Monday, April 29, 2013

New Composite Can Strengthen Seawalls

Our seawalls are not in good shape.

This normally wouldn't be the most newsworthy bombshell if the US hasn't had five straight years of climate shift, including rising sea levels affecting previously unaffected regions (see: "Sandy, Hurricane").

Your average seawall is mostly concrete, vulnerable
to erosion and weathering.
So, in considering the changing weather-scape, and just how ill-prepared the highly populous areas of this country are to even understand just how vulnerable they are right now, yyyeah our seawalls are not good.  Outdated and more importantly, too expensive to make with materials that are too porous to be considered adequate for inevitable flooding.

Back in the 20th century, we used concrete and wood.  Nowadays we use polyester resins, glass-based that need a gel coating to block water effectively.  Even then, the average life for polyester seawalls is a mere 25 years.  More recently, manufacturers have been turning to polyurethene resins, a much stronger ingredient for composite sheet piles, but they've so far been too expensive to use on a large scale.

This pure polyurethane resin seawall is laced with Bayer's
new PURloc composite. 
Enter Bayer MaterialScience, who, in collaboration with Gulf Synthetics, crafted PURloc; a synthetic resin made with Bayer's polyurethane system designed to be the strongest seawall material yet.  Using a process called pultrusion, Bayer experts were able to inject pure polyurethane resin into every dense layer of the sheet pile.  The result is seawall material stronger and more elastic than Gulf's newest brand, as well as cheaper because of the pultrusion process.

Gulf Synthetics is currently putting the PURloc composite sheet piles to work in areas of New York and the Cayman Islands.  If it proves its worth, this could be an exciting new development, as well as an opportunity to re-manufacture a much-needed product for the immediate future.

Donal Thoms-Cappello is a freelance writer for Rotor Clip Company.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

GM Announces 4G WiFi In Vehicles Starting 2014:

The 2013 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona was chock full of announcements and events.  Cloud technology proved to be more integral to the standard mobile product.  WiFi moved in industry discussions from alternative platform to legitimate profit-potential.  And some dude recapped the past year where he worked exclusively from his mobile.

To me, though, one announcement stood out from these:

General Motors revealed it plans to install 4G wireless modems in vehicles of all its brands, beginning in 2014 with Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and its Opex/Vauxhill brand in Europe.  This means that starting next year, American consumers will be able to buys cars that double as internet hotspots, ones GM pledges will apply to any brand of smartphone, tablet, or other mobile device.

"You'll be able to get in the back seat with your iPad, go to your hotspot, and do anything that you could do on any other hotspot," Greg Ross of GM's Connected Consumer Group says in an interview with Design News. "You could do voice calls or you could surf the Internet and watch Netflix in the backseat.", (to which a nation of parents trying to keep their kids quiet in the back seat rejoices, I guess....?)

Now there are bound to be a couple hitches; one of which is potentially pretty costly.  As any of us who voraciously replace our internet devices every year know, software improves rather quickly (we have Moore's Law to thank for that, although some would dispute its endurance). Automobiles, however, are designed for over a decade of use.  It follows that by the time you're a long-term owner of one of GM's vehicles, you may find its technology a little outdated with what is offered on the new generation of brands.

Personally, I don't think that's going to be too much of an issue in the long run.  The breakthrough here is your car being a wi-fi hotspot:  that basic feature is enough to keep an owner happy for a very very long time, regardless of future innovations.  Yet, it remains to be seen how sweet a deal this move makes for potential customers.  GM repeats the specific mention of streaming Netflix in their press release, and I'm not so sure entertainment is the biggest draw here.  Passengers already have quite a lot to entertain them in a car; it's not as if I can't watch a movie on a DVD or hook up my iPod to my vehicle's stereo system because I've been able to do that for almost a decade now.  This move is about fulfilling the wish of the customer who wants to use instant internet access to be productive in transit.  How much do we as a society prioritize that?  GM- and the rest of the industry- will soon find out.

Donal Thoms-Cappello is a freelance writer for Rotor Clip Company.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Wraptillion Retail Company Uses Rotor Clip Rings In Jewelry Products

We here at Rotor Clip don't normally view our product as anything "retail-related".  Not that it would be a bad thing; as a matter of fact, the world would be a much easier place for us if buyers could simply pick up our products at their local Target.  Alas, the marketing mastermind for that trick hasn't come along yet.

Thankfully, Kelly Jones, owner of Wraptillion, has done even better than that.  Jones' company crafts handmade jewelry out of industrial parts made in America and titanium material from aerospace manufacturers.  What sort of industrial parts?  Well we don't like to brag but:

Wraptillion's Wisteria Earring line was a finalist in
NICHE Magazine's annual awards for "Fashion Jewelry"
Yup, those are Rotor Clip-made retaining rings as the centerpiece of various lines of earrings, pendants, and necklaces borne from the imaginative ingenuity of Ms. Jones and her team.  Her Wisteria earrings line (right) was recently chosen as a finalist in NICHE Magazine's 2013 "NICHE Awards", which recognize artists who provide creative products in the fine craft and retail industries.  Clearly those in her field recognize how important Ms Jones blending of aesthetics and engineering is for both the American retail and manufacturing sectors in relevance and cooperation.

Wraptillion products can be found in stores all over regions of the US like Seattle, Minneapolis, and Portland, Oregon.  A full list of retail locations can be found here.

Donal Thoms-Cappello is a freelance writer for Rotor Clip Company.