Machine Design

Looking Back 2/05/2009

10 YEARS AGO — FEBRUARY 11, 1999
New air bags spell curtains for head injuries: Debuting this spring in the U.S., the new S-Class Mercedes will sport windowbags, nine-chambered air bags that extend across the entire side roof line of the car. In an accident, the bags inflate within 25 msec and extend like a curtain from the A to the C pillar. They protect both front and rear occupants. The new bags supplement side air bags, which prevent an occupant’s head from hitting the windows or roof frame. They also remain inflated for a few seconds during a crash to better hold back glass fragments or other objects that could penetrate the passenger compartment.

Raised lugs help secure trucks on dumper: Truck dumpers from Phelps Machinery Co. use a 4-Way Safety Plate from Inland Steel as deck material. The raised-lug steel provides a surface with excellent wearability and ease of cleaning and forming. Two heavy steel I-beams run the full length of the deck and the / -in. steel floorplate is welded to the top of the beams and cross members. To the underside of the unit, ¼ and / -in. steel plates are welded, making a box-type design for maximum rigidity and strength. Phelps hydraulic truck dumpers are used primarily to empty trucks carrying bulk materials into hoppers or other storage facilities.

Foul-weather friends for small boaters: The 38-lb Loran (long-range radio aid to navigation, top) provides small boats with radio navigation previously found only on large ships with room for bulky systems. Small boats come home safely in soupy weather using the economical, 20-mile-range radar system (bottom). The 10-in. scope shows range scales of ½, 1, 4, 8, and 20 miles. Converters are available for 32 and 115-Vdc, and 115-Vac systems. Both units are from Sperry Piedmont Co. Div., Sperry Rand Corp., Charlottesville, Va.

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