Machine Design

Looking Back 1/17/2013

10 YEARS AGO — 2003
Headlights swivel for safety: New headlights debut in the 2003 Opel Vectra and Signum midsize cars. Adaptive Forward Lighting (AFL) combines swiveling bi-xenon headlights with a turn light that shines at a 90° angle for intersections and tight corners. Studies show that the visual perception people depend on to gauge traffic information drops to as little as 4% when visibility diminishes at night.

The front headlights swivel ±15°, depending on steering angle and vehicle speed. The turn light gives intersections and narrow bends additional wide-angle lighting. They illuminate nearly ±90° to the direction of travel and about 30 m in front of the vehicle. The turning light functions only at speeds up to 50 km/hr so it does not activate during lane changes. The main headlight has a moveable aperture in the beam path for switching from low to high beam, all using one Xenon bulb per headlight.

30 YEARS AGO — 1983
Space-age material shows its strength: A 27-ton excavator was recently balanced on a 10-in.-sq × 22-in.-high column of honeycomb made of Nomex aramid at a J.I. Case test facility. The column weighed only 11•lb. The demonstration was set up by the DuPont Co., manufacturer of Nomex, to show the strength of the aramid structural sheet when used in a honeycomb configuration. The column was fabricated by Hexcel Corp.

50 YEARS AGO — 1963
Orbital rndezvous is simulated at the Boeing Co., Aero-Space Div., with a “planetary exploration vehicle” (left) and a “spaceship” (right). The pilot’s vehicle is mounted on an air bearing, permitting free motion in any direction. Controlling yaw, pitch, and roll, the pilot brings his ship into position for rendezvous and coupling with the second ship, which is carried on the hook of a crane and brought toward the pilot’s cabin at an angle and speed controlled by him. Controls are connected to the crane through an analog computer, which simulates the effect of rocket motors responding to control movement.

© 2013 Penton Media, Inc.

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