increasingly attractive option for manufacturers with big needs in IT, scalable options such as outsourced data centers have become a must-have for many companies. But General Motors has taken a step in the opposite direction when its $130 million datacenter went online Monday in the suburb of Warren, Michigan. Read more...
When we talk to manufacturers of any size, one concern across the board has been finding engineers with sufficient education and training to do their job. Taking one step toward alleviating this issue is Siemens, who have launched a U.S. job training initiative for veterans, hoping to round out the training of engineers throughout the country. Read more...
The National Engineering Forum (NEF) has developed a three-pronged approached in keeping the US engineering workforce competitive, for which it hopes to help spread awareness through a series of regional dialogue events held throughout the country. Read more...
May 17, 2013 |
This week, Airbus towed its newest airliner, the A350 XWB, out of its hangar and is poised to roll it into the spotlight of the upcoming Paris Air Show. The A350 XWB has been designed with the goal of surpassing the 787 in fuel efficiency and comfort, and has forgone metal for composite materials to make it happen. Read more...
May 16, 2013 |
Sander Veenhof and Joris van Tubergen, of the Netherlands, joined their skills in media art and design to merge 3D printing with augmented reality. They call the result "UltimARker" and like the 3D printer it works with it's been designed for the open source community to give consumers more detailed information about their 3D printer. Read more...
May 16, 2013 |
A recent survey by Cisco Systems found that 57 percent of consumers worldwide are in favor of using driverless cars, with 60 percent approval in the United States, suggesting that the world might be more ready for autonomous vehicles to hit the road than previously thought. Read more...
May 10, 2013 |
We've known since Obama's State of the Union address this year that 3D printing is a key pillar in the president's plan for America's future in manufacturing, but on Thursday this was made even more clear with the announcement of a competition to create three manufacturing innovation institutes, to be modeled after a government-funded 3D printing center. Read more...
May 09, 2013 |
Finally, we have someone to look to when we have to assemble our IKEA furniture--or at least something. This week, this solution was showcased at the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, proving that robots might soon be surpassing humans at yet another task. At least we can gladly hand this one over. Read more...
03/20/2013 | SAS | This white paper examines how an enterprise-wide quality platform can turn existing data into substantial and sustainable revenue growth and cost savings for global manufacturers. The paper is based on the findings of the IW/SAS Enterprise Quality Survey completed by more than 400 manufacturing executives. The objectives of the survey were to determine concerns about quality among manufacturers; investigate the tools used to measure quality; and examine how using enterprise-wide analysis on quality data improves performance.
07/19/2011 | Univa | TATA Steel Automotive Engineering’s concern grew when open source Grid Engine support and development was discontinued by Oracle. Grid Engine is a business critical application in their environment. They recognized the likelihood that product enhancements and innovations would cease. Read how TATA Steel Automotive Engineering moved from a self-support solution to Univa Grid Engine. You can get more out of your environment and your budget with Univa Grid Engine.