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Tech Insider

The latest information for design engineers and engineering management

January 26, 2012
How to ace an engineering job interview
Box-shaped tracks let mega-coasters soar
Rethinking the helicopter
A "million-dollar" idea?
Touchscreen HMIs
Electric cylinders

Articles


How to ace an engineering job interview

It looks as though the new trend in job interviews is to ask brain-teaser-type questions. The practice seems to have been popularized by hiring managers at Google. Insiders say that company relies on off-beat interview questions as a way of sifting out people who won’t fit into its culture. But you might wonder what kind of culture a company has if it hires people based on how they answer a question like, “You are shrunk to the height of a nickel and thrown into a blender. Your mass is reduced so that your density is the same as usual. The blades start moving in 60 seconds. What do you do?”

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Box-shaped tracks let mega-coasters soar

In overhauling the rickety wooden Texas Giant roller coaster in Six Flags Over Texas amusement park, Chief Engineer Larry Chickola wanted to design a coaster that had exceedingly tall crests and sharp turns. The high forces and extreme speeds he envisioned necessitated stronger and smoother rails than traditional wood or tubular metal tracks. So he used an entirely new kind of steel track. The ride’s scaffolding would still be wood to retain the coaster’s old-time look, but the new rails would safely support the loads and accelerations necessary to provide the most thrilling ride possible.

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Rethinking the helicopter

E-volvo, a German firm, has totally redesigned the helicopter. Its multicopter boasts 16 electrically powered propellers divided into four groups of four. Power for up to 20 min of flight comes from a lithium battery pack. The 175-lb manned prototype measures about 16x16 ft and can carry a payload equal to its own weight. Unlike conventional helicopters, the multicopter rotors are permanently positioned. They do not move or change pitch, which should greatly reduce wear compared to conventional helicopter rotors.

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A "million-dollar" idea?

A high percentage of inventors come to me with their "million-dollar" idea. More times than not, my response is, "Really? How much money have you made so far?" It's not that I am in the business of dashing dreams or slaying hope. I believe my role as a patent attorney is to guide inventors along the rocky road of getting a product to market -- with the inventor and his or her will-to-invent still intact. The hard facts are that less than one-half of 1% of inventors' products actually see the light of the marketplace and are financially successful.

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New Products


Touchscreen HMIs

The NS Series touchscreen HMIs have built-in Ethernet communications, alarming/recipe/ data-logging capabilities, and live video input/display capabilities. The CE-compliant HMIs let users monitor ladder programs without a personal computer. Suitable for the automotive, chemical and plastics industries, the NS Series monitors process temperature and pressure, packaging parts count, and water/air flow rates.
Omega Engineering Inc.

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Electric cylinders

The Electric Cylinder Series, designed for harsh/dirty industrial applications, features ground and hard-chrome-plated actuator tubes that house Acme and ball screws. The completely enclosed cylinders are suited for outdoor/off-road industrial applications including military use.
The cylinders feature a direct power source, no hoses, no leaks, a smaller footprint, high repeatability, and precision. Configurations include in-line actuator, direct drive, and right-angle drive.
Nook Industries Inc.

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