UAF Filters Protect Cutting Edge Condensers

You don’t have to be young to enjoy sipping the cool, refreshing sweetness of a frozen slushy. Even grown ups yearning for the sentimental frosty treat of childhood try to make it feel more adult by adding alcohol. But the syrupy sweetness of a great frozen drink appeals to everyone with even a slight sweet tooth regardless of the temperature outside, and the options have expanded over the past few decades.

The first frozen beverage is credited in 1959 to Omar Knedlik, an owner of a Dairy Queen franchise. Necessity is the mother of invention. While an Icee or Slurpee was not a necessity for Omar, his lack of a soda fountain had him storing sodas in the store’s freezer and selling them with a straw. The semi-frozen, slushy sodas became a customer favorite and Omar began experimenting with ways to create a machine that would make the beverage faster. Early iterations used a car air conditioning system to produce slushy carbonated beverages. The first Icee machine was born of his experiments and blossomed into the popular Icee and later became 7-11’s Slurpee.

The frozen beverage machine has seen a few evolutions since 1959 and has grown into a rather large, competitive market. With designs from single pitcher, household blenders up to triple barrelled models and even designs with computerized control panelled systems, the market is constantly evolving to meet the demands of its customers. Improving on everything from the refrigeration to the control panels to the basic appearance of the machine, companies compete to innovate their systems, increase their customers’ profitability, attract new customers and maybe even win an award or two.

Allowing for multiple flavors to entice every taste bud, amusement parks, movie theaters, even convenience and gas station stores have opted in on selling frozen drinks to their customers. Widely used self-service, easy to operate machines allow consumers to mix their favorite flavors to create their own personalized drink. Party planners have even concocted adult versions of the treat by adding their favorite alcohol. Popular varieties include Captain Morgan and frozen coke, frozen Hawaiian Punch and grain alcohol or frozen Mountain Dew and scotch. Whether you are drinking frozen beverages as they were intended – straight from the spout, mixing multiple flavors to create your own medley, or spiking the syrupy treat with your favorite spirits, a good slushy machine will make for a more enjoyable experience.

But what actually makes a great frozen beverage machine? Some people like their drinks with tiny chunks of ice, some like the ice fine, smooth and fluffy. Regardless of your slushy consistency preference, all frozen beverage machines basically function in a similar fashion. Sweet flavored syrup concentrate is mixed with filtered water, and then frozen by a cooling cylinder. There are two types of frozen beverages – carbonated and non-carbonated. Carbonated varieties have a pressure chamber to add carbon dioxide to the syrup mixture which, along with the sugar and a constant stirring, act as an antifreeze to help prevent it from freezing solid so it can easily be dispensed and consumed through a straw. Non-carbonated versions can use real fruit juices in lieu of the syrup mixture. The mixture, either the syrup or juice, is then pushed into a chamber where it is rotated around coils and scraped off the walls to keep it from freezing into an ice mass until it is dispensed for the consumer to enjoy.

Modernizing the frozen carbonated beverage machine is Cornelius, a leader in beverage and ice dispensers. With its Viper Elite, Cornelius has not only updated to a sleeker, more current look with an easier cleaning experience, but the machine’s new pressure transducer allows for changes to ingredients like syrups, making it future ready. Most notable with this upgraded machine is the Viper’s Intelligent Defrost™ feature which along with a high-capacity refrigeration system, reduces energy use as well as stress on the compressor by eliminating the defrost cycle.

One of a good business’ concerns owning a frozen beverage machine is contaminants in the condenser. A clogged condenser can compromise the function of the condenser, preventing steady refrigeration and increased energy bills. Keeping out dust and debris is how a good filter keeps the refrigeration unit consistently cooling the frozen beverage even on the most demanding of summer days. A strong, sanitary condenser filter is key to keeping a slushy machine working optimally. Universal Air Filter offers exactly what is needed. With a variety of options and even the ability to customize to your system, UAF brings quality engineering to all of its filters, and to any refrigeration system.

UAF to Present at the AFS Fall Conference

President of Universal Air Filter, Dan Krupp, will give a presentation on Wednesday September 20 at the American Filtration and Separations Society in St. Louis, MO. Dan will be discussing Air Filters in Data Center Applications and it will be a great opportunity to network and broaden your knowledge of new applications for filtration and separations technologies. All electronic devices and circuitry generate excess heat and thus require thermal management to improve reliability and prevent premature failure. Similarly, today’s leading-edge enterprise and communications service provider networks demand clean cooling air and environments for infrastructure to operate at peak performance. Dan will cover a broad range of equipment protection and preventative maintenance including: The talk will include presentations of OEM electronics air filter design solutions as well as sourcing discussions on prevention of equipment failure / network downtime, energy efficiency improvements, and cost savings opportunities. Other technical information will be provided for equipment maintenance, UL flame safety, and NEBS (Network Equipment Building Systems) requirements for telco networks and data center facilities. Dan will also cover shelf-level applications for servers, switches, and storage as well as rack-level/room-level in-row and mobile cooling units, computer room air conditioning (CRAC) units and building HVAC applications. Other topics for discussion include: Please attend the American Filtration and Separations Society Conference on Wednesday September 20 at the Marriott St. Louis Airport and join Dan for his talk from 8:30 – 9:10 AM. UAF and Filtration Group Established in 1959 and headquartered in Sauget, IL, Universal Air Filter operates within the Environmental Air division of Filtration Group. The fastest growing filtration company in the world, Filtration Group is passionate about cleaning air, reducing carbon emissions, increasing energy efficiency and keeping food, water and medical procedures safe through its wide range of filtration solutions. Delivering outstanding customer value to industry leaders across the globe, Filtration Group operates facilities in 20 countries under four operating divisions: Life Sciences, Process Technologies, Fluid and Environmental Air & Distribution. Filtration Group provides solutions to customers in the food & beverage; water, micro-electronics & telecommunications; environmental air; medical, pharma & bioscience; hydraulic fluid; mining & minerals; industrial finishing and energy industries.

Future City: Electric Buses Move the Masses

Those of us who live in a city with a robust public transportation system know a good portion of that system involves buses. And for those in cities still running bus fleets on traditional fuel, we know what that exhaust does to our air and our lungs. With less than half of US buses running on alternative fuel or electric power, the country has a way to go to catch up to an electric bus overachiever like China, but with the worldwide goal of reducing global emissions, the US along with many other countries are stepping up to reduce emissions by increasing alternative fuel and electric bus usage.

Most city buses driving their route, running on fuel, emit nitrogen oxides (NOx), which are poisonous, highly reactive gases formed when fuel is burned at high temperatures. You may have even seen their brownish gas or smog (ozone), especially on a hot day, over your town. And we’ve all listened to the the impact of CO2 on our environment. Even though it is naturally occurring, we humans are adding far too much extra carbon into the atmosphere, furthering climate change. Knowing the average car emits around 6 tons of CO2 every year, reducing these emissions almost seems a moral imperative for us all.

Of course cities are switching to electric buses in an effort to reduce NOx and CO2, and will tout this as their main reason, but more likely they are looking at other benefits, like financial. The maintenance on an electric bus is practically negligible. Think no oil changes, fewer moving parts, reduced number of fluids, no spark plugs or wires, and longer lasting, regenerative brakes, and you can already see the savings in not only repairs but in uninterrupted service. Add a quieter engine to the mix and for honk-happy cities like New York, the noise reduction is a true blessing.

Charging an Electric Bus

Electric buses can save cities on fuel, oil, and maintenance, but how do they get their power and how often do they need it? Electric car chargers don’t charge fast enough to keep a city bus on schedule throughout the day, and most charges don’t last long enough to get the bus to the end of its route, but the combined charging system (CCS) is still common for overnight charging when time is not critical. But during the day, companies like ABB, Heliox, and Siemens have designed flash chargers that can charge a bus in 3-6 minutes. These new systems can even charge the bus faster than filling the tank at the gas pump. Properly spacing these efficient chargers along the bus route, passengers will never notice a lag in service.

These fast automated chargers use OppCharge, an open standard interface between electric buses and chargers offering charging power of 150kW. The benefits of OppCharge is that it can be used with any vehicle manufacturer or charging infrastructure, and they are backed by the cloud, which allows for remote diagnostics and over-the-air updates. They have also been designed to upgrade up to 450 kW should that become necessary. This gives cities not only the flexibility to buy from any bus manufacturer, but to easily upgrade when newer models are introduced with bigger batteries needing faster charging speeds.

The OppCharge system has automatic contact using a pantograph, wireless communication, contacting plates and infrastructure equipment that connects the bus to the pantograph. A pantograph is a hinged assembly that connects to the bus and provides conductive static charging. So the charger interfaces directly with the bus’ battery. Communication between the bus and charger is done via WiFi. The inverted pantograph allows for the use of an inexpensive, low weight interface on the roof of the bus. This new system gives cities opportunities to contribute positively to the environment without sacrificing any public service. Simply adding a network of fast charging stations to a bus route would allow for widespread adoption of electric buses.

Luxembourg Electric Buses

Already a pioneer in hybrid technology, Luxembourg was one of the first countries to implement hybrid buses in 2009. Volvo supplied Sales-Lentz, the leading bus operator in the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg, with over 40 hybrid buses and will now equip them with full electric buses. Sales-Lentz now has an impressive fleet of 500 vehicles ready to meet all levels of public and personal transportation. And now with the May, 2017 introduction and installation of two OppCharge fast chargers along the route, the world is witnessing the viability of a citywide fleet of electric buses.

With their eye on the future, Luxembourg sees this new system as one step towards a sustainable, zero emission future. The Minister for Sustainable Development and Infrastructure in Luxembourg, François Bausch wisely sees the importance of their bus system as helping “to dramatically reduce the emissions of public transport and improve the environmental impact of public transportation.”

The Luxembourg charging station and bus stop were constructed by ABB and delivered to the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Infrastructure. ABB has about 5,000 fast chargers around the world. Beating Tesla to the punch, ABB even installed a fast charger for cars right in Tesla’s backyard in CA. And in October, 2016, ABB inaugurated the first bus charging station next to Volvo’s electric depot in Sweden.

The Volvo 7900 Electric Hybrid buses are designed for zero-emission areas and silent or safety zones and operate quietly and emission-free for about seven km. As compared to a diesel bus, the Volvo electric bus consumes 60% less energy with 75-90% fewer CO2 emissions and can run on electricity for 70% of its operating time. A small diesel engine extends their reach when needed, giving the buses even more flexibility.

UAF and Electric Vehicles

Where does a company like UAF fit into the electric bus and charging system? Because the buses run on battery power, there is a definite need to to keep the battery at an appropriate temperature. Not only do electric vehicles require battery cooling, but there can be no moisture or impurities, and the air used to cool the battery needs to be clean to prevent damage to the system components. Don’t forget, there is also a sophisticated computer operating these vehicles and internal temperature can adversely affect the entire system. UAF filters maintain thermal constancy and air purity.

We can’t forget that all vehicles have air conditioning, which requires filtering outside air to keep out particles as well as managing the recirculating air inside the cabin. A proper air filter can make the air in the car as clean as the air in a hospital operating room. UAF can design an air filter to any specification needed for any application.

The charging system is just as susceptible to heat and elements. Because the chargers are exposed to the environment and the connectors and parts are so sensitive and smart, maintaining flawless performance is paramount to all else. UAF helps keep the equipment within its optimal temperature range and keeps harmful particles from destroying the system’s functionality.

Who – or What – is Driving that Car?

The age of robo-cars is upon us and it’s not only giant car manufacturers investing in the technology. Entering the self-driving car arena are automotive industry giants like Ford, Toyota, and Volkswagen, as well as, Nissan, Tesla, and Audi. Other players you might not expect to see like Samsung, Apple, Intel and Microsoft; even DiDi, Uber, and Lyft are looking to capitalize on this new technology. There are currently 44 different companies guarding their design secrets while feverishly working to beat the others to the road. When did the autonomous car grow its legs?

History of Autonomous Vehicles

Engineers have been dreaming of autonomous cars since Leonardo Da Vinci, and actually working on building them since the 1920s. The 1939 World’s Fair gave the concept public exposure when GM’s Futurama exhibit envisioned green parkways for cars to drive themselves. But until the 21st century, there were few major successes.

1995 saw the “No Hands Across America” tour sponsored by Delco Electronics, AssistWare Technology, and Carnegie Mellon University. “Driving” a Navlab 5 (1990 Pontiac Trans Sport) from Pittsburgh to San Diego, two researchers from CMU Robotics Institute used the RALPH (Rapidly Adapting Lateral Position Handler) computer program. RALPH employed video for location and steering, while the researchers handled the throttle and brake. At the time, it was the “longest, continuous, autonomous interaction for a robot in a real world environment.”

The US government has been working on autonomous technology for military drones and vehicles for a long time. In the early 2000s, Oshkosh built their TerraMax – unmanned ground vehicles that could navigate miles of off-road terrain while avoiding obstacles. They used a hierarchical control system which controlled throttle, steering, and brake, as well as groups of vehicles’ movements could be automatically coordinated.

Looking for the next researcher to build an autonomous vehicle that can complete a 150-mile course in the Mojave Desert, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has been holding its Grand Challenge since 2004, rewarding the winner a $1 million prize. No vehicle completed nor won the first challenge, but the following year, five vehicles completed the course. Then in 2007, the challenge moved to an urban environment and Carnegie Mellon’s Chevy Tahoe emerged victorious.

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In Australia in 2008, Rio Tinto Alcan began using an autonomous mining haulage system. The benefits to health, safety, and productivity were so great that in 2011, Rio Tinto expanded its fleet. Google began quietly developing self-driving cars in 2009. 2010 saw their driverless Audi TTS climb Pike’s Peak at near racing speeds. Also in 2010, Germany’s Leonie was the first car licensed for autonomous driving on highways and streets in Germany. And Parma University’s VISLAB took an almost 10,000 mile trip from Parma to Shanghai. Their autonomous van drove through nine countries in 100 days with only one human error accident, a traffic stop in Russia, as well as a few hitchhikers along the way.

France’s Navia shuttle became the first self-driving vehicle available for commercial sale in 2014. Switzerland, the UK, and Singapore have employed the shuttle with positive success. In 2016 Singapore launched nuTonomy’s self-driving taxi service. Now, teaming with Lyft, nuTonomy is hoping to unleash their service on Boston and California this year.

Top automotive manufacturers have already begun adding automatic options to their cars. The Mercedes S-class can offer its customers autonomous parking, steering, acceleration, braking, accident avoidance, and even driver fatigue detection on highways up to 124 mile per hour and in city traffic. Infiniti’s Q50 has similar features available for commercial sale. Most manufactures have a self parking feature and lane change alert among other features that are quickly becoming the standard.

Fully Autonomous Cars

With semi-automatic cars hitting the streets now, there is an even bigger push by manufacturers to successfully release a fully autonomous commercial vehicle. In 2015, Baidu and BMW tested a joint autonomous technology on Chinese highways. And more recently in the US, Tesla, Honda, Ford, Apple, Baidu, and Waymo have recently been granted permits to test their autonomous vehicles in California. And earlier this month, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced their renewed focus on “the mother of all AI projects”, the autonomous driving system.

With so many vying for the lead in the industry, technology is being kept close to the cuff. All of this highly guarded technology has spawned a few lawsuits between some manufacturers over infringement, engineer poaching, and blueprint stealing. Everyone wants to get to the road first.

Everyone except Baidu, a Chinese company. Baidu has chosen the opposite route and will gradually share its driverless control technology. By releasing their hardware and software code to other manufacturers, Baidu hopes to level the playing field for smaller manufacturers, especially Chinese ones. Baidu, known as China’s Google, plans to focus on employing cloud services as much as possible. They’ve also begun collaborating with other parts of the world. Germany’s Bosch is partnered to develop better mapping capabilities. Samsung owned, but US based, Harman is on board to build your car a virtual assistant.

Baidu feels this open, collaborative approach is a more innovative way to efficiently and quickly evolve the entire industry. With the goal of becoming the go-to operating system for driverless cars, Baidu hopes to have the technology ready by 2020. Which means not too far in the future you could be driving next to an autonomous car on the highway or open city road.

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if any impurities get inside, there could be an adverse influence on the car’s function. The last thing you want is a car with no driver running you off the road because the computer inside couldn’t manage its internal temperature properly or some dust from the road infiltrated its system.

To maintain the precise behavior of a robo-car, manufacturers turn to companies like UAF. UAF builds high quality air filters that will help maintain the system’s internal temperature and cleanliness. Without supremely efficient, well-built air filters, it doesn’t matter how advanced the technology is or how refined the equipment is. UAF air filters will keep your equipment within its optimal temperature range and give you high dust arrestance, because heat and particulates can corrupt and destroy even the most sophisticated system.

Travelling at the Speed of Light

Fiber optics is not a new concept, but it has taken a couple hundred years to perfect it. As early as the 1790s, the Chappe brothers invented the first “optical telegraph”. The French duo were able to relay messages through a series of lights mounted on towers. Then in the 1840s and 50s British physicists discovered that you could direct light along jets of water and even bend it along curved streams of water. Alexander Graham Bell, improving on his telephone, patented the “photophone” in 1880, which was an optical telephone system. Viennese and American doctors worked on bent or curved glass rods to illuminate body and mouth cavities.

Then in 1930, a Jewish physician, Heinrich Lamm, became the first to transmit an image using a bundle of optical fibers. This concept was brought along with the invention of lasers and then finally single mode fiber was made in 1970 by Corning Glass Works. Advancing fiber further, in 1973 Bell Laboratories developed the standard process for which fiber-optic cables are manufactured.

185 years from the Chappe brothers optical telegraph, the UK’s Dorset police install the first fiber optic link, followed in California US two years later with the first fiber optics telephone traffic. More US telephone companies followed suit and the mid-1980s saw the emergence of the very first nationwide, 100% digital fiber optic network, Sprint. Going global was made possible in 1986 with low-cost long distance fiber systems and in 1988 the first transatlantic telephone cable went into operation.

In 1997, Fiber Optic Link Around the Globe (FLAG) became the world’s longest single-cable network creating the infrastructure for future generations of broadband communications. One of the greatest advantages of fiber is it is future ready as it has no foreseeable replacement, nor need for one. Fiber currently meets all internet application needs and will continue to do so indefinitely.

What Exactly is Fiber?

Fiber is made of thin strands of pure glass which makes it resistant to corrosion and gives it longevity that will surpass that of copper or coaxial cable. The glass also makes fiber immune to electromagnetic and radio interference so you would not experience any shorting or grounding issues. And the capacity of fiber is unprecedented – a pencil thin bundle of fiber, called an optical cable, is capable of managing the entire world’s telephone traffic.

A single strand of optical fiber is made of three parts – the core, cladding, and buffer coating. The core is the center through which the light travels and is made of very fine strands of glass. The cladding is what surrounds the core and reflects light inward allowing light to pass through bends and avoid signal loss. And the buffer coating is a plastic coating protecting the entire optical fiber from moisture and damage. Bundling hundreds or thousands of these optical fibers together builds an optical cable, which has an outer covering, called a jacket, to protect them.

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There are two types of optical fibers – single-mode and multimode. Single mode fiber has a smaller core and is generally used for long distance transmissions using laser diode fiber optic transmission equipment. Multimode fiber has a larger core and is generally used for short distance transmissions using infrared light from LEDs (light emitting diodes). For close distances of a few miles, multimode fiber is the best option. When distances are greater, single mode should be used.

How Does Fiber Work?

In simple terms, pulses of light containing digital information travel from one place to another across the fiber. The equipment on one side of the fiber network converts signals into pulses of light that run along the fiber strands at an incredible speed. The equipment on the opposite end receives and decodes the pulses of light. For example, if the fiber is travelling to your home, the signals are transformed into signals you can hear, read, or watch on your computer, TV or other electronic device like your phone or tablet.

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Each particle of light, or photon, travels through the fiber optic cable core, reflecting back inward every time it hits the fiber’s edge. This is called total internal reflection. As long as the light hits the edge at anything other than the critical angle, it will remain trapped inside and continue along its path. The critical angle for most glass is 42o.

The cladding that surrounds the core helps keep the light signals inside the core. Cladding is also made of glass, but a different type of glass from the core. The cladding has a lower refractive index than the core which helps increase the critical angle. Cladding also helps protect the core, lessen the reflections which lowers energy loss and transmission time.

All of this means that with a fiber network in your home feeding your internet, phone, and TV, you will experience high-speed internet access, crystal clear phone service, and sharp, reliable digital TV. Even over enormous distances, fiber optic signals never lose their strength.

Clean Fiber Optic Communication Systems are Essential

Fiber optic switches, networking, and transmission equipment are critical to the reliability of the communications network. These systems route voice, video, and data we rely on every day, and contain sensitive circuit boards which generate considerable heat within confined spaces. Wattage dissipation is crucial in order to keep these systems cool. Typically, fans are used to introduce cooling air which maintain the specific temperature range to allow the system to operate at peak efficiency.

It is important to keep the cooling air clean and evenly distributed within the system, so considerable design and evaluation are devoted to electronics cooling and thermal management through thermal simulations and testing. Dust contaminants range in size, weight, and compounds. If the dust enters the system and builds up on critical electronic components, wattage increases, circuit boards could fail, and service is lost. This is where Universal Air Filter can help. They offer a wide array of quality air filter media and designs that meet stringent telecommunications standards for flame safety and reliability. The air filters are designed to keep the system clean, maximize cooling air flow, and compliant with industry requirements. Taking into consideration the sophistication of fiber optics, it is imperative to keep equipment clean and network uptime protected with the right filter for the system.

Is there a Human Heart on Your 3D Printer?

3D printing is so accessible now, it has become a “must have” on many people’s technology lists. Shoe manufacturers offer you the ability to walk into a store and get a perfectly fitted, custom sneaker built as you watch. At home, you can “print” yourself matching dinnerware for your big fiesta. Schools are using 3D printers to add to their design, art, and technology curriculums. The US Department of Energy is even studying how 3D printing can help reduce waste by using raw materials. One area seeing rapid and tremendous growth using 3D printing is the medical field.

3D Printing Improving Your Life

There is now a wide array of medical uses like making orthotics, braces, and even human tissue. Your grandfather’s hearing aid and your invisible teeth aligners could have been produced by a 3D printer. Implants like hip and knee joints and cranial plates are being made with 3D printers. Surgical instruments can be quickly reproduced when broken or precisely printed based on the specific surgery. Customized tools like simple tweezers can now be made for any procedure in a relatively quick timeframe, and to any specification.

Prosthetics have become more readily available through 3D printing. In the past, prosthetics for children have been a difficult product to get, due to the production costs and children quickly outgrowing their prosthetics, or needing new ones. Now, with 3D printing, inexpensive prosthetics can be provided for children who have lost a hand or limb through birth defect or injury and reprinted at a larger size when the child outgrows the first one. A 3D printed prosthetic hand may not be high tech, but it is sufficient enough to hold a pencil, make a fist, and grab a baseball bat. These printed hands can even be colored to look like a super hero’s hand. And what kid wants to go to school with a boring old human looking hand when he can take a test with Iron Man’s?

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In 2016, an Indiana man who had lost his lower jaw to tongue cancer was given a 3D printed jaw. The man’s jaw needed facial prosthesis four times greater than the capabilities of his doctor’s facility. Enter digital scanning, sculpting, and moldmaking and high resolution printing. Once a digital model of the patient’s face was created, an actual 3D printed mold was made to be watertight with fine details like pores. Now, the patient has a light, breathable, natural looking prosthetic that he feels comfortable wearing out in public.

3D Printed Tissues and Organs

And now it’s not only quality of life medical advances progressing with 3D printing. Real life saving models are being produced. In 2013, a 3 month old boy born with severely weak tissue in his airway was saved with a 3D printed surgically implanted tube that held his airway open. Over the next 3 years, as the boy’s own tissue grew around the tube, the tube harmlessly dissolved. The 3D printer gave doctors the ability to customize the design and size of the tube specifically to his needs and simply print it for surgery.

Tissue engineering is another area revolutionizing the medical field. Human tissue can be constructed with a 3D printer, implanted in the body, and actually grow into the body. Currently, tissue engineering is used to reconstruct severely damaged bone and tissue structures. Still in research phases, but less of a pipe dream, are 3D printed living organs like a heart or liver.

Organovo, a medical lab and research company in California, has already begun engineering tissue for surgical therapy and transplantation. Developing technology with applications across a variety of cells helps them target different tissues. Cell sources can be either allogeneic (from another source) or autologous (from the patient’s own cells) which helps decrease the chance of rejection. It is already developmentally possible to create tubes, patches, and organoids through supplemental tissue therapies.

3D Printing Material

Obviously printing tissue, prosthetics or airway tubes that go in the body, the printing medium can’t be your everyday plastic. To 3D print antimicrobial surgical tools, new printer materials made from cellulose acetate are used. Cellulose acetate is a combination of acetate anhydride and the environmentally friendly cellulose. Evaporating the acetone solidifies the cellulose acetate and becomes an alternative to plastic that is stronger and with the addition of an antimicrobial dye, can actually kill bacteria. Now those 3D printed tweezers are not only the perfect size and shape, but are hygienic and pure for surgery.

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Biocompatible material is needed for applications with prolonged skin contact (30+ days) and short term mucosal-membrane contact (up to 24 hours). Using a combination of stem cells and biocompatible materials, human tissue can be made. Another form of biocompatible materials can be used to make watertight tubes and instruments. It has a colorless transparency, high dimensional stability and high temperature printing capabilities and can not have contaminants and bacteria in the material. The pH and ORP (oxidation reduction potential) need to be at acceptable levels, thus need monitoring during the process.

Because of the combination of materials being used, some of which need to remain completely pure, 3D printing for medical applications requires a healthy, extremely clean environment. Filtering out the impurities becomes an even bigger and more important challenge knowing how pristine your final printed product needs to be. Universal Air Filter can help maintain the purity of your materials with a diverse set of filter options for the printer. UAF knows your printer requires a particular environment, and we’re here to exceed your demands and keep out every pollutant you don’t want. And 3D printers come in many sizes, but regardless of its size, UAF has the right filter, and if we don’t, we can custom build a filter to your exact specifications.

And not just for keeping out contaminants and particles, but we can help preserve those ideal thermal temperatures. Because medical grade products need to print at very high temperatures, the printers require constant monitoring to maintain just the perfect climate, which is where UAF jumps in to help.

Aside from air filters and thermal control for the actual 3D printers, Universal Air Filter continues to evaluate ways 3D printing can enhance our internal processes to service all of our customers’ needs, not just the ones working on life saving medical 3D printing. Furthering the uses for 3D printing, some customers have sent us 3D prototypes to help us perfectly customize the specific filters they need. The prototypes ensure that we have built the filter exactly as needed and advances our processes and knowledge – a win-win for us all.

Help Your System Keep its Cool with Thermal Design

Thermal considerations are fundamental when designing any electronic equipment. Convection, conduction, and radiation heat transfer all need attention to build efficient equipment and to keep it running optimally. Both the printed circuit board (PCB) and the integrated circuit (IC) package are important components to any piece of electronic equipment and need to be effectively integrated into the design.

New computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software helps designers include these and all other important aspects by providing tools for thermal simulation and computational fluid dynamics. With this software, designers can validate product behavior and optimize product design prior to spending time and money on manufacturing.

While mechanical engineers address the physical design with one software and the electronic designers address the ICs and PCBs with another, CFD software allows the two to collaborate. Importing the data from both the mechanical and electronic designers’ programs, accurate, thermal information is gathered to analyze and simulate all aspects of the product. With that information, design engineers now have the ability to test, experiment, and verify the different variables of a product at a quicker speed than before.

ECS Thermal Design Study

Using FloTHERM XT, one company, Electronic Cooling Solutions (ECS), studied the challenges of thermal design of a tablet that uses forced convection to cool the components with blowers that direct the airflow. By building a thermal model of a tablet, they were able to evaluate alternative thermal management techniques without the time or expense of physical prototypes. With a validated model, they compared the heat spread inside the tablet using infrared images. One area they simulated was to avoid recirculating the exhaust with angled louvers that directed the airflow from the tablet’s plane.

Another use of their thermal model was to simulate different conductivity of the tablet’s outer surface temperature and determine the effects on its components. With two batteries isolated at the bottom of the tablet near the GPU and CPU, a low temperature needs to be maintained. The batteries don’t generate significant heat, but keeping the tablet isothermal is what makes thermal design difficult and these simulations helpful.

Working on the acoustic levels required ECS to team up with Orfield Labs which maintains zero background noise. They measured the sound power for different blower voltages. The results of their simulations showed that increasing heat spreading improves battery life and the acoustics by reducing the required blower speed.

Thermal design for Cooling Systems

The cooling system of any device is a very important element – it not only protects your equipment, but it helps to expand the life of it. Both the performance power and the space available around a device’s internal components play big roles in the cooling of it. Small devices require small parts; and with smaller devices performing at higher levels, thermal management is even more crucial.

In a high performing tablet, the GPU and CPU generate the most heat and require a sufficient cooling system. There are active cooling methods, like forced convection, or fans, and there are passive methods like thermal radiation, conduction, and convection. Most systems use a combination of these methods. Thermal design is necessary in determining the best method for the build to prevent catastrophic failure.

Directing their attention to the implications of the system’s temperature, mechanical and thermal engineers use CFD software to find methods for reducing heat build-up by incorporating fans and filters. FloTHERM’s software actually includes the UAF air filter media in their thermal libraries, allowing designers to easily import the data for their CFD analysis. Now engineers can gain more comprehensive insights into the air filters’ effects on the entire system. UAF supports the system design even further with 3D CAD air filters and free prototypes for testing.

Selecting the best products for each application is vital to thermal management. Defining information about the equipment’s environment, location, enclosure, and interior equipment help determine appropriate methods for eliminating its hot spots. Simple ventilation devices like louvers and filters help maintain a cool, constant temperature while circulating fans and air conditioners help improve heat dissipation.

When considering air conditioners for overheating equipment, we tend to assume it needs a larger air conditioner. Going too big on your cooling system can work, but it probably isn’t that efficient. For example, when you’re cooling a hardware cabinet, going too large on your a/c can cool things down too quickly causing the compressor to frequently cycle producing an excessive temperature swing or your humidity control becoming compromised with a low duty cycle. Always ensure properly sealed ventilation openings to avoid hot air from entering, which will also keep your compressor running too often.

When it comes to cooling your equipment, remember the importance of preventative maintenance. While designed to operate on their own, most systems still need their performance monitored and air filters cleaned. To avoid overheating and overrunning your compressor, you want to ensure blocked air filters aren’t increasing the temperatures of the evaporator, condenser, and compressor. UAF can help in this area.

UAF helps equipment operate consistently and avoid overheating with their many server, router, switch, and storage device options. Meeting operating requirements, air filtration needs, and keeping its products within critical environments, UAF helps to keep your equipment within its optimal temperature range.

Are Americans Really Cutting the Cord?

A recent report from Leichtman Research Group sheds new light on how Americans are choosing to access high speed internet (HSI) and pay video services. The analysis suggests that more Americans are accessing the internet through their cable providers while at the same time “cutting the cord” on pay-tv subscriptions overall.

According to the report, cable companies now service about 63% of all HSI subscriptions in the US with two providers – Comcast and Charter – servicing about 80% of those. Comcast dominates the HSI space with nearly 25MM subscribers, but second place Charter (with 23MM subscribers) led the pack in terms of net subscriber growth. Charter added 1.6MM new subscribers in 2016 while Comcast added 1.4MM. All in, cable operators added 3MM HSI subscribers in 2016 while the phone companies lost 600K.

While Americans are overwhelmingly gravitating toward cable operators for their high-speed access to the internet, they seem to be migrating away from those same companies for their pay TV services. Cable companies saw a net loss of about 275K TV subscribers and phone companies lost approximately 1.5MM (AT&T U-verse alone lost 1.4MM TV subscribers). Satellite service providers actually saw a net gain in TV subscribers in 2016 but there was a fair amount of volatility in the space. Dish lost 1MM subscribers while satellite leader DirecTV picked up 1.2MM.

Cable vs Telco 2016
As for why Americans are choosing cable over phone for HSI, some speculate that cable’s traditionally faster speeds are a prime driver of adoption. Because cable internet throughput isn’t as dependent on proximity to a central office (CO), speed and signal tend to be more consistent. For many, the higher speeds can offset some of the perceived drawbacks of cable such as increased network congestion during peak traffic hours.

As for why some TV viewers are “cutting the cord”, the rise of paid streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and others is certainly a factor. That said, since these video services require a broadband connection, providers of HSI are still firmly in control of the wallet share.

Whether the data flows through the cable provider or the phone company, or whether TV viewers choose to stream or remained tethered to their receivers, it’s all the same to those of us in the air filtration world. High speed data and video demands are greater than ever which is putting even greater demand on today’s network infrastructure.

One of the keys to ensuring maximum uptime and throughput is disciplined filter management, design considerations, and maintenance. Equipment must operate consistently within an acceptable temperature range to avoid overheat shutdown due to lack of sufficient wattage dissipation. UAF stands by our customers supplying OEM equipment or maintaining cable headend systems, servers, routers, and switches, within these critical environments by meeting air filtration needs with design support, free prototypes, standards compliance, site surveys for air filter replacements, and short lead times.

The World’s Largest Data Center – Here’s What We Know

The Las Vegas-based technology ecosystems company, Switch, has recently opened the largest data center in the world just outside of the biggest little city in the world, Reno. Clocking in at 1.3 million square feet of data center space, the Tahoe Reno 1 complex is the first component in Switch’s plan to construct 7.2 million square feet of data center space on the site of its northern Nevada Citadel Campus. Prior to opening Tahoe Reno 1, Chicago’s Lakeside Technology held the title of the largest single data-center building at 1.1 million square feet.

Described as a cutting-edge fortress of security, speed, power and sustainability, the colocation facility is surrounded by a 20-foot solid concrete wall and connects to the Switch SUPERLOOP, a 500 mile, multi-terabyte fiber optic network that provides lightning speed connectivity to San Francisco, Los Angeles and the company’s 2.5 million square feet of data center spaces in Las Vegas. Delivering 130 megawatts of power capacity, Tahoe Reno 1 operates on 100% renewable energy. Greenpeace has given Switch its highest ranking for any class of company and Switch is the only data center company to receive an A grade in the environmental group’s annual Clicking Clean report.

Although Tahoe Reno 1 is an impressive facility on its own, at completion of the project the Reno campus will offer the following:

This is all good news for Switch clients which include some of the biggest names in tech, aerospace, entertainment, finance and healthcare including eBay, Boeing, Intel, Zappos, Time Warner Cable, Renown Health and Amazon Web Services.

So, what does all of this mean to Universal Air Filter besides the fact that Tahoe Reno 1 is now likely the largest single location of data center air filters? Due to the extensive amount of data traffic through a facility like Tahoe Reno 1, server reliability and up-time is extremely crucial. Equipment must operate consistently within an acceptable temperature range to avoid overheat shutdown because of a lack of sufficient wattage dissipation. UAF stands by our customers supplying servers, routers, switches, and storage devices within these critical environments by meeting air filtration needs with design support, free prototypes, standards compliance, and short lead times.

Please let us know how we can help with your next data center equipment application.

Do Hospitals Make People Sicker?

Every year, about 1 in every 25 hospitalized patients will develop an infection while they’re being treated for something else. It’s known in the industry as an HAI, or healthcare-associated infection, and each year 1.7 million patients contract one and nearly 100,000 die as result. In fact, HAIs kill more people each year in the U.S. than automobile accidents, breast cancer and AIDS combined.

HAIs are contracted through a variety of vectors including injection/insertion (catheterization, ventilation, running of central lines, etc) and person-to-person contact. However, some of the most dangerous HAI pathogens are those that are airborne, such as Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). So called “Superbugs” like MRSA and others pose some of the greatest threats in healthcare facilities as they’re typically unresponsive to antibiotics and other standard treatments.

Although most healthcare facilities make every effort to remain clean and sterile for patients, it’s a challenging task. Foot traffic, opening and closing doors, linens, lab coats and host of other environmental challenges can contribute to a significant number of harmful particulates, moisture and pathogens in the air.

In an attempt to control airborne infectious agents, healthcare facilities typically focus on 4 key areas of attack: dilution (introducing outdoor air and exhausting contaminated air), filtration, pressurization (controlling the flow of air from one area to another) and disinfection.

The CDC and other organizations are working closely with healthcare facilities to reduce the instances of HAIs. At Universal Air Filter, we know we also play a part in keeping patients safe. For example, our Quadrafoam media keeps harmful dust and pathogens from collecting in critical medical equipment and devices. In addition, Quadrafoam contains antimicrobial agents to promote zero mold and fungus growth and is specially formulated to meet stringent industry flame safety standards. In order to improve liquid and fluid repellency, dual-stage filtration options are available to pair a cleanable dust filter with a stainless-steel screen or hydrophobic mesh. Likewise, if the environment requires increased levels of filtration performance, Universal Air Filter can provide mid and high efficiency, pleated media in custom sizes to fit the application.

UAF has serviced the healthcare space for many years, whether it’s protecting essential medical equipment from electromagnetic interference with our EMI shielding solutions or creating custom framed assemblies that match the overall industrial design of diagnostic analyzers, radiological equipment, and other medical devices. Knowing that we play a small role in keeping patients safe is something we take seriously.

UAF is ready to assist with standards compliance, thermal management media selection, 3D models, and free prototypes for testing and evaluation in one week.

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