Machine Design

Looking Back 1/22/2009

10 YEARS AGO — JANUARY 28, 1999
No more parking blunders: Ultrasonic sensors in the Parkpilot system from Robert Bosch Corp., Farmington Hills, Mich., detect the distance between a vehicle and nearby obstacles. The 15.5-mm-diameter sensors are painted the color of the vehicle and place in the bumper. The display is near the roof liner behind each rear door for visibility. The device activates when the car is within 3 ft of an obstacle and the warning-tone sequence quickens and display illuminates when the car gets too close. When the car is a foot away from a mishap, the signal changes to a continuous tone and the display starts flashing.

30 YEARS AGO — JANUARY 25, 1979
Multipurpose robot goes to work: The Air Force Materials Laboratory says the 6CM Arm robot will be manufacturing sheet-metal parts for the F-16 fighter at the General Dynamics facility in Ft. Worth, Tex. Built by Cincinnati Milacron Co., the robot will drill and rout access panels ranging in size from 1 ft to 1 yd sq in an hour’s time. While it is being restrained to just those two tasks, it can do many jobs, such as painting, welding, manipulating parts, and assembling.

50 YEARS AGO — JANUARY 22, 1959
Choppers gang up for team lift: Teams of helicopter “workhorses” — harnessed for a group lift by aluminum spreaders — are being groomed for Army heavy work by Vertol Aircraft Co. The multiple helicopter heavy-lift system will speed delivery of military vehicles to forward combat zones. Test flights have been with a pair of helicopters and one 400-lb, 113-ftlong spreader, long enough to give ample air space to each helicopter in the hitch. Pilots and crew keep in constant radio contact. In an emergency, a pilot can uncouple himself and his team using an electrical release system. Later work will explore problems with three and four choppers.

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