By Christopher A. Sawyer
Dan Gurney not only has a reputation as one of America’s greatest racing drivers and team owners, but as an intellectually curious man. Now 84 years old, Gurney is not sitting on the sidelines waiting for the inevitable, he’s hard at work on a new project, the Moment Cancelling 4 Stroke (MC4S) engine. Only he’s not willing to talk in any detail about the project, waiting for the first test engine to be built and tested before he gores beyond what little he’s already said. The patent application for the engine is up on the All American Racers website, but little else is known about the project.
After speaking with those familiar with the situation, it’s apparent his silence means only one thing: He’s on to something. After reading the patent, slogging through its legalese, and ignoring the straight-cut gears shown in the patent drawings, it’s pretty obvious they’re right. The MC4S is not only a perfect fit for motorcycles and light aircraft, but for an increasing number of cars and light truck applications as well. Its natural balance and impressive estimated power figures point to a design that is as at home under the hood of a sports or luxury car as it is next to the battery pack of a range-extended EV. However, Gurney isn’t about to get caught up in speculation.
By Christopher A. Sawyer
After a three-mont pilot program, 3D smart glasses are now standard equipment for logistics personnel at VW’s Wolfsburg assembly plant. The glasses place all necessary information, like storage location or part number, in the user’s field of view, and can be activated either by touch or voice. The camera mounted in the glasses frame also acts as a barcode reader, and correct barcodes on parts removed from the storage location are shown in green while parts incorrectly removed are shown in red. Currently, 30 employees in various areas are working with the smart glasses, and other departments, plants and brands within the VW Group plan to use the glasses. — CAS
The folks at DuPont are in the midst of launching a new family of in-mold electronic inks that will reduce the need for rigid circuit boards in many products. These inks make it possible to print circuits directly onto plastic substrates, and can withstand the rigors of both thermoforming and injection molding. This means they can be used for items like electronic buttons, switches and slides, and integrated into their design. This will reduce both the weight and cost of these parts (by up to 20% and 50%, respectively), as well as providing design and manufacturing advantages. Assembly is made easier as there is only a single connection point, and no wires behind the console. — CAS
Land Rover suggests this is an amazing feat for its Range Rover SUV, but it is more an example of the the brilliance of the architectural arch and of the ancient Romans for recognizing its importance in making strong, lightweight bridges.
Like theses ancient bridges, the span Land Rover created in Suzhou, China, was constructed over a temporary falsework frame called a centring. Over this was laid 54,390 sheets of high quality paper supplied by Britain’s James Cropper PLC. It took three days to complete the bridge.
Controlled Power Technologies (CPT) has created a system that uses two low voltage switched reluctance (SR) motor-generators to reduce fuel consumption and emissions while avoiding the cost and complexity of a high voltage plug-in hybrid drive system.
According to Nick Pascoe chief executive CPT: “Computer simulations based on our LC Super Hybrid technology demonstrator indicate an impressive 26% improvement in fuel economy for a large family [sedan] when the rear axle is boosted with low voltage electrical power.”
CPT combines its engine-mounted SpeedStart starter-generator with its axle-mounted SpeedTorq unit. The starter-generator handles electric boosting and regenerative braking, while the use of two switched reluctance units allows greater electric boosting in tandem with driveline “downspeeding”.