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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Editors' Choice: Facilities

Helping keep track of tools, keeping your technical staff cool, and other ways to ensure peace of mind is what our editors found when we asked what improvements could be made to facilities.

Snap-on Industrial Introduces Level 5 ATC Tool Control

Precise, efficient tool control can mean the difference between success or failure. Snap-on Industrial has introduced the Level 5 ATC Tool Control System. The system uses digital imaging technology and is designed with a keyless entry, PC-based database. Each user as an assigned ID or key card embedded with a user-specific code allowing the unit to know who has accessed the system at all times. Digital imaging is used to scan each item removed or returned. An audio system announces tool issue and return. User log data and time-date information is available for every transaction. “The Lever 5 ATC system ensures that people throughout the network know the status of tools and equipment. This means workers can be assured the tool they need is on hand and available immediately and managers have an extra measure of confidence that critical assets are being well-supervised,” says Pat McDevitt, manager, business development for Snap-on Industrial. “Companies will see the value of this system the first day it is deployed.” The Level 5 ATC System can be synchronized to individual or multiple boxes and can pull data and images from each selected tool box. The system can create reports, do tool searches, alert for broken tools and tools out of calibration and check tool custody. Snap-on Industrial, 1-877-762-3267, www.snapon.com

Be Cool with Big Ass Fans

Building 1244 at NASA’s Langley Research Center is a large facility housing a docking simulator once used to teach astronauts of the Gemini Project how to dock the lunar module. Cutting-edge technology still happens in this building located in Hampton, Va., known for hot, humid summer days. Because air-conditioning was impractical for the 90,000-square-foot facility with 100-foot ceilings, the facility coordinator went looking for a solution to help deal with the hot summer temperatures. The Big Ass Fan’s design creates large volumes of air to move off the fan blade and allows the fans to operate efficiently at lower speeds. These slow-moving fans generate a large column of air equal to the diameter of the fan. The air columns are pushed downward, then hit the floor, and the air radiates outward until it hits a wall and is pushed back up to the ceiling. Over time that airflow gains momentum and creates a continuous breeze. The fans use just five cents of electricity per hour with their one-horsepower motor. The variable speed controls preserve the life of the motor by reducing torque on start-up. Butch Lilly, senior facilities system engineer at Lang- ley, said the fans were easy to install and added, “We had dead air but now there’s an actual light breeze in the building in all the corners.” Big Ass Fans, 877-244-3267, www.bigassfans.com

Machida Offers Small Diameter Borescope

Earlier this year, Machida Borescopes introduced the smallest diameter videoscope in the world, the VSC-3-140-N, according to Jitu Patel, vice president. “Because engines don’t have large access areas, the smaller the diameter, the better. This 3mm outer diameter allows access to all areas of an engine, even the smallest cavity,” says Patel. He adds that the small bending radius allows the user the ability to look all around in the cavity as well. In addition to the size, the scope has full screen presentation with image enhancement and portable image archiving. “The unit comes with a 15 inch flat screen, long life LED lights, SD card and is easy to use,” he says.

Machida Borescopes, 1-845-365-0600, www.machidascope.com

Hydraulics Keep It Simple for Clear-Max Door

The challenge with any large door is the power system and the integrity of the structure. The job of the operator for opening a door 20 feet or wider is raising the door panel smoothly and reliably in minimal time. That heavy lifting takes a toll on the motors and mechanics. Wilson Doors has a solution for large doorways with the introduction of their new durable Clear-Max. The door features superior cold-formed steel tube construction with convenient push-button hydraulic operation. The single panel on the Clear-Max opens in a single arching motion. When the door is fully open and perpendicular with the doorway the Clear-Max requires only six inches of headroom. The drive system on the Clear-Max is simple—just two hydraulic cylinders, a pump, motor and control box. All components are low-maintenance and efficient. A single push-button actuates the system to easily raise and lower the door panel. When closed, the hydraulic cylinders keep the door panel snug against the building for a very tight seal.

Wilson Doors, 1-800-558-5974, www.wilsondoors.com

Low Altitude Traffic Support System

Harris Corp. developed the Low-Altitude Traffic Support (LATS) system to enable low altitude air traffic support for rotary wing aircraft. The LATS system allows pilots to fly in a controlled low altitude environment by using NextGen automatic dependent surveillance- broadcast (ADS-B) surveillance technology combined with IP-based radios for voice communication. In addition, each LATS system is equipped with FAA-certified weather reporting capability enabling the pilot to determine actual weather at the landing site prior to approach as required by 14 CFR Part 135. The weather is either transmitted over VHF as AWOS or communicated to the pilot by the local operations center. The entire system is self-contained in an environmentally enclosed 58 x 26 x 30-inch enclosure. The enclosure is light weight and equipped with lifting rings for easy handling. Using LATS, pilots can communicate with the FAA on their standard VHF radio while on the surface to receive IFR and takeoff clearances. While in-flight they are in constant voice communication with controllers while their position is constantly monitored by controllers using ADS-B technology. Once on the ground following approach, the pilot is able to communicate easily with ATC to close his flight plan.

Harris Corp., 1-800-442-7747 x 2428, www.harris.com

United Rotorcraft Solutions Moves to Larger Facility

United Rotorcraft Solutions (URS) moved to a larger facility this year. “This move will provide us three times the space we [previously had],” reports President and Owner David Brigham. “We’ll maintain our current 15,000-square-foot facility as well. Our new facility will be able to accommodate the growth of URS and help us continue top service to our customers.” Brigham started the company in 2005 to meet the growing demand for systems integration for helicopters, as well as maintenance specifically for the rotorcraft industry. The new facility increases the square footage by 40,000 square feet. Not only did the hangar space increase but the new facility provides additional office space, a dedicated customer lounge and office and additional parts storage. This move has allowed URS to bring in new programs this year.

United Rotorcraft Solutions, 1-940-627-0626, www.unitedrotorcraft.com

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