Something About Hydraulic Pumps

Hydraulic  pump , which is a water  pump  that uses the kinetic energy of flowing water to force a small fraction of that water to a reservoir at a higher level, is a mechanical device used to move liquids in a hydraulic system.

It can be mainly divided into hydrostatic and hydrodynamic. The former is a kind positive displacement  pumps . Being distinguished from hydrostatic  pump , the later one can be fixed displacement, in which the displacement cannot be adjusted. At the same time, hydrodynamic  pumps  have a more complicated construction that allows the displacement to be adjusted in special need by the user.

How does the hydraulic  pump  work? It works based on Pascal’s Law which states “The pressure, in a static hydraulic fluid in a closed system is everywhere the same”. Generally, in a hydraulic  pump , water or another fluid is highly pressurized and moved through various motors and cylinders. To control the fluid various valves, hoses and tubes block or disperse the fluid creating the pressure and force without the need of an external power source. By using the kinetic energy (molecular energy) of the water/fluid to power the  pump , no electricity is needed. And according to the law, if you increase the pressure in one area of a system, it increases throughout the system.

Of course, like many other types of  pumps , the hydraulic  pump  also has a wide range of applications. Its application can be summarized as transferring and circulation of liquids within light industry and farming irrigation and pressure boosting. And it also can be applied tin cooling systems and air-conditioning systems.

And in daily applications, especially in the hydraulic installation, one  pump  can serve more cylinders and motors. However, the attendant problem is that in that case a constant pressure system is required and the system always needs the full power. The more economic way to solve this problem is to give each cylinder and motor its own  pump .

The hydraulic  pumps  include gear  pump , screw  pump , bent axis  pump , peristaltic  pump , and so on. All these different types of  pumps  have many common features. Most of them are designed to be ideal for water supply, irrigation, commercial and industrial uses. Besides, most of them are made of cast iron and brass. Taking the gear  pump  as an example, it is the most common where pressure can remain low in simple systems. They are simple, reliable, and much less dirt sensitive.

Quick Wins

A Quick Win (QW) is an already developed solution idea linked to a known root cause. i.e., it allows your team to jump into the Improve Phase of Lean Six Sigma project. The only major determination left is how to implement, assuming the team has been granted the authority to make the change.

These Quick Wins are often identified in the Define or Measure phase. There is still a requirement to complete Define and Measure of the Lean Six Sigma project, to clarify scope and to be able to measure a change, but there is no need to go through Analyze Phase for this root cause and solution as they are already known.

When a small area, step, area, or section of a process has a known root cause and the solution is unknown, then it is best to apply the Japanese developed methods of continuous improvement called Kaizen. A Kaizen Event is essentially an accelerated DMAIC Define-Measure-Analyze-Improve-Control Project. A Kaizen focuses on specific improvement objectives such as Setup Reduction, 5S, Process Improvement, Line Balancing, etc… Although the Vision of the Future State may be in place, there is still a requirement to go through the Analyze Phase to determine HOW to make it happen as opposed to just how to implement a developed idea, as in the case of the Quick Win.

Benefits of Quick Improvement

They provide momentum for the project by driving value, measured in dollars early, thus improving ROI (Return on Investment). They also provide confidence to the broader organization that Lean Six Sigma is a viable approach to process improvement. Just-do-it projects also reduces stress on project team to Get Something Done!

When we find these opportunities there is no need to wait months for implementation. We should implement change as soon as possible to begin reaping the benefits. When we have a Quick Win, we by-pass the Analyze phase and move straight to Improve.

Quick Win Improvement Criteria

– Quick Wins have a minimal or no capital expenditure

– Low Risk

– Narrow and focused scope (they are not trying to fix the whole process, just a small piece)

– Buy-in to solutions by all Stakeholders

– Certainty (approximately 70-80% confidence) that the change will generate a positive impact

– Improvements may be Implemented Quickly (within 1-2 weeks, usually 1-3 days)

– The project team has the authority to implement the desired changes

– Root cause is known and solution obvious to all

Quick Win Examples

– Process Step Elimination

– Procedure Change

– Safety Stock Elimination (Just in Case Inventory)

– Communication Improvement

– Supplier Price Reduction

– Part Substitution

– Training on Best Practices

– Error Proof a Process Step

– Process Balancing or Layout

Quick Wins Cautions

Risk assessment must be an essential part of the Quick Win decision process. Communication with other process stakeholders should be done quickly to gain buy-in and approval. There is no need for surprises for anyone in the process. Everyone can help assess what are the potential Quick Win impacts on the Customers or Suppliers, Other functional areas, Cost and Benefit analysis, or other teams efforts.

Quick Improvement Control Plans

Quick Improvements, whether Quick Wins or Kaizen improvements, must have implemented Control Plans in place before being considered complete. It is desirable to implement improvements as soon as possible but implementation without control can be worse than no implementation at all.

Choosing the Best TV Wall Bracket

The first thing to decide is where you want to mount your TV. If it is going to be at eye level and right in front of where you always sit then a flat bracket will be fine, these keep your TV very close to the wall giving that “picture frame” look. Do bear in mind there isn’t room behind them to put your cables from the TV so they will either have to be hidden in the wall or you can purchase cable covers that simply fit over the cable in black, silver or some that can be painted.

The   tilt  bracket is ideal when the TV is to be placed above eye level, in the bedroom for example or over a mantlepiece. Most  tilt  brackets will  tilt  up to 15 degrees. The majority of  tilt  TV Wall Brackets will sit your TV approximately three inches from the wall so do not sit as flush as the flat mounts but this does allow more room behind the mounts for cables etc. The  tilt  has to sit further from the wall to allow it to offer the  tilt  facility.

The  tilt  & twist and arm brackets are ideal if you need to move the TV to face different seating positions. These offer full movement and are best suited to alcoves and corners. All of these brackets will pull out into the room and every bracket we sell will tell you all of the measurements of the movement to help you choose the best option for you. All of these brackets will also fold back against the wall but bear in mind due to the arm on them they will not fold back as close to the wall as the flat and  tilt  models, again, the size of each bracket when flat will be shown in the description. Most arm brackets will sit approximately six inches from the wall when flat.

Many arm and twist brackets will have a built in system for hiding your cables along the arm. Arm brackets are also known as corner brackets as they are perfect when mounting your TV in the corner of the room allowing you to move them out into the room for viewing and then folding them back when not in use.

I hope that helps you to decide which option is best for you and remember we are always here to help.

Baby Float

A Baby Float gives your infant the confidence to learn how to swim under their own steam. The baby float suit is designed to keep baby in a buoyant forward swimming position. The floats can then be individually removed from the flotation suits as their ability increases. However, leaving a child any age alone in a swimming pool is not advisable. When with an infant, don’t let your eyes stray and most importantly stay present in the moment and attentive or leave the swimming pool area.

We have baby float for first timers and for those looking for an exciting new animal friend to ride around the pool. The floats are all soft and safe for babies; all the floats are compliant with consumer safety regulations. There are floats in bulldozer shaped with a fringe-style shade top. Canopy shade provides sun protection. It floats well, is stable in water and the UV protecting canopy top is one the many things we do to help protect your baby from sunburn. Boasting a vibrant blue ring with fun marine animal pictures, and a removable sunshade, the float is suitable for children ages 0-3 years old. Another attraction is the white plastic dolphin with a detachable red umbrella and blue nylon seat which can be adjusted for babies from six months to two years.

Arm floaties are perfect for babies of all ages because once inflated, these slide onto a baby’s arm. Just like all other life saving accessory, these help the child remain afloat. The regular Flotie supports up to a 30 pound child. The Heavy Duty Contoured armbands will support up to 60 pounds but are plastic covered.

When your baby grows older, there are great choices of swimming jackets and float suits designed to encourage children to enjoy the water and learn to swim. The children’s swimming jacket provides buoyancy in the right places and can be adjusted as the child’s swimming skills develop. It is an excellent Learn-To-Swim device to instil confidence in child. The re-usable swim diaper is perfect for the early Swim Steps. The liner has a fabric cover that reassures protection against leaks.

Online specials are a great way to shop – don’t forget out check the user ratings on baby float. Amazon offers online discounts, which can save you up to 15%. Though some recommendations are for older children, we have 7 months old babied LOVED being in it. It is a good quality product, and stood up to a lot of use. The inflatable star is perfect for your baby, just blow it up and toss it in the pool and watch your children playing and crawling all over it! Amazon has a range of baby float, as well as a huge outdoors collection that make great gift ideas at bargain prices!

20 Fast Facts About Retractable Awnings

If you feel excited to read this article, you probably already know at least a little about the advantages of retractable awnings. If this piece looks totally random (“20 Fast Facts About Kibbles Cat Food”), then what you’ll read here will probably surprise you. Here is a shotgun approach to the specifications and benefits of modern awnings to catch you up on why they are attracting a growing consumer base.

First, a quick disclaimer: As you read, you may wish certain points were explained in more detail. Since this article is a sort of “beach read” of awnings education, you won’t find a ton of background information here. But if you’d like to hear these facts expanded upon, feel free to check my site. And now, here are some quick and dirty facts about retractable awnings.

  1. They are, in essence, over-sized swatches of water-proof fabric stretched on a frame and attached to your house. This is what you might call simple brilliance.
  2. They need approximately 6 inches of open, lengthwise wall (or roof) space to be installed.
  3. These awnings can be unfurled or retracted in less than a minute–either by hand or automatically via a remote control.
  4. Recent models have weather sensors that automatically lower the awnings on bright, hot days and store them when a heavy rain storm or gale-force winds could damage them.
  5. A phrase all home and business owners love: “No maintenance?”
  6. By controlling sunlight, awnings serve a very useful function: they decrease heat and cut UV rays.
  7. Awnings serve as an outdoor expansion of your business or residential space–and Do It Yourself-types like to design “outdoor rooms” with awnings that extend the styles and colors of the building interior.
  8. If you own a business or manage properties, retractable awnings can expand your seating capacity and raise property values without the services of an architect or general contractor.
  9. Next time you’re downtown, look around: there’s an increasing trend to use awnings as commercial signage for businesses.
  10. Awnings positively affect the interior of your home. When installed over windows, they cut glare by 94 percent and exterior heat by 77 percent.
  11. That means that they bring down inside temperatures by 8 to 15 degrees and reduce air conditioning costs by 25 percent.
  12. When it comes to real estate, each dollar saved on utility bills translates into $10 to $15 of resale value. If you do the calculations, you see that awnings can add one to two thousand dollars of resale value to your home. And that’s a conservative estimate.
  13. Realtors say that a building’s outside appearance is a huge factor in home sales. Awnings give your home strong curb appeal.
  14. They also create unique new atmospheres. Have you ever had coffee and conversation “in the rain?” Ever lounged in a hot tub while snow drifts down around (but not on) you?
  15. Retractable awnings let you sun-bathe, eat in the shade, enjoy a sun-warmed autumn deck and watch the stars–all in the same space.
  16. They can be “strategically” used to cover unsightly rough patches on your home’s exterior, like that place where the utility man botched the repair job.
  17. Awnings add more living area: eat, talk, and entertain.
  18. When awnings are installed over windows, they make cooler, more spacious rooms inside the home, because there’s no need to fight harsh sunlight by pulling the blinds.
  19. They make the most of patio, deck, balcony, and poolside areas, making them more than stretches of bleached-blond wood and fiery concrete.
  20. Retractable awnings are environmentally friendly. They reduce electricity use, comply with EPA guidelines, and are made with sustainable materials.

Now you have a basic idea of why retractable awnings are gaining in popularity. How does it feel to have a higher awnings IQ?

Asphalt Roads protection material

Road Coating Asphalt Maintenance rejuvenator TL-2000

It is known to everyone that development of motor road network in any country reflects the potential of the country’s general economic development.

In 20th century, roads came to our homes, and at the present, every second person of us spends a half of his or her working time as a driver or passenger.

The roads we take are those enabling us to reach the necessary place fast and without time-consuming traffic jams and crashes, and in many cases this depends on the quality of road   pavement .

Asphalt concrete shows considerable strength, impermeability and resistance to water, and the ability of elastic and plastic deformation. It provides smoothness and elasticity of road  pavement , comparatively noiseless traffic, and good road grip of wheel tires.

Unfortunately, The asphalt concrete, which is one of the greatest inventions of mankind unrivalled to the present time, loses all these positive properties in 2 to 5 years after the road is built.

Since the advent of asphalt concrete, best inventors in the field of road building have been trying to prolong the asphalt concrete service life by using various traditional methods such as strengthening the material with various polymers , road  pavements  impregnation with various oils, road  pavement  reinforcement with fabric, etc.

All the above methods result in sharp increase in the road  pavement  cost, and what is even more important, deteriorate the road  pavement  properties such as road grip of wheel tires and so on.

The search of conventional solution aimed at strengthening the asphalt concrete mixtures and improvement of repair methods is being conducted day and night by leading road-building specialists of the world. However, radical solutions of this problem require another approach and another conception.

The use of material TL is exactly such a solution. The new approach is based on the simplest intention to seal off the road from the action if factors causing damage to its  pavement . This solution is a breakthrough in road building and maintenance, and material TL has corroborated its serviceability on the roads of Europe, America, Africa and Asia. The material is unique in its simple production and easy application.

TL-2000 is a black liquid single component micro-bitumen polymer composition asphalt rejuvenator to be applied to the surface of asphalt concrete road in a thin layer by pouring or spraying and subsequent spreading. A thin-film coating is thus created. The hardening time is 40 to 60 minutes (depending on the ambient temperature), i.e., in 40 to 60 minutes the road may be opened for traffic.

The method being proposed is compared with the existing ones in the table below []

TL consumption is 0.7 to 1.5kg/m^2 depending on the road  pavement  condition. Adhesion of the material to the road surface primarily occurs through chemical combination with the bitumen component.

The active gaseous component of TL penetrates into bulk of asphalt concrete to a depth of 4 cm and chemically combines with the bitumen forming a copolymer bitumen composition having the necessary plastic and elastic properties.

Except for rejuvenation, TL performs the following main functions. After its application to the road surface, and complete hardening (complete polymerization), we obtain a thin membrane coating preventing penetration of water and gases including ozone into the road  pavement  and protect the road from ultraviolet and infrared solar radiation and various chemicals.

TL-2000 does not contain solvents and does not cause any damage to the road.

The material allows an increase in the road grip of a rubber tire by about 20 to 30% and thereby considerably shortens the braking distance and improves the traffic safety.

It is possible to produce and apply coloured modifications of TL. for instance, the road section with especially dangerous traffic conditions can be made red with an increased coefficient of friction, a parking place and be made green, etc.

TL-2000 can be used not for road coating or asphalt maintenance only. The available modifications of TL allow other applications as well. For instance, the TL-S modification shows properties of rubber in addition to the above-described properties.

The material is easily and quickly applied to underground concrete surfaces by using an air compressor or with a hand brush, ensuring perfect damp sealing.

The coating does not pass water at a pressure of up to 6atm. the work is done without material heating.

All modifications based on material TL are liquid single-component compositions hardening in contact with air.

They will not freeze at temperatures of about -30C .

In sealed barrels or other containers, the material can be stored even in the open air during up to 2 years.

Thus, a highly effective new material is now available . Its main features are as follows:

1. Application of the material to asphalt concrete  pavements  of motor roads, airfields, storehouses floors, etc. ensures a considerable increase in service life of the  pavement  and imparts them impermeably and resistance to water, acids, alkalis, oils, gasoline and salt solutions.

2. It is possible to obtain colours asphalt concrete surfaces.

3. It is possible to utilize ash and various other pulverous materials.

4. Application is easy, quick, cheap and convenient.

5. All the materials used for equipment cleaning (kerosene, diesel fuel, etc.) as well as the equipment itself are not expensive or difficult to obtain.

6. Application does not require special facilities. If the volume of work is rather small, brushes or rubber spreaders can be used.

Bridge of Love

Perhaps I should have been more interested in the pending Geography lesson, but the kid who slipped into the seat next to mine tugged at my curiosity more than the teacher could.

Opening my notebook to a blank page-and on the third day of school, I did not have to dig very far to find it-I instinctively retrieved a pencil from desk as the freckled, curly-haired boy next to me did the same.

“I didn’t see you the first two days,” I said, laying the first girder of the invisible bridge that began to arch from my desk to his.

Shaking his head, he laid the second with his own words. “No,” he said, as he sharpened his pencil, “we just moved here last night, so I had to miss ’em.”

Watching him write his name on his notebook, I attempted to silently form the words with my lips, but the sounds somehow escaped through them.

“Jason Crough,” I said. “Rhymes with ‘cough.’ I had one of those at the end of the summer.”

“No,” he corrected. “It’s a little weird. Everyone thinks it sounds like ‘cough,’ but it’s really pronounced ‘crow,’ like ‘go.'”

Raising my eyebrows at the oddity, I tried to ask him where he had previously attended school, but was flooded by an audible “Shhh” from the teacher.

“All right, class,” she pronounced, as she began her sermon, “we should all be on page six of our Geography books.”

Drowned by the running water as I sat at the kitchen table in my friend’s house that evening, I once again said, “We only did part of this geography chapter today.”

Yet the release of his staccato cough forced me to repeat it.

“Are you sure you’re all right?” I asked him at length.

“Yes,” answered his mother, as she massaged a still-wet dish, tuning into the conversation as if she received it on some wavelength I had not been aware of. “He’s getting better, and I appreciate you’re helping him with what he missed today.”

Nodding, I scribbled the name of the new student on the paper. “This is what you missed,” I said, after his mother had retreated to the sink.

Coughing yet again, he said, “Jason Crough. Who’s this?”

“Just a new kid who just moved here and just started school today,” I answered. “But it’s not pronounced ‘Crough,’ like ‘off.’ It’s pronounced ‘crow,’ like ‘so.'”

Disagreeing, he spat, “No, it isn’t! It’s ‘Crough,’ like ‘cough.'” Looking toward the sink, he yelled, “Mama, look at this name,” and then lifted the paper as she approached him, forging that invisible, yet almost euphoric link with her.

“How do you pronounce this?” he asked.

Contemplating it for a few seconds, she responded, “Why ‘Crough,’ like ‘cough.'”

Craning his neck toward me and beaming triumphantly, he said, “You see!”

What I “saw” was that this was his mother-a person who had raised, nurtured, and loved him from inception and whom he therefore viewed as someone equal to God Himself-and that that was far stronger and more important than the pronunciation of any name.

Fire Exit Assembly Points

A fire is an unfortunate accident that no one can foresee. It is one of the most serious dangers within a building. Fire can break out anytime, anywhere and affects everybody in the vicinity.

It is therefore essential for any building or workplace to have the right fire exit signs installed at appropriate places. If there is a fire any regular staff or visitors who may not be aware of the layout of the building must be able to see proper signs and reach safety even in smoke or without power.

Importance of Fire Exits

The safety and timely evacuation of people from the affected site is of paramount importance during the outbreak of fire. This is possible only when appropriate fire exits signs are put up.

Any building or public area must have the adequate number of fire exits to make escape easier. Fire exit signs must be located along the route so that people can see them clearly.

These signs have FIRE EXIT printed on them along with the symbol of a running man and arrows that point to the specific direction of the exit.

What to do in case of a fire?

In case of fire in the building where you work, it is important for you to keep a cool head and not contribute to the chaos all around. Do not attempt to douse the fire all by yourself.

Use extinguishers only if you have been trained. Otherwise, you will just end up hurting yourself and others. What you can do instead is activate your nearest fire alarm point so that everybody is aware of the danger.

A fire alarm ringing through a building is indication of a fire. In case you hear the alarm, head for the nearest fire exit as calmly as you can. Do not stop to collect your belongings or try to save important documents.

Fire can spread from one section of a building to another rapidly and unexpectedly. It can become fatal if you feel that you have enough time to save those papers or gather that handbag. Always close the doors while leaving so that the fire from one room cannot spread easily to other areas.

Instead of taking a lift, take the stairs. The most important part is to remain calm and maintain discipline. Many people have died due to stampede while trying to rush out from a fire engulfed building rather than from the fire itself.

Familiarise yourself with the floor plan of your building so that you do not get lost and waste precious time in exiting the building. In case fire coordinators or fire stewards have arrived on the spot, follow their instructions carefully and help them to save your life.

Fire Assembly Points

Most buildings and public areas have certain places that are designated as fire assembly points. Follow the fire exit signs to your nearest assembly point and congregate there. This will help the building supervisors or safety officers to identify those who are missing and those who have made it safely outside.

Monitor Desk Mount

Both homeowners and businesses are increasingly using a monitor desk mount for their PC monitors to improve ergonomics. If you want to choose one or more of these mounts for your home or office, make sure that you know about the types of mounts and how to choose them.

Consider the options

When you are choosing the mount, consider all the available options based on your need:

• Do you need a monitor mount for 1 or more screens?

• The level of adjustment you require – horizontal/vertical, forward/backward, swivel, tilt and landscape/portrait monitor orientation.

• You may want to restrict pan adjustment to prevent others from getting a view of the screen.

• Does the mounting surface have any issues?

• If you have a touch screen, it will change your demands on the mount.

• Do you require the mount for screens in office, retail, or residential settings?

Once you have determined the answers to the above-mentioned points, it will become easier to choose the right monitor desk mount to meet your needs.

Types of monitor desk mount

Based on your requirements, you will find many types. However, there are a few styles and they can meet almost any type of desk mount requirements.

1. Freestanding monitor desk mount

Referred to as just “stands.” Many of the computer monitors will have a stand. However, you can find desk mounts that can lift the monitor higher or that could allow mounting multiple screens. As expected, the multi-display mounts require some work to set them up, and the single-screen mounts are easy to set up. If you choose a freestanding mount, keep in mind that they require more space. One of their main features is that they have small but heavy bases to save as much space as possible. However, their cable management system is quite efficient and helps minimize most of the clutter.

2. Attached Mounts

If you want to save more space on your desk, there is no better option than an attached monitor desk mount, and it will be even better to choose the one with a clamp system. Another type of attached mount is the one that uses bolt-through for attaching to the desk.

Attached desk mounts provide a higher level of adjustments compared to fixed stands. If you require the mounts for POS applications, you could find further options in terms of pole styles. Even more choices are available for applications involving classrooms and touch screens. You can find special designs with articulated arms that make ideal mounts for retail and other commercial settings. Besides, there are many more sophisticated designs with multiple axis adjustment features.

With so many options in desk mount, it is important you determine your requirements first before making any choice. A big advantage of so much variety is that you can eventually find a solution that best meets your demands whether you require it for a residential or commercial setting.

How to Escape a Sinking Car – With Or Without a Life Hammer

Some people wonder why I have a bright orange Life Hammer mounted on my console. Then I tell them my story and they understand.  

One memorable night two years ago I accidentally drove my car into a river. I became trapped in my car immersed in water with no way out. My escape was nothing short of a miracle. The rear window that, just moments before would not budge, suddenly shorted out and went down on its own allowing me to escape. 

Unfortunately most people are not so lucky. 

There are, however, two things you can do to help ensure that you don’t experience the terror of auto entrapment.

  1. Learn what to do in the event you are involved in a water immersion accident. 
  2. Keep a Life Hammer in your car and know how to use it. 

How To Escape A Sinking Car 

In most instances once a car enters the water it will float for 30 seconds to a few minutes before sinking. If you stay calm and take action quickly you will greatly increase your chance of survival.  

Do not attempt to open a car door. Even when the door is only partially immersed the water pressure exerted on the exterior of the door will make it almost impossible to open. 

The key to survival is to GET OUT OF THE CAR AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE. Here are the 5 steps to escape a sinking car: 

1. Try to stay calm
2. Lower your car window(s)
3. Unfasten your seat belt
4. Exit through the window
5. Swim to safety 

I cannot over emphasize the importance of getting out of the car quickly. I hear far too many tragic stories where people stay in their vehicle hoping it will float until help arrives. This is almost always a death sentence. It takes an emergency squad at least 20 minutes to arrive (usually longer) and the car will sink long before they get there. 

But what if your windows and doors won’t open? 

Most people don’t know that car windows are made of tempered glass and are extremely difficult to break. You can literally pound on a car window with a hammer without breaking it. 

If you can find a sharp object like the edge of a screw driver and strike the corner of a side window hard enough it may break. However, it takes very little effort to break a car window with an emergency tool like the original Life Hammer. It has a conically shaped hardened steel tip that will easily shatter a tempered glass window. 

To use a Life Hammer simply remove it from the mounting bracket, protect your eyes by covering them with one hand, then swing the Life Hammer against the corner of a side or rear car window. The window will shatter and you can use the LifeHammer to push any remaining glass out of the way.   

The Last Resort

If you don’t have a Life Hammer and you can’t locate a sharp object there is one last resort. It is possible to open your car door under water once the interior is filled with water. This equalizes the pressure inside and out allowing the door to open.  

To employ this method you must first make sure the door is unlocked well before the car is filled with water. Pulling the door handle two times in most cars will accomplish this. When the interior is almost full, take a deep breath, pull the handle and then push the door open.   

 How To Cut a Jammed Seat Belt

The Life Hammer also has a safely guarded blade built into it that will quickly slice through a jammed seat belt. Just hook the blade over the seat belt and pull hard to cut through.

Types of Ceramic Tile

According to the experts, there are three main types of ceramics, as determined by the composition of the material, and the type of firing used to make it. When you are choosing decorative ceramic tile for your home, you need to understand the difference between them, as they each have quite different properties and uses.

How are ceramics made?

Ceramics are derived from a mixture of natural substances, including clay and sand. Chemically, the compounds in these substances are complex silicates. It is the elements other than silicon and oxygen that determine the properties of the ceramics that are made from them. For example, the presence of iron in the silicate causes a red-orange color.

When the silicates are subjected to very high temperatures ( 900 to 1400°C ), the water present in the original compounds is driven out, allowing chemical bonding between the layers of the silicate. This gives the ceramic structural strength which the original material did not have.

What are the three types of ceramic tile?

  1. Earthenware is porous, opaque, and easily scratched. But it is a popular ceramic used by hobbyists to make pottery, since it is easy to form into bowls or vases. The firing process can be done in a home kiln, in which the temperature varies from 900°C ( red ) to 1100°C ( yellow-orange ). When not used for pots, it may be called quarry tile, or terracotta.
  2. Stoneware is non-porous, and after firing it has a very smooth surface. It is difficult to scratch, so is used for cooking and tableware. And it is also the ceramic most commonly used for decorative ceramic tile.
  3. Porcelain is also non-porous and has a smooth surface, but it is much harder than stoneware, and is glassier. This is caused by being fired at a much higher temperature ( 1200 to 1400°C ).

There are several terms that are often used incorrectly, and may cause confusion. Sometimes they are used to describe a type of ceramic tile, but they are really terms used to describe a characteristic or use of the tile.

Glazed tiles may be ceramic tiles of any type. The term “glazed” simply means that they are coated with glass-forming minerals that are glossy, and frequently colored. This process water-proofs the tiles, and makes them stain-resistant.

Mosaic tiles are not a different type of ceramic material. They are tiles that are usually small in size, so they can be used to make a “mosaic” – a decoration or picture. They can be made not only of ceramic material, but also of glass, natural stone, or even metal.

Ceramic tile can be used in the home in many ways, but that is not the topic of this article. Suffice it to say that now that you are familiar with the various types of ceramic, you should find it easier to choose decorative ceramic tile for whatever application you require.

Barbecue Cleaning Made Simple

During the early part of the year, a journey around the garden leaves us looking at the remains of last years outdoor cooking activities. Often, our grills are left outside in the elements, uncovered, and in many cases have seen far better days.

It is this time of year that we start to think about cooking our favourite barbecue food outside during the warmer months with our friends and family, but before we are ready to start throwing charcoal and fire-lighters onto the barbecue, it is time to turn our attention to cleaning our cooking hardware in order to get things off to a hygienic start.

BBQ cleaning methods

Wire brushing

A stiff wire brush is a huge help in cleaning your grill. Simply give your rack a thorough scrubbing before and after each use. If you have used oil to coat your rack, getting the grill clean should be easy with a brush alone. Brass-bristle brushes are especially good for cleaning porcelain-coated grills since they won’t damage the porcelain.

Grill Stones

Grill stones are specially designed to help get grease and stuck-on food off of your grill. They look similar to a large pumice stone with a handle to help make scrubbing easier and is also an excellent heat convector like volcanic rock, ceramic tiles etc. The main difference with a grill stone is that it has no holes, and because of this feature, it greatly reduces the chance of flare-ups and poor cooking. Grill stones are capable of withstanding incredible heat, up to 2000 degrees Fahrenheit. Grill stones are ideal for use on most shapes and sizes of grill as the stones design allows it to work with almost any grill format.

Burning off

This is one of the most common methods of cleaning BBQ grills/grates. All you have to do is leave your barbecue on after cooking once all your food has been removed. Once you have done this for around quarter of an hour, allow the grill to cool down for around 5 minutes and then use an old trowel, or flat piece of metal and gently scrape both sides of the grill to remove the sticky hard residue. Please be aware that ceramic grills can get damaged very easily if too much force is applied with sharp objects, so be careful with your choice of tools.

If you have an old metal kitchen utensil, such as an egg-flipper, these are ideal tools to make the job safer and easier.

However, you should be careful that this method is not prohibited by the grill manufacturer in order that you don’t accidentally void your warranty.

Please ensure your own safety if you use this method by wearing a suitable pair of cooking mitts, or specialised heat resistant gloves.


If all else fails, letting your grill racks soak in warm water will help loosen stubborn dirt and food remnants. This can be good for getting the edges of your racks, which are often difficult to scrub properly, really clean.

Oiling the grill

A good way to reduce the pain of cleaning a barbecue is to prevent the worst of the residue from sticking to the grill in the first place. To do this, coat your rack with a layer of oil before you start to cook. This will help you to keep your food from burning and sticking to the grill and will also make cleaning the grill afterwards much easier. Remember to only spray oil onto a cold grill. Spraying onto a fire or hot grill will cause the oil to flare up and could cause serious injury.

Steam cleaning

If you use your barbecue on several occasions throughout the year why not invest in a steam cleaner? This will speed up the time taken to clean your barbecue after use and can be very effective indeed; therefore if you are fed up with scrubbing to remove the BBQ residue, an investment in a steam cleaner can be very useful and time saving.

When you having finished cooking your food, soak an old newspaper in water and place it on top of your warmed grill with the lid firmly shut. After about three quarters of an hour, open the lid and wipe off the residue. Don’t let the newspaper sit on the grill rack for too long, as it will dry out and create even more work for you.

Preventative measures to keep your BBQ clean

Using a cover on your barbecue

The number one way to help keep your barbecue clean is to simply purchase, or make, a cover to place on your unit while it is not in use. In order to give your barbecue some protection from the elements it’s a good idea to cover it with a plastic sheet, or preferably a manufacturers cover that is specifically designed to do the job properly as they generally have a tighter fit and are more effective.

During the winter months you may also remove the grill and store it in a dry place away from the damp and the elements. This will decrease the speed at which the rust forms, and you will benefit the most by doing this in conjunction with the oiling method mentioned above.

This helps to inhibit rust during the months when your barbecue is not in regular use.

The foil “tray”

Now that you have the basics of cleaning the grill covered, you should now turn your attention to cleaning the internals of the barbecue.

After several uses, there is a fair amount of gunk left at the bottom that hasn’t benefited particularly from being left outside in the elements. Over time, this build-up can become unhygienic as well as an additional chore for you to deal with.

Charcoal grills suffer the most from this, and the best way to deal with it without spending a great deal of money is to first clean the inside of the barbecue properly by removing the hard and dry residue first using an old dustpan a brush (something all of us should have in the garage somewhere), and then removing the stuck-on dirt from the edges of the grill using general household cleaners. There are plenty of specific BBQ cleaners available, though these can cost two or three times as much as regular household cleaners. Feel free to give them a try, though from experience, regular cleaners perform the task adequately.

Simply spray on a decent amount of the fluid and allow it to soak in properly for around 10 minutes, then gently scrape off the worst of the build-up with a plastic scraper. Once you have got this far you are ready to lay in the kitchen foil.

Use a decent quality kitchen foil, the thicker the better, and triple layer it and turn in the edges so it looks like a tray. Place this into the bottom of your grill, and then add about a quarter-inch deep layer of sand into it. This will help to absorb the fat and excess juices that drain from the grill during cooking, and make your life MUCH easier in the long run.

After several uses, simply remove the whole tray and discard it. Give the inside of the grill a quick brush and wipe, and insert another of your home-made foil trays to keep your BBQ clean for the next few uses.

If you don’t mind spending a little extra money, you can use a catering foil tray and dispose of it after every few uses… just use common sense and get rid of it when it appears well past its best.

Another tip you can try, is to pour leftover coffee on the grill. Clean off with a dry cloth. For a really good clean, spray the grill with your regular oven cleaner and leave it in a plastic garbage bag overnight. Hose it down the next day, and you should have a gleaming grill that is ready to use.

You can also add vinegar or dish washing lotion to the water for additional cleaning power.

Another well-used grill cleaning method is to simply rub the grill in the sand. This will remove most of the grease, etc. Once you have done this, hose down the grill. Depending on how caked the grill is, you may have to repeat this process 2 or 3 or times, but it is worth the effort.

Gas taps often become hard to use during the colder months, causing plastic knobs to crack and in the worst cases, break. Remove the plastic knobs and spray the area with a light oil to loosen them. You can also try using a small amount of machine oil to each tap and then cover them with a light grease to prevent the oil from escaping.

If one or more of your burners doesn’t produce a strong blue flame then it may be because a gas jet has become clogged.

If you lift the burner out of the barbecue you will see small brass nozzles called venturis. These are like a small raised nut with a tiny hole through them. They can be simply removed with a small spanner. If you can’t clear the blockage, buy new nozzles ones from a specialist supplier.

Insects tend to nest inside venturis when they are not in use, and the openings can become blocked. Use a venturi brush to clean the openings of the venturis. If you won’t be using your grill for a long time, consider using some venturi covers to prevent anything from getting inside.

Reconnect the gas supply and check the connections by coating them with a 1:1 mix of dishwasher liquid and water. Any failings in the gas supply will be easily detected at this point and you will know that you will need to do something about repairing it. You can start off by tightening the connections or replacing the seals, and if this doesn’t work, then you should replace the faulty unit as per the manufacturers instructions or return it to your local service centre.

Barbecues with wooden trolleys can be kept in fine fettle by re-oiling them once a year. All you have to do is give the trolley a gently sanding with some high grit paper and then use a suitable furniture oil or a specially formulated barbecue trolley oil. This will not only soak through oil stains on the top of your trolley but help prevent new stains from forming.

Volcanic rocks need care too, if you use them. Ensure that you clean or renew them every year as they always become clogged with fat and oil. Remember to discard the old sand from the drip tray, clean the tray and give it a spray of cooking oil before lining it with aluminium foil. Place new washed sand on top of the foil to help keep it clean.

If your volcanic rocks are showing signs of cracking, you can replace them you may consider replacing them with porcelain briquettes. These disc-shaped “rocks” are less porous than volcanic rocks and they are considerably easier to keep clean.

If you live near the sea or in an area where the salt-air density is high, please note that will need to take extra time and precautions to ensure that your grill is not unduly subjected to the elements which will invariably lead to failing components and rust.

Wash the outer surface periodically with fresh water and dry it off straight away for the best results.

Government Contract Proposal Writing Tips

Federal contracts are a very lucrative business. However, learning how to acquire projects takes time, effort and investment. Proposal writing for government contracts is by no means a simple process. However, if you attempt to respond to the agency’s Request for Proposal (RFP), you will have to bring more to the table than just having a good technical writer. The reality is that the “status quo” no longer gets the win. You have to do more than the basic RFP requirements.

Agencies are now leaning towards trade-offs to justify their best value determinations. Lowest price does not necessarily get the award. As former government contracting officials and members of source selection teams, we have actually reviewed eloquent proposals and perfected efforts by technical writers – we know firsthand that only the proposals that have substance and give the government added value and what source-selection officials want to know actually win the contract. The agency wants to feel like it is getting a good deal – not just reviewing bids with the basic solicitation criteria.

Reasons Why Government Proposals Fail: The first thing to consider when responding to a multi-million dollar offer is whether you have the budget to do what it takes to win. Successful companies spend anywhere from $13K to $20K for proposal writing services for a contract valued anywhere from $1M-5M. Never just cut and paste old proposals for an upcoming project. Agencies spot templated responses from a mile away and automatically put your package proposal to the bottom of the pile.

When responding to a government Request for Proposal, we have found that the following summarizes why proposal fail.

1. The response is not specific and to the point. Government RFP preparation requires the bidder to articulate the key areas to the solicitation. Never try to write a book and expect the agency to understand what you are trying to say. Proposal writers must be very specific and to the point.

2. Too much focus on “we can do the work” instead of “how we are going to do the work.” When grading proposals, the government places a significant emphasis and weight on the bidder’s technical approach. You have to spell out HOW you actually perform each phase of the Statement of Work. Summarizing will not help you.

3. No emphasis on your risk management and quality assurance. One of the fatal mistakes in government contract proposal writing is that bidders miserably fail to address and highlight their risk management and quality assurance. The government is not going to award a contract worth millions and never pay attention to the risk involved. Each proposal writer that understands government contracting must include risk management into the response to the solicitation. If you don’t, then your competition certainly will.

4. Failure to understand best value considerations. In federal contracts, price alone is not the criteria for award and neither is past performance. Sometimes, agencies will consider a price/ past performance trade-off when considering awards. However, effective proposal writing includes more than just these factors. Congress has suggested that taxpayers’ money should get the “best bang”. Since the government generally buys commercial services and products, bidding on government contracts should incorporate factors commonly used in the commercial industry. This includes warranties, discounts for volume, accelerated schedules etc. At Watson & Associates, our success stems from the ability to help you to see the big picture in federal procurement and educate the agency when writing government proposals.

5. Relying too heavily on teaming partners and subcontractors. Failure to understand that teaming rule can be the kiss of death in government proposal writing. Many companies that offer proposal writing services do not understand how to avoid this commonly-made mistake. Although FAR 9.6 allows for teaming and subcontracting, there are also limitations on subcontracting. When proposing a subcontractor or teaming partner, you have to understand the legal limitations. Failure to correctly propose your team can subject you to a bid protest based upon affiliation. Bidding on government contracts means that the prime contractor (you) must perform the required percentage of labor costs and not pass through the critical aspects of the project. This is yet another reason why our experience as bid protest and government contract attorneys adds value to our proposal writing services.

As a general rule, there are ten basic principles that will put you on the right track to success in government RFP and proposal writing

1. Always learn, learn and learn again the nature of the government’s problem. If you cannot understand and respond to the agency’s problem, you simply will end up with an eloquently written document with no substance and lacking depth. The federal government publicizes its opportunities in a series of solicitations. As an effective proposal writer, you have to read, reread and understand the solicitation. For example, average responses to a Request for Proposal (for medical supplies) simply inject paragraphs of how committed to customer service the bidder maybe; then, the bidder simply submits its pricing and past performance. The winning proposal uses a different strategy. Instead of drowning the RFP response with ‘fluff’, the experienced proposal consultant will advise his client to first discuss the industry and problems associated with this particular industry including problems experienced by other customers – this sets the stage for letting the government know that you are ahead of the competition. You then describe how you can prevent these problems and describe what if anything you will do to minimize risk (this substantiates cost and shows additional value to the government.)

2. Never think that the government has no idea of what your service or product costs. Successful bidders understand the theory of the independent government estimate. The procurement rules require the government to establish some sort of estimate. Most agencies do their homework. However, some still use the outdated methodology that puts potential bidders at risk. Caution: The method arriving at the government estimate does not always work in your favor – the agency should conduct research in the commercial sector to see what similar products and services cost. Unfortunately, many agencies simply rely on other agency pricing to come up with the government estimate.

3. Always focus on beating your competitor. This is a mindset that swallows up inexperienced proposal writing staff. Many simply focus on responding to ‘only what the solicitation calls for’ and nothing more. At best, this line of thinking will get you within the competitive range but not win the award.

Our proposal writing consultants teach our successful clients to focus on beating the competitor while still addressing the government’s need – nothing else matters. Yes, you always have to respond to the criteria accurately as set forth in the solicitation. However, this sets the stage (and a common trap) for only the basic requirements. Be mindful that your competition is also responding to the same RFP. You have to outperform them to get the award.

As you respond to each section of the RFP, always ask yourself, “what is your adversary going to write?” If you don’t ask this question, you will undoubtedly find out during a debriefing of notice of non-selection for the bid.

4. For successful government proposal writing, you must have a thorough understanding of the procurement rules. To say otherwise is analogous to applying for a job at a large corporation without knowing anything about the company. Many companies hire proposal writers who have no clue, or even a basic understanding of the rules involved with procurement.

For example, many government contract proposals require you to discuss your teaming partners and subcontractors. More specifically, to discuss the roles and percentages of the contract. Many companies dive into this head-on without knowing the rules and laws of teaming and subcontracting. The result is that many companies subject themselves to losing a bid protest for violation of the NAICS standards.

A second example is failure to understand the trade-off process. The contracting officer and the agency have wide discretion when determining what is a good deal for the government. When you fail to add more best-value considerations, you typically hand more discretion for trade-off determinations. If you don’t give the agency something to consider, over and beyond price and past performance, your proposal will fail.

5. Unrealistic Proposal Pricing – Always be modest on profit. The old saying that you can price yourself out of business applies to government contracting. As experienced proposal writing consultants, we advise our clients to stay within certain allowable percentages depending on the industry. However, a good proposal writing strategy is to substantiate your pricing proposal by explaining critical processes and the costs associated with them. Assert common industry practice and justify your prices. Never allow the government to guess at why your pricing is high or low. If you can compete with an extra low price, your proposal response should explain why your company can perform at such low prices. The solicitation may expressly state that too low of a price may indicate that you do not understand the proposal requirements. Do not give the government contracting department this luxury.

6. You must describe the ‘horsepower’ behind your company – Aka, Management Approach. This is a critical part of the proposal writing process. Successful bidders learn to how to write effective resumes specifically for federal RFPs. Simply put, traditional resumes don’t lead to awards. The government wants in-depth information about the ‘top brass’ in your organization. Remember, technical proposals are weighted heavily when bidding on government contracts. Always talk about your key personnel, their experience and how they will participate in this government project.

7. In Government Proposal Writing never discuss your weaknesses. This is one of the most common traps in government contract proposal writing. When you see language in the solicitation that asks you to describe past problems and how you handled them – warning, tread lightly.

For example, if you missed project schedules in a previous construction project, you may simply want to use another project for past performance and discuss it. The government does not want to award a construction project to a company that has a history (even if only once) of missing deadlines.

The better proposal writing approach is to discuss potential problems in this specific project and then discuss how you intend to overcome them.

8. Never expect to get a million dollar contract for pennies. As mentioned proposal writing and development for a multi-million dollar contract is based upon a convincing RFP response. Bluntly put, a degree in English will not get you a multi-million dollar contract. You have to realistically budget for success. Although the skill of a technical writer is critical to the federal proposal writing process, there is a huge difference – experience and knowledge of the rules.

9. Secure proposal writers that understand the procurement rules and the source selection process. This is a distinguishing factor when looking to hire a proposal development outsourcing staff.

10. Learn how to pick qualified proposal writers. The Internet is swamped with proposal writers for government contracts. However, picking the most qualified ones is the tricky part. Many shoppers typically want to know how many proposals a person has written in that specific industry; or what is their success rate.

To be frank – proposal writers do not have to be technically experienced in your industry. There are regulated rules in the bidding process. Understand those rules, trade-off strategies and how to present your package in a convincing manner are the cornerstones of bidding on federal government contracts.

When you are looking for QUALIFIED PROPOSAL WRITER OR CONSULTANT, here are relevant points to consider:

  • Level of experience in federal government contracting
  • Have them describe important issues when writing about best value
  • The level of experience they have in responding to government RFPs that involve teaming partners or subcontractors
  • Ask what does the government need to know about a prospective bidder to set a high impression

Understand that prior win rates do not guarantee a win in this effort. Most businesses seek proposal writers based on their win rates – only to lose in this particular effort. As government contract lawyers, we also get the same question – what is your win rate? Not only is this misleading but the analysis and inference of prior win rates can be negative. The question to ask is how would you guide my company into possibly winning this project?

Each RFP is unique and the focus must be specific to the proposal at hand – how are you going to attack the solicitation and submit a winning proposal on THIS project?

  • Agencies look for different things in their solicitations
  • Not all agencies follow the FAR (See FDIC)
  • Rating criteria is different in virtually all RFPs
  • Lowest price (alone) is not the statutory requirement for award in federal contracts
  • High- Caliber Advice Sets You Apart from Your Competitors

GPS Container and Cargo Tracking Systems Are the Future of Container Security

GPS container cargo tracking customers cover the full range of stakeholders in the global logistics business, the 3 types of customer are:

1. Governments. These are increasingly concerned with eliminating dump-age from containers so as to ensure they collect the full taxation due on cargo. In particular, governments of countries who are handling containers in transit are keen to ensure they collect necessary custom and tax duties. Another driver is security. Governments are worried about the movement of illegal / dangerous materials / items inside inter modal containers. Lastly, governments are trending to ‘single window’ type operations whereby all data relevant to the movement of cargo is contained within a single platform, this includes for example, integrating manifest information with xray scans and location data.

2. Logistics Service Providers. These range from niche providers who specialize in the movement of certain types of goods, to large scale shippers of manufactured goods. LSPs are concerned with security of shipments as well as providing added value customer service.

3. Beneficial Cargo Owners. Increasingly the recipient or owner of the goods is turning to container tracking service providers to provide simple technology to monitor and locate their container loads. This could involve monitoring the container whilst in transit or whilst it is at a container port terminal.

Most of these customers want to get maximum benefits with minimal effort. Whilst the technology performs its task well, the key element of the system is the ‘human factor’. It is important that customer should be ready to ensure that the equipment is attached and activated correctly, and when the cargo arrives, that there is someone reliable who can ensure the hardware is returned to the start of the logistics chain so as to repeat the process.

Companies offer different kinds of equipment for container tracking. We ensure every customer get a device what fit their needs (which information they want to know). Governments – these customers mainly use the most integrated systems. These include RFID networks at port terminals combined with container mounted tracking devices and sensors. Logistics service providers and Beneficial Cargo Owners – these customers want a self contained, ‘easy on – easy off’ devices that can be fixed to the container. Some of these customers do not want to open the container door after they have been sealed, so we supply devices that are fitted to the outside of the container.

The main benefits are:

1. Security of container doors. The ability have immediate alerts of unauthorized door opening sent to the manager of the container movement operation. This information can also be stored on the device itself for analysis later if a realtime data channel isn’t available.

2. Tracking. Customer can use the realtime location information to generate a wealth of management information.

3. Container Monitoring. We supply devices that include a number of telemetry sensors that can detect light entering into the container – useful if the container is being sabotaged; temperature monitoring – useful for reefer type containers, and also an accelerometer to report if the container has been dropped.

There are a number of business models for customers:

1. BOT. For governments we can supply all the equipment on a build, operate, transfer basis whereby the purchase is financed in return for a concession agreement to operate the system. We can train in country staff in the system.

2. Outright Purchase. We offer this to all customer who wish to make a capital purchase on equipment. We then provide support and maintenance agreements to ensure the equipment can reach its maximum operational lifespan.

3. Lease Rental. We have developed a very unique service whereby a customer can rent the system on an as needed basis. We price this based on numbers of containers and length of transit. This offer is very attractive to beneficial cargo owners and logistics service providers.

Air Conditioner Reviews

 Air   Conditioner  Reviews usually take BTU and EER numbers into account. BTU stands for British Thermal Units, and these numbers can range from 5,000 to 18,000. The higher the BTU of an  air   conditioner , the more powerful it is at cooling. But it also increases the cost of the  air   conditioner . Normally, the BTU of an  air   conditioner  required for cooling a room is calculated by multiplying the square foot area of the room by 35.

EER stands for Energy Efficiency Ratio. These numbers indicate the amount of energy they consume. An  air   conditioner  with a higher EER will use less energy and hence will save money on electricity bills. EER numbers range from 8.2 to 10.5.

The brand leaders in the  air   conditioner  market are Carrier, Kenmore, Whirlpool, Samsung, LG, Sharp, Panasonic and Friedrich. All are available in a wide range of BTU and EER ratings. Carrier  air   conditioners  are by far the best. They are known for their extreme noiseless function, quick cooling and long lives of compressor and condenser. Carrier  air   conditioners  are also the most expensive  air   conditioners  in the market. Some of the newer Carrier models have replaced the environmentally harmful Freon-22 with Puron, a less polluting liquid.

Kenmore  air   conditioners  also have excellent reviews in the  air   conditioner  market. They are known for their high cooling capacities and extremely well advanced EERs, which cut electricity costs. Also their designs are quite sleek and contemporary, giving them the added edge over other  air   conditioners .

Whirlpool and LG also have good reputations, but they do better business in Asia. They are both reliable, trusted brands with good quality  air   conditioners  at a comparatively lower price.

Due to the tremendous competition in the market of  air   conditioners , each brand spends millions of dollars in researching and perfecting new features every summer. Friedrich  air   conditioners  have devised a money-saver feature, which saves electricity bills by making the fan move in synchronization with the cycle of the  air   conditioner  itself. Most companies now use dehumidifiers and fragrances in their air conditioning ducts to lend them an added appeal.