Pin Brazing

Pin Brazing forms part of a technology developed in Sweden throughout the latter half of the 20th century by AGA. The purpose, for attaching current carrying cables to what were deemed “Sensitive Substrate Materials”, or in this case Railroad Track Signal Bonding, Grounding and Earthing of Pylons.

On Railway Track the signal current was originally passed through the rails and this required special contact connections at the rail joints for continuity. Copper straps were, and in some cases still are used which become brittle after welding and brazing. For many years attaching these was a major cause for concern amongst Railroad Engineers. AGA’s pin brazing equipment solved the problem. The new method involved brazing the cable Lugs to the rail ends using an electro-mechanical pistol to create an Arc, but only for a very short time (about a second) and at such a low temperature, that neither the copper nor the rail steel was damaged. Pin brazing is still used by railways both within and outside Europe.

In later years the Pin Brazing process and Products have been developed for use In the Oil, Gas and Utilities Industries as a safe method of connecting cables to Pipelines. The most popular application being for Cathodic Protection purposes including the attachment of Cathodic Protection System Sacrificial Anode Cables, Test Post Cables, Continuity Bonding between Pipeline Sections, Connection of Monitoring Cables, Earthing and A.C. Mitigation Systems.

Pin brazing is basically ‘Drawn-arc Silver Brazing’, considered a Brazing process and not (as is sometimes and incorrectly stated by suppliers and even manufacturers) ‘Electric-arc Silver Soldering’, as the working temperature or melting point of the filler material is below that of the base metal or substrate but above 426.6 Degrees Celsius (800 Degrees Fahrenheit). The filler metal, in the case of Pin Brazing is a Silver alloy consisting typically – Ag 55%, Cu 21%, Zn 22% and Sn 2%, which when molten flows directly into the closely fitted surfaces between the desired connection type and the substrate material by Capillary Action.

Using a specially designed Brazing Pin (the body of which is normally Brass or sometimes specialist Stainless Steel Threaded Studs can be produced, all of which are tipped with a specific portion of the above Silver alloy and a Flux material). An Automatic Pistol (similar in many ways to a Stud Welding Pistol, which acts as a means to complete a DC circuit via manual switch and provide “lift” via the use of a small electromagnet in order to facilitate generation of an Arc) and a Power supply, the Pin brazing process is renowned for being both Safe fast and reliable, requiring very little training.

As portability has been an essential factor in the development of Pin Brazing, power is supplied most commonly by a re-chargeable, portable battery pack. These vary in size and weight relative to the number of connections required. However in cases where a fixed power supply can be practically provided for example Welding Generators on-board a Pipe-laying Vessel, many continuous connections can be made in a Production environment. Timing is controlled either electronically (where an electronic device is fitted to a battery pack or generator) or via a fuse wire located on the Brazing Pin itself. Fuse wire controlled systems, which due to the nature of the process and the common locality of use, (that is remote locations and extreme environments) are proven to be more successful as they require less attention in the field and present the end user with easy to operate and maintain electromechanical equipment.

Attachment types vary between Threaded Stud Connectors and Direct Connections. Threaded Studs are popular when a temporary connection is required, mechanically secure and requiring the specified cable to be attached to a crimp lug and then secured to stud with a locking nut (Cable-Lug-Stud-Substrate), but are criticized due to their bulk and low electrical integrity. Direct Connections are more permanent fixtures, historically made via a Pin Brazing Compatible Cable Lug, wherein the required cable is crimped into the lug and then the lug is directly ‘Pin Brazed’ to the Substrate (Cable-Cable Lug-Substrate). However the electrical and mechanical integrity of these have been criticized more recently as the leading competitor for similar types of connection, involve a Thermite process and are able to make ‘actual’ direct connections (Cable-Substrate).

Pin Brazing solutions which produce Cable-Substrate attachments for Railroads have been available for some time, but in the Pipeline Industry are sometimes impractical, requiring pre-manufactured cables with ‘integral lug’ attachments, complex and expensive electronics or unsubstantial often flimsy Direct Pin Brazing systems which generate too much heat and could compromise the metallurgical integrity of the substrate. However two new systems now exist that allow Cable-Substrate connections which meet all of the criteria required of Cable-Substrate system products and improve on their shortcomings greatly. The first is a product named Integra-Bond which combines the mechanical strength and versatility of a Cable lug attachment with Cable-Substrate electrical integrity and even reduced Heat Affected Zone (HAZ), the second is SABRE which is actually a Shielded-Arc Electrode Brazing adaptation of the Integra-Bond system, greatly reducing negative metallurgical effects within the HAZ by preventing the drawn Arc from coming into direct contact with the substrate material.

Due to the Portability, Ease of Use and Versatility of a system that can be either Battery Powered or in Offshore and Workshop applications attached to a Welding Generator for continual use, the Pin Brazing System has become the ultimate solution for the Electrical Bonding of Sensitive Substrate Materials worldwide.

Automotive Equipment and Tools For The Automotive Industry

The automotive equipment industry deals with the production of every kind of tool and machinery that is needed for the manufacture, maintenance and repair of vehicles including cars and car parts. As such, the industry produces several different varieties of equipment starting from basic hand tools to more complex machinery.

Different Kinds of Automotive Equipment

Automotive workshops and garages will be unable to function without automotive equipment. Shop furniture, lifts, exhaust hoses, air compressors, lubrication equipment, electric and light reels, jacks, vehicle servicing equipment, fluid storage tanks and trans-air piping are some of the many different types of automotive equipment that are used by automotive manufacturing and automotive repair businesses.

Common Types Of Automotive Equipment

* Hand Tools: Automotive repair shops use several different types of hand tools for their repair and maintenance projects. Some of the commonest items include ratchet sets and wrench sets, crowbars (also known as pry bars), socket sets, screwdrivers, star and clutch-head drivers, hammers, pliers and wire cutters, electric drills, hacksaws and torque wrenches.

* Pneumatic Tools: Most automotive workshops now use pneumatic tools as an alternative to electricity powered motors because the latter is more prone to fire hazards. Such tools are powered by compressed air and are high powered versions of the more traditional hand tools. Common examples of pneumatic automotive equipment include air compressors that can be used to power a variety of tools including hammers, drills, ratchets and spraying tools.

* Availability of pneumatic equipment makes it easier for mechanics and technicians to undertake repair and maintenance work because they are powerful and easy to use. For example, a set of pneumatic shears can cut through sheet metal at a faster rate and leave behind a smoother edge when compared to traditional tin snips. Similarly, air hammers outfitted with chisel or punch bits have multiple uses. They can they be used for straightening dents. The chisel feature can be used to break rusted parts loose and the punch bits can be used to remove old rivets and bolts that are too difficult to take out by hand.

* Lifts: several different kinds of lifting equipment are used to lift and secure cars so that mechanics and repair persons can easily work under the vehicle. These lifting tools include both low-tech tools such as basic floor jacks, car ramps and jack stands as well as hydraulic lifts and floor jacks for better efficiency and performance.

* Vehicle Exhaust Removal Systems: vehicle exhaust removal systems are used to capture and remove harmful exhaust fumes to insure optimal air quality in automotive maintenance and repair facilities. These are mandatory equipment as per OSHA Standards in order to limit exposure to harmful vehicular emissions. Common vehicle exhaust removal systems include hose drops as well as reels.

* Lubrication Systems: Automotive lubrication systems include several different types of oil meters, ATF meters, gear lube meters, dispense valves and grease dispenses valves.

The Automotive equipment business is a very large and competitive business. Automotive repair businesses must buy equipment from reputable dealers for the best deals and performance levels.

Sliding Garage Doors – The Advantages of the Sliding Door Mechanism

A sliding garage door is not the cheapest garage access option available, but it is certainly one of the best, most reliable and easiest of systems to operate.

The “extra expense” incurred in buying this kind of door comes from the need to have tracks and runners at both the top and the bottom of the opening and to have a strong and sturdy door construction. These tracks can extend to any distance enabling the opened garage door to be stored in a position where it will not cause an obstruction. The only special requirements for the fitting of this kind of door are a true and level base which can be prepared prior to the fitting of the tracks.

Once this is done, the end result is a mechanism that allows a door to be fully or partially opened without interfering with the space in front of or behind the door’s threshold. This style of garage door offers an opening and closing action that is smooth, requires a minimum of physical effort to operate, and can easily and cheaply be motorised and remotely controlled.

More advantages

The running tracks that hold and control the motion of the door make the closed door very secure and ensure that sliding garage openers are amongst the strongest and most impenetrable systems around. They can also be locked in a number of different ways and offer high resistance to wind and impact damage.

A unique advantage to the horizontal sliding motion of these doors is the fact that the tracks can be fitted on either the inside or the outside of the structure. This is a fitting option that is not available on other door types. The smartest method is to install the tracks within the garage, however it can be easier and just as secure to have the tracks fitted in front of, and on the external face of, the garage building.

Given that sliding garage doors are continually supported at both their foot and head, they can be considerably larger than most other door types. This means that they are ideal for unusually large openings, as can be seen from their many commercial applications.

Sliding garage doors can be sectional in construction with vertical hinges enabling the composite door panels to hinge and bend around corners and returns. This means that they can slide on extended tracks that can take the door away from the threshold and store it against one of the garage’s side walls at 90 degrees to the garage’s opening.

This sectional door-panel construction also makes for easy size selection as most of the manufacturers of these sectional panels can simply add or remove individual panels to increase or decrease the size of the door.

As was pointed out at the introduction of this article, sliding garage doors are certainly not as cheap as some of the other door mechanisms like the up-and-over and side hinged options, but they do offer a superior operating system and greater ease of use. Additionally, they are very strong, they lend themselves to remote control operation and they can be opened and closed even when there are obstructions immediately in front of or behind the opening.

Make Your Own Invisible Man Costume This Halloween

Dressing up as the Invisible Man for Halloween is a good way to go to parties without anyone knowing who you are, so you may be able to snag some free goodies from complete strangers (just kidding). But really, deciding to dress up in an Invisible Man costume is one of the more underused Halloween costumes but at the same time one of the most unique and memorable.

This is just one way you could go about making your own Invisible Man Halloween costume this year. First of all, for the typical exterior of the costume you’ll want to get fairly standard shoes for the feet. They shouldn’t be tennis shoes or athletic shoes. They also should not be too fancy. Something you would wear to church on Sunday would be fine, as long as they are a dark color, black or dark brown. Wear some black socks with them that go high up to at least the middle of the shin. Black baseball socks may be a good choice for this.

For pants, once again, avoid the casual. No jeans, sweatpants, or khakis. Get some nice black dress pants with no holes in them. You can always check at a thrift store if you’re low on cash. A nice touch could be making a small hole in the side, or using an existing one, and attaching a mirror on the inside so it looks as if nothing is there if someone happens to look at the hole.

As far as a shirt goes, you could wear a long sleeve undershirt, once again a dark color. Pick out a nice button up dress shirt next. The color of this does not matter too much as long as it is a plain color. It can be dark or light, but avoid orange or yellow or anything really bright. The sleeves of the dress shirt should unbutton so you should be able to get your gloved hands through the sleeves.Then get some nice leather dress gloves to wear and to tuck underneath the shirt sleeve cuffs once they’re buttoned up. Tuck only the undershirt into the pants, leave the dress shirt untucked, that way if the undershirt comes untucked, the longer dress shirt will still cover it up.

Remember, you want to be dressed as if you are actually invisible and you do not want anyone else to find out about it. Next, get a roll of athletic bandages, cut eye holes at just the right spot and wrap it around your entire head and tuck the end of the roll into the overshirt. Use safety pins if need be. You need to make sure it is tucked in all the way around or else wear a undershirt like a turtleneck that comes up the neck most of the way to help keep the ends out of sight and tucked in neatly.

You’ll also need some dark sunglasses that also wrap around the sides of the eyes for your Invisible Man Costume, and also a dark-colored hat with a brim like a fedora to wear as well. For a finishing touch, get a nice black or brown trench coat, and put that on over everything else. Again, thrift stores are good places to check for clothing items like these on the cheap.

Voila! Now you’re now the Invisible Man! And if you need more inspiration, just take a look at the Invisible Man movie to see exactly what type of outfits that this character wore throughout the film, and then you can add as much or as little as you’d like to complete your own unique Invisible Man Costume.

5 Benefits of an Illuminated Bathroom Mirror

The bathroom mirror is not only an essential commodity but also a secret friend to many. Several people including celebrities and eminent personalities clandestinely admit of talking and spending hours in front of their special bathroom mirror. Nevertheless, for common person, time is of utmost importance while getting ready for the day. Therefore, numerous people opt for illuminated bathroom mirrors that satisfy the need of being anti-fog having quality lighting and clear display.

Traditionally, beauty of a single piece of mirror glass was enhanced through superior carvings, engravings or by adding color and decorative material. It cannot be denied that these conventional mirrors are a work of art; however, they are low in functionality and seldom fulfill modern-day mirror requirements. In contrast, illuminated bathroom mirrors are extremely useful.

Let us look at five benefits of illuminated bathroom mirrors:

1) Lighting: Illuminated mirrors mostly used LED (light emitting diode) lights that help form a clean and clear image. LED’s are high-energy efficient lights that produce more lumens with less heat. This helps in low electricity consumption. LED has a unique quality that provides widespread lighting. This feature reduces dark shadows that are formed due to focus being on one particular point or object and instead highlights the entire area in focus, allowing finer picture.

2) Size: Illuminated mirrors are usually available in a sleek shape and sizes compared to conventional mirrors. Illuminated mirrors are usually made slimmer to accommodate additional features. Space is always a concern in regular modern houses. Bathrooms tend be to compact in such houses therefore illuminated mirror is a perfect accessory that utilizes less space and enhances the beauty of bathroom decor. In addition to slim bathroom mirrors, large illuminated bathroom mirrors are available in various shapes and sizes that can augment big bathroom spaces.

3) Anti-fog properties: Most illuminated mirrors have an in-built anti-fog characteristic that allows quick de-mystification. These types of mirrors are fitted with de-mystifying filling that de-vaporize the fog the moment it is formed keeping the mirror clear of fog at all times.

4) Quality of glass: The quality of glass that is used in illuminated bathroom mirrors is different from an ordinary or traditional glass. Illuminated mirrors use high-quality magnification glass panel that improves the quality of the image. These kinds of glass panels are available in various magnification quantities.

5) Additional storage space: Illuminated mirror is available in various designs that include additional storage space like attached back cabinet or slender glass shelves.

Illuminated bathroom mirror is an exclusive accessory that augments the daily dressing experience. Additionally it can be used to reflect the mood and style of the overall bathroom setting.

Solar LED Flood Lights Are Worth a Look

If you need to illuminate a large outdoor area or landscape space, solar LED flood lights are worth a look. They provide bright light that is adequate for most lighting applications, as are a cost-effective and earth-friendly alternative to traditional halogen floodlamps.

Solar LED floodlights are used for many different purposes, including home exteriors, unique architectural details and designs, holiday decorations, and outdoor events. If you are into sports, you can install them above basketball hoop on the garage for a nighttime game, or put lights on poles to illuminate a tennis court for evening matches.

Two Types of Bulbs: Halogen and LED

There are two types of bulbs commonly used for floodlights: Halogen and Light Emitting Diodes (LED). LED bulbs have great longevity, lasting up to 50 times longer than halogen bulbs, but they also cost more. LED lamps used for flood light purposes must be much brighter than LEDs used in string lights or pathway lights.

Because LED floodlights need higher wattage for the same output as halogen lights, they are more expensive upon purchase. However, although they cost more in the beginning, the very long LED life span will more than make up for the initial cost over time.

In addition to long life, the flood lights are powered by the free solar energy from the sun, which means there is no expense from buying electrical power from the local utility grid.

By day, the attached solar panel collects sunlight, which is converted into electricity and stored in a high capacity battery for use at night. When darkness falls, the charged battery will provide the power to run the lights.

LED bulbs consume much less power than halogen lights, which means they can illuminate your home outdoor areas for a longer length of time on one battery charge.

LED Blue Spectrum Light

One disadvantage of LED lights however is that they produce a light that looks a little bluer in tint than the yellow light emitted by the halogen lights. This light can be a bit harsh on some people’s eyes, and may slightly alter the color of the area being illuminated.

Fortunately, this is not that big of an issue if you are using the solar floodlights for decorative rather than functional purposes. But if you are serious about sports or other outdoor activities, it may take a little while to get used to a different color spectrum.

Overall, many people think that the advantages of LED lights generally outweigh the disadvantages. They are an ideal choice for functional lighting that is cost-effective and environmentally sound as well.

Depression Cured by Low Carb Diet?

Yes you heard me right! Does a low carbohydrate diet play a role in stabilizing mood disorders including depression? Or maybe I should phrase it like this; do ketones play a role in our brain-energy profile?

What are ketones?

Let me explain the above sentence a bit further. When we eat carbohydrates our bodies break it down into glucose. This passes the blood brain barrier and fuels our brain. Our bodies always opt to use glucose as an energy source before they use another source of fuel.

When we cut out carbohydrates from our diets we cannot use glucose as a fuel source. So our bodies start to process the protein and fat that we eat instead. It processes these proteins and fats into ketones.

These ketones can also be used as fuel and can also pass the blood brain barrier. And this different type of fuel to the brain appears to alter it.

Why are ketones working?

One of the best known effects of a ketogenic diet is its remarkable effect on seizures in epileptic patients. Some people have actually become seizure free while others have a substantial reduction in their seizures. The effects of the ketogenic diet even remains after carbohydrates have been reintroduced.

There is talk that a ketogenic diet can benefit many mental disorders including depression, bipolar and Alzheimer’s. If this diet could only help a faction of the people that are burdened with these conditions, it would be revolutionary!

We are not entirely sure why and how these ketones affect the brain. But some theories suspect that this different fuel from ketones helps with global cerebral hypometabolism. It seems that the brain can use ketones more efficiently. It is also thought that ketosis decreases intracellular sodium concentrations, which is exactly what mood stabilizers do.

Not many human trials have to done to see the benefits of a ketogenic diet on mental disorders. But it is definitely warranted!

What exactly is a ketogenic diet?

OK great. So now that we know what ketones are and how they work. Let us have a look at what you would have to do to be on a ketogenic diet.

A ketogenic diet is a diet that really reduces carbohydrates to the minimum. The most accepted version of the ketogenic diet is to have fewer than 20g of carbohydrates a day.

But everybody is different and some people may still respond on higher amounts of carbohydrates a day.

Ketosis, so when we are producing ketones, can be checked through the use of keto-sticks.

Keeping to 20g a carbohydrates a day is quite a challenge, trust me.

Where do we find carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates are found in an array of products and natural foods.

The most obvious place to find carbohydrates is in sugar. This includes sugar that has been added to beverages, food products, sweets, cake and chocolate.

We also find carbohydrates in our starches including rice, couscous, bread, oats and pasta. These are normally completely cut out in a ketogenic diet.

Fruit also contains fructose, which is a sugar, and will also increase your carbohydrate intake. Fruit intake is normally controlled quite strictly.

Other types of sugar, mainly lactose, are found in dairy products.

A ketogenic diet is not for the faint hearted!

So what can I eat?

As you can see a great many foods are cut out of the equation when we are on a ketogenic diet. What can be eaten in vast amounts are non-starchy vegetables, so vegetables which have very few carbohydrates. And then we can eat all of our meat, eggs and fish. These are normally cooked with unlimited amounts of fat.

It is not an easy diet to go on but once people feel the benefit of it, they say they will never go back. It is advisable to work with a supportive dietitian and doctor when attempting the ketogenic diet.

How To Fix The IGXPDX32 DLL Blue Screen Error On Windows

The igxpdx32.dll error is a common “blue screen error” for Windows, which is caused by your computer’s inability to correctly read the Intel Graphics Driver it requires to run. This file used by Intel Graphics Drivers to help control the integrated graphics options on your PC, and is consequently a highly important part of your system. Despite this file being very important, it’s continually causing a large number of problems, which will result in your system either showing the blue screen error you’re seeing, or behave in a very strange way. You can fix the problems with this file by following the steps on this website.

This error will most commonly show in this format:

  • “igxpdx32.dll caused PAGE_FAULT_IN_NON_PAGED_AREA”

The problem behind this error is that your computer will either be unable to process the igxpdx32.dll file, or will have a number of other system errors which are making it very difficult to run. Because the file is an integral part of the Intel Graphics Driver application, your computer will generally be unable to continue running if it’s caused. To fix this, you should first ensure that all your software is working okay, and then that your computer is working correctly as well.

The first step to fix this problem is to repair any of the errors / issues with the software of your computer. It’s likely the case that your computer will either have conflicting software, or some other problem with a program that will lead this error to show. If you’re seeing the problem when you use a specific application, you should re-install that program, which can be done by clicking on “Start > Control Panel > Add / Remove Programs” and then removing the program from your PC. This should also be accompanied by the re-installation of the Intel Graphics driver on your system.

The second stage to repair this problem is to then clean out the “registry” of your PC with a registry cleaner tool. The registry is a large database which stores the information, settings and options for your system, and will keep everything from your desktop wallpaper to your most recent emails inside. The registry database is actually a major cause of igxpdx32.dll errors on your system because of the way it will continually become corrupted & damaged. Because of this, you should use a registry cleaner program to scan through your system and get rid of all the infected parts of the registry database that your system may have.

Essentials to Keep in Mind While Designing an Office Cafeteria

The office cafeteria is one of the most significant parts of any workplace. It serves as an informal meeting place for all colleagues to eat, unwind and socialise. It offers employees an atmosphere to relax amidst the work pressure that surrounds them all day. Such being the motive, the interior design of the office pantry should be designed with consideration towards comfort, relaxation and space utility. Some key tips for an effective and functional office pantry design include:

Colours

As the workstation area is designed with a colour that enhances concentration, the cafeteria should be designed with colours that are refreshing and warm. Adding vibrant colours such as red, purple, green or orange on the walls, food counter or furniture can be very rejuvenating and refreshing after long monotonous and tiring work schedules. Vibrant colours also help in setting the right ambience whilst adding to the energy levels of the employees for the remaining shift after their short breaks. Glossy and shiny colours enhance the overall look of the cafeteria.

Seating Arrangement

Every employee uses the cafeteria for occasional tea breaks as well as for having lunch. Since the cafeteria is a relaxing area where employees congregate together, the interior design of the cafeteria should accommodate the maximum number of people simultaneously without looking congested. The table and chairs should be judiciously selected on the basis of the space available. There should also be enough space for the free movement of employees within the canteen without any obstruction from furniture or other essential appliances.

Flooring

The flooring of the cafeteria should serve two purposes: help set the correct atmosphere and also have convenient usability. Ceramic tile flooring, vinyl flooring and concrete flooring are some of the popular flooring materials used for office cafeterias. Emphasis should be given to the flooring type that is easy to maintain, seems aesthetic and is also slip-resistant.

Lighting

Lighting is one of the essential factors whilst designing a cafeteria. The right type of lighting will ensure a relaxing and comfortable atmosphere in the office pantry.. Flush mount lighting, recessed light fixtures, pendant lighting and global type lighting are some of the most popular lighting options that are stylish and affordable whilst at the same time provide ample lighting in the cafeteria.

Furniture

The cafeteria should be well-furnished to make a high-impact impression. Durability and quality are the prime factors that should be considered when selecting the furniture including tables, chairs and cabinets. However, care should also be taken to see that the furniture doesn’t clutter the space and affect the movement of the employees.

Decorations

Going a step further in creating a great cafeteria design, the office pantry should be decorated with some motivational posters, inspiring photographs, beautiful wall paintings or some other art form. This not only enhances the office decor but also refreshes the mind.

Why Blue Laser Pointers Are Much More Expensive Than Green Laser Pointers

One of the most obvious differences between a blue laser pointer and a green laser pointer is price. A 10 mW blue laser pointer cost $700 compared to the price of the equivalent 15 mW green laser pointer that cost $100.

It is not just blue laser pointers that are more expensive. Blue laser modules, OEM lasers and lab lasers are also much more expensive than their green counterparts. The reason for such a large price differences are the processes used to generate the laser beam, the components used that the manufacturing volumes.

Beam generation process

Both blue and green laser pointers use a pump diode that gives out infrared 808nm light that is used to pump the same type of crystals. The pumped crystals in turn give out light in the far infrared spectrum. The difference between blue and green lasers is the optical coatings on the pumped crystals and the type of far infrared light produced by these crystals.

The pumped crystals in a green laser pointer have an optical coating that causes the crystals to give out mostly 1064nm infrared light that is frequency doubled by another crystal to green 532nm light. The pumped crystals in a blue laser pointer have a different coating that causes the crystals to give out mostly 946nm infrared light that is also frequency doubled by another crystal to 473nm light.

The components

The process of producing 1064nm light is much more efficient than making 946nm light so blue laser pointers need a large pump diode to produce the same power. The larger pump diode makes blue laser pointers more expensive. The frequency doubling crystals in blue laser pointers are rarer and more expensive than those in green laser pointers.

Manufacturing volumes

Green laser pointers have better visibility than blue laser pointers and have less temperature problems at higher power levels. This means that green lasers are used for a larger number of diverse applications such as astronomy, pointing, burning and signaling and are manufactured in very high volumes. Blue laser pointers on the other hand are much more limited in their application and are manufactured in much lower volumes. Like any product, the lower the volume produced, the more expensive the product is.

Article is courtesy of Dragonlasers – No 1 lasers, laser pointer and green laser online store

SMED / Quick Changeover – The Payoff

Senior managers contemplating using the Lean tool SMED / Quick Changeover often ask “What’s the payoff? After all, the operating guys will be doing almost the same amount of work.” To say that is skepticism over the benefits of SMED / Quick Changeover is akin to saying an iceberg is just an oversized ice cube.

The act of learning, applying, and retaining the SMED / Quick Changeover methodology causes a change in the way a changeover is viewed. This change is an essential building block of making Lean Management part of the culture of the enterprise. In effect, Lean becomes part of the company DNA.

By having a cross-functional team methodically review a changeover and separate work elements into internal and external work elements, the understanding of what is really being done in the changeover comes to light. The team members “learn to see” the changeover from a new perspective. A streamlining of the separated work elements aimed at eliminating non-required steps ensures non-value added waste is removed.

When the remaining elements are arranged in a new logical sequence, the resulting time, when the operation is shut down for changeover, is typically 50% of the pre- SMED time. Technicians don’t work harder. They carry out the external elements either before or after the process is stopped for the changeover. The internal elements become the time the process is actually not producing. The reduced changeover from the last good piece of the old part to the first good piece of the new part is a fraction of the pre – SMED time.

A recent SMED Quick Changeover workshop resulted in the elimination of an hour of machine downtime per shift for multiple changeovers for the highly automated silk screening of CD labels. The savings were annualized as “millions in the first year”. During the Enterprise Value Stream MappingTM (EVSM)TM of their “order entry to product shipped” process, the client recognized a need to reduce changeover time in order to provide more machine capacity with reduced inventories to meet customer demand. The SMED workshop was a Kaizen event which addressed that competitive requirement by utilizing Lean techniques. Similarly a SMED / Quick Changeover workshop involving a plastic extrusion process resulted in a 66% reduction in die changeover time and a 27% reduction in downstream process changeover time after only 2 days. The streamlining of the process steps would generate additional savings. These are “drop through” savings that go right to the bottom line much to the joy of accountants and managers.

An example in the non-manufacturing environment, Healthcare, is in the MRI operations within a hospital. Most administrations are struggling with how to reduce wait times (and of course costs) for MRI patients. The first solution they jump to is, to buy more equipment which includes expensive MRI’s. This solution, on the surface, seems to be appropriate and it is certainly the easiest and fastest – or is it? As you investigate further and begin planning for new equipment you realize that you need more space, more trained people to operate the equipment and more supplies – the result is that the initial cost of buying the equipment was only the tip of the iceberg. The real solution should have been to analyze the entire process from the time the patient arrives for their MRI to the point they leave and determine how much time and activities are ‘waste’. When this is done, we find much of the time is classified as waste and one of the wastes is the time to set up in between each patient.

With the use of SMED, the change over time is drastically reduced and there is an opportunity to put more patients through the process without adding staff, space or equipment and it didn’t cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The answer to the question “what’s the payoff?” is a healthier bottom line, increased flexibility to meet customers ever changing needs, empowered workers doing world class changeovers, less inventory and its associated problems, less floor space due to less product or equipment on the floor, and “found” capacity resulting from a process operating instead of being down for non-value added changeovers.

In today’s world, the pressure is on organizations and businesses to provide products and services (such as healthcare) faster and better but at the same cost or lower. In order to meet the clients and customers challenging expectations and desire for more, faster and better, you must consider proper implementation of every tool that can improve your processes and give you an advantage over your competitors. SMED / Quick Changeover is one of those tools that can give you and your group a much needed advantage and the results of implementing it are immediate.

Great Cars Under $1000 – All-Star Profiles – Nissan 240sx

One of the most popular platforms in the tuning market. Whether you’re looking to go road racing,auto cross, drifting, drag, or just plain fast the Nissan 240sx is one of the best giant killers around.

Introduced in 1989 the 240sx has everything a great sports car should. Rear-wheel drive, independent suspension, disc brakes, and a light weight chassis. Extremely popular in its native Japan the 240sx has been well known among many for years as an ideal tuning platform. The one major drawback however as seen by many is that when it came to our shores in the U.S. Nissan loaded these cars with the KA24DE which by all means is a perfectly decent engine and has a lot of tuning capability, but considering that in Japan they were selling with the much more popular and more powerful SR20DET its hard to not feel like we got cheated a little.

Fortunately for us however one of the best parts about the 240sx and most Nissans for that matter is that they are amazingly good candidates for engine swaps. The most popular swap around is the turbo charged SR20DET, but people are also cramming in everything from skyline motors to even LS1 out of corvettes. The 240sx is just one of those chassis that can not only handle the new found power but also keep its great handling characteristics. Also due to the 240sx being such a hot platform for tuning there is basically an unlimited supply of parts from mild mods to full tilt race setups.

Tips on buying one: The first gen cars are going to be the ones that will fall into the sub-$1000 dollar price range and there are still plenty of un-modded cars out there to be found for cheap. However keep in mind that these cars are still sought after and a clean chassis will command a decent price. A good tip for those of you looking to do a swap already is to find an unfinished project that somebody else let bite the dust. Doing this can allow you to save some major cash on parts and maybe even have a good head start on getting the car where you want it to be faster. For those of you with performance in mind I would recommend staying away from the convertible models as they tend to be much heavier and have less chassis rigidity.

So if you are looking for your next tuner project its tough to go wrong with a 240sx no matter how many there are out there you can always have a chance to make it your own and have something that is fun to drive and different.

While the Homeowner is Saving Pennies For a New Deck, Properly Cleaning the Old Deck Will Suffice

Last weeks cookout was a big success. The grill fired up, the food was fresh, and the company was pleasant. Even the weather was forgiving. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said of the deck. While a deck can be in good condition structurally, it often shows its age through severe fading and weathering from the elements. There are just two options at this point. Redesign and build a new deck or clean it and re-stain it.

While replacing an entire deck for the majority of homeowners is not the most viable option, for those few that are planning on a new deck installation, there could not be a better time. Obviously, most people would opt to clean their existing deck and re-stain it, but this does require more than just a hose, a can of stain, and a brush to revitalize a deck. Staining a deck properly is still considered a do-it-yourself project, but will require several days and a lot of elbow grease.

The first step for any outdoor project is to prepare with safety in mind. Many homeowners already have a set of gloves and safety glasses for working around the house or using power tools. If this basic safety equipment is missing, then the cost to clean a deck will increase by a margin. Other equipment and materials necessary to clean a deck include one pump sprayer, a bucket, bio-degradable wood cleaner, borade, a stiff bristle deck brush, a drill with a paint mixer attachment, and a hose. As one can see, there’s quite a bit of equipment that is required to needed to properly clean and prepare an existing wood deck for staining.

While most “professionals” will just resort to using a pressure washer to blast off the dirt, the majority of pressure washers are far too powerful and will actually cause further damage to the deck. The reason why pressure washers are a popular choice is because of the fact that it’s much easier than actually scrubbing the surface and it saves time in the short term. Pressure washers will actually create small tears and openings in the wood fibers of the deck planks thereby allowing more moisture to enter and degrade the wood at a faster rate. Where regions of the country receive a variety of different types of weather from sun to freezing ice, such as North Carolina, it is especially important to maintain the integrity of the wood.

The key to any paint job or staining is to clean and prep the surface properly. After hosing off the deck surface of any loose debris, fill the pump sprayer with a 1:1 ratio of wood cleaner and water. After spraying down the deck boards and any steps, begin vigorously scrubbing the surface with the deck brush. This will loosen and remove the embedded dirt from the deck. After a 10 to 15 minute break, again hose down the deck. Rinse out the pump sprayer as well. What is left will be a dirt free deck.

The next step is to eliminate any algae which is a common problem on decks throughout the entire country. In a clean bucket, mix a 1:5 ratio of borade to water. It will need to be mixed thoroughly with a mixing paddle and drill in order to prevent any residue from clogging up the pump sprayer. Fill the pump sprayer with the borade solution and spray down the entire deck. Do not hose off the deck. Again, the purpose of the borade solution is to kill any algae. Now clean up and let the borade solution soak into the deck and dry for two or three days.

Upon returning to the deck, inspect the deck for any loose boards or railings. After making any necessary repairs, the next steps are to apply the stain. In short order, that old worn out looking deck will reflect the newness that the homeowner can enjoy for several cookouts and years to come.

Signs of Spiritual Awakening – Receiving Secret Messages From the Universe

Recently I wrote about the signs and symptoms of being on the “fast track” to spiritual awakening. One of the signs of awakening is receiving “secret” messages from the universe (from spirit) that help point you in the right direction. Secret messages from the universe can be anything from an announcement on the radio that answers a specific question you’ve been asking, to a gripping conversation with a stranger.

I call these kinds of messages “secret” because often, the person relaying the message to you isn’t aware that he’s doing it.  If he were conscious of it somehow, he may have thought it was weird, he may have hesitated, and sometimes the universe just doesn’t want to take chances. (Okay, I know this sounds a bit crazy but hang in there and I will explain with a real-life, concrete example.)

I have received many secret messages when I began my awakening process several years ago, and I will share one of the more “ambitious” examples here. But first, some necessary background: When I had received the secret message I am about to share with you, I had already been urged by the Counsel of Light to start writing a book about a process of evolution I would go through that could not be found anywhere yet–it wasn’t in any book or manuscript, they said.  It was something new. (They alerted me to this beforehand so that I would begin the process and keep an accurate log of it by writing about it in real time.)

But since I was an engineer and I hadn’t yet experienced this process (and the instructions from the Counsel of Light were channeled to me by a woman I had met once who lived 3000 miles away) I struggled with–as you can imagine–“just doing it.” 

But as I had said, if something is important enough spirit will not take any chances and will give you signs that you must pursue a certain direction.  Anyway, one day back in October of 2002 when I was still unsure of whether I was going to attempt to write this book or whether I was just being brainwashed, I had an interesting conversation with another parent named “J.” at my child’s grade school.  I knew J. only briefly, and he knew little about me.  The following is an excerpt from my memoir (not a memoir of my life–I am not that vain–but a memoir of my reconnecting and awakening process.)

“…Another interesting occurrence: while walking back to our car after dropping Angelika off at school, Julianne and I were startled by a walnut that landed near us from clear out of the sky. I stood for a moment and looked around. An old lone almond tree stood by the road, but there weren’t any walnut trees in sight. J., who happened to be strolling about a hundred feet behind, caught up to us and explained that a blackbird had dropped that nut. “Blackbirds fly up high and drop nuts onto hard surfaces so that the nuts crack. They know exactly how high they need to fly and they know to drop it onto the pavement. They’ve learned to do that,” he explained. “But how do they know?” he asked, looking straight at me.

“They just know,” I replied.

“It only takes one of them to learn a new behavior.  The others follow, and soon thereafter, they’ve all learned it. Just like the 100th monkey theory.  That’s how evolution works,” he went on. “It just takes that first one–the one that will begin. Everything depends on that first one.”

At this point the investigator part of my brain kicked in because something he said caught my attention.  “Do you really think it’s important which one of them is the first? Does it really matter, which one?” I asked.

“Yes, he said, looking straight at me, “It’s very important.”

We reached my car by that time, exchanged “have a good day,” and then off he went to his. And after he was gone I thought to myself–what exactly did you mean with those words, using those words? Where did you get them from? Why did you tell me those things? I was agitated because I knew he had given me a message, just like the characters in the spiritual adventure novel The Celestine Prophecy–the book we had discussed several months earlier–kept on doing. They were always giving each other secret messages and having intense discussions about it as well. 

Well, I knew what the message was, just not the why or the how of it. But I never asked J. any of those questions; I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because he might not have known the answers, might not have had a clue. He might have even denied giving me any secret messages. I also thought it might be a good idea, at least for the time being, to keep my investigative activities a secret.” (End of excerpt from my memoir.)

This sign from the universe (as well as others) helped me to pursue and actually fulfill my higher life purpose–which is to detail the steps of the spiritual awakening process and to give real life concrete examples so that others can go through this intense process more quickly and easily. (It can be painful and scary.) Furthermore, it’s one thing to acknowledge that yeah, humanity is on the verge of an awakening and it’s another thing altogether to know that process intimately and provide concrete examples.

When you get on the path to awakening, to fulfilling your life purpose, you will also begin to experience signs such as this and these signs will help point you in the right direction. Because you have something that’s important for you to pursue.

In conclusion, receiving secret messages a la Celestine Prophecy is a sign of spiritual awakening, a sign that you’re not digging your heels in but stepping up to the plate of awakening (except in real life it’s unlikely the messenger will know that he has a secret message for you).    

Snooker Cueing Action

The main point to cover while learning to play snooker is the snooker cueing. The perfect snooker cue action tips involve knowing how to hold the cue, the grip, the stance and the line of sight. Once the cue action is perfect, it is rare that the shot goes wild. To have a proper cue action you need to be confident and have patience and concentration. In fact concentration is the main thing when you are holding the cue for a shot.

The cue grip

The first tip of snooker cueing is the way you are going to hold the cue. This is called the grip. Its about how tightly or loosely to hold the cue so that the cue is in the straight line with the shot. The cue is placed on the ‘v’ formed by the thumb and the forefinger. There should be enough grip from the thumb and the forefinger. The other fingers should be tight enough not to let the cue butt swing from the butt. In case you are holding too tightly it may put tension on your cue arm and on the bridge that is the ‘v’ which may lead to your shot missing the mark.

The approach

An important snooker cue action tip is to know and plan what kind of shot you are going for. Your stance, delivery and approach should be well thought out. You should have a confident approach only when you have made a shot selection and know the outcome of such a shot. There are times when players are not sure about which shot they are going to take. This results in inconsistent body and cue action. This kind of snooker cueing leads to unreliable line of the shot with the cue which leads to a missed shot.

The bridge

Another snooker cue action tip is how to form the bridge with the thumb and the forefinger. The ‘v’ formed is a channel which provides space for the cue to act. The cue should be at a perfect height with the ball, so the bridge has to be in an ideal position. A good bridge would be where the fingers are straight, spaced out well and at a desired height. The bridge should be made to go higher or lower to depending on the kind of shot you want to take. It should have flexibility to make a central strike or screw or top spin. Also you must check the distance of the bridge from the ball depending on your shot selection and backswing required for such a shot.

The stance

The stance is another requirement for successful snooker cueing. The right foot should be in place near the shot the left foot should be ahead of the right foot and the hips should swivel. The right leg is to be straight and left leg bent at the knees. The whole stance should be comfortable so that you can hold it easily till your shot is over.

The feathering

The final snooker cue action tip is doing a bit of rehearsal known as feathering to get the eye in line with the ball and the pockets and after a steady feathering the final shot should be taken. This way you can have a perfect snooker cueing.