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Mechanical Engineering. 2006;128(06):24-29. doi:10.1115/1.2006-JUN-1.
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This article focuses on measures for preventing damages to oil drilling setups post hurricanes or typhoons. According to engineers, today, it is a complex network of fixed and floating production platforms, mobile drilling units, undersea wells, and oil and gas pipelines. No single solution will ensure the safety of the entire system. The exploration wells under the drilling rigs are also vulnerable. Mobile drilling units, such as jackups and semisubmersibles, which drill test wells and then move to another location, proved especially vulnerable during Katrina and Rita. When the American Petroleum Institute rolled out its first post-Katrina recommendations in April, it took an initial step on a road that will eventually demand changes in everything from air gaps, tie-downs, and deck design to moorings, tethers, clamps, and piping supports. New standards are expected to improve the odds for newer platforms and rigs if they continue to face larger and larger hurricanes.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
Mechanical Engineering. 2006;128(06):32-34. doi:10.1115/1.2006-JUN-2.
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This article explains the use of data acquisition in different fields of work apart from engineering. The article also presents a case study to research on disease transmission. A step-by-step feeding chart gives researchers an obvious way to see exactly how and when the disease is transferred, a crucial tool they can use in their quest to end that point of contact. In another case study, a piano maker is gathering waveforms with data acquisition hardware and software, but to a much different end. Sound engineers at Czech piano maker Petrof use an extensive acoustic measurement system to assure that the sound quality of Petrof pianos is top of the line. Many manufacturers turn to personal computers running Windows software. Petrof engineers got around the problem by implementing data acquisition hardware that lets them collect data continuously and interpret it in tandem in accompanying software. They use hardware from Microstar Laboratories of Bellevue, Washington, and MATLAB visualization software from MathWorks in Natick, Massachusetts.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
Mechanical Engineering. 2006;128(06):35-37. doi:10.1115/1.2006-JUN-3.
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This article highlights the benefits of conducting a fair to increase business visibility. Many emerging industrial nations are using fairs to increase their visibility. Russia used more than 7000 square meters at the 2005 fair to display the country's skills in fields ranging from aerospace, energy, and metallurgy to materials, transportation, and automation. Eighty-one companies competed for the prestigious Hermes Award for pioneering technology. The Hermes finalists were selected by a jury, but the people's choice was clearly the Airacuda, a pneumatically powered fish that dived, turned, and swam like its biological antecedents. In addition to Chancellor Merkel, it drew a steady stream of engineers who came to watch it swim in its 60,000-liter aquarium at the Festo AG & Co. KG exhibit. The article concludes that the objects are playful; however, they have a serious purpose-the advancement of industrial technology and perhaps of medicine as well.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
Mechanical Engineering. 2006;128(06):39-41. doi:10.1115/1.2006-JUN-4.
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This article discusses various features of a mixer that proves to be advantageous for pharmaceutical market. Central Japan Railway Co. has tested the first-ever maglev train using high-temperature superconductors; the technology that is still a long way from practical commercialization. Instead, LevTech Inc., a Lexington, Ky., startup is using yttrium-barium-copper oxide superconductors to suspend impellers in mixers and pumps for the bioprocessing and pharmaceutical industry. The LevTech mixer's cassette holds six superconducting magnets, which suspend and lock into place an impeller that can be isolated in a pre-sterilized mixing bag. Rotating the cassette turns the impeller, which stirs the biochemicals inside the sealed bag. According to JR Central, superconductors have certain advantages over conventional electromagnets. First, they are much lighter. This improves railcar acceleration, speed, and payload; they also use less energy and more importantly, though, their 1 Tesla magnetic fields can lift a train 3 to 4 inches off the track, compared to 0.3 to 0.4 inch achieved with ordinary electromagnets.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

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