College Students Use KNF Pumps to Fuel Racing Success

Wisconsin undergraduates have a need for speed.

Students from the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) have been getting in the competitive spirit in an effort to create and race the most energy-efficient cars.

Consisting of undergraduates ranging from freshmen through juniors, these students are part of their university’s Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) branch. As the organization operates solely on outside funding, KNF has sponsored these adventurous and ambitious students in their racing endeavors through the donation of needed liquid diaphragm pumps.

Joe Pechstein and team pose for a photo at the Shell Eco-marathon flanked by their vehicles.

Overseen by project manager Joe Pechstein, a junior, the group participates in two annual events: the Shell Eco-marathon, which took place in April 2017, and the SAE Supermileage competition, which took place in June 2017. Continuing an almost ten-year tradition of entering these selective competitions, Pechstein supervises the building of two vehicles for the former competition and one vehicle for the latter.

The mechanical engineering major recognizes the challenges involved, stating that the race is “a test of the driver’s skill, the design’s endurance, and the design itself.” With all design and testing done by students, the competitions represent the future of motor engineering.

To get the highest fuel economy possible while still meeting lap times, these twenty-five students use KNF’s NF 1.25 RPDC for their fuel system. These compact and powerful KNF pumps are used for engine dynamometer testing which typically determines the torque or power characteristics of a machine under test. Though dynamometers can also be used for standard emissions testing cycles such as those defined by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. The vehicle itself is a three-wheeled device with optimal aerodynamic features. Convenient in its small and lightweight design, the KNF pumps allow for an appropriate pressure range and high enough fuel output to guarantee full speed ahead.

A photo of the course which is usually a motor racing track or a closed off city street.

How did these students fare in the competitions? At the Shell Eco-marathon, the gasoline vehicle came in 14th place out of 30 at 588 mpg, while the electric vehicle came in 9th place out of 17 at 120 mi/kwh. Having made their mark in the gasoline vehicle category, Pechstein admits that “we have been steadily improving our fuel economy over the past three years.” In the SuperMileage competition, they came in 8th place out of 16 at 442 mpg, and an impressive 3rd place in their design report. Of KNF’s contribution, Pechstein adds that “the pumps were ideal” in helping to reach the finish line.

The team at KNF offers our congratulations to MSOE’s Society of Automotive Engineers! We know they have a bright future ahead.

Is It Time To Replace Your Water Aspirator?

Linda the Lab Manager examines the true costs of owning a laboratory water aspirator

Linda the Lab Manager examines the true costs of owning a laboratory water aspirator.

A water aspirator is a simple device capable of creating a low strength vacuum for many standard laboratory applications. Though they are inexpensive to purchase and easy to use, the long-term operating costs and environmental impact of laboratory water aspirators can be quite significant.

A new video from Lab Manager follows Linda the Lab Manager as she and her colleagues investigate the real costs of owning and operating a laboratory water aspirator.

View video at go.labmanager.com/replacing-your-water-aspirator

The Bear, The Pump, and Three Forks: A Tale of Sabotage Near Godfather Lake

From the time KNF was founded, “durability” has been one of the most distinguishing traits of our pumps. We feel a strong sense of pride whenever our customers use adjectives such as: “strong”, “enduring”, and “tough” when describing our products. That said, there are rare occurrences when a KNF pump succumbs to unusually extreme punishment. Not too long ago, a KNF customer, Brian Jarrell, informed us of one such example.

Brian is the Recreation Director at The Lodge and Spa at Three Forks Ranch, a luxury Resort and Spa approximately 40 miles north of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The sprawling, 50,000-acre resort offers beautiful landscapes, scenic mountain vistas, various year-round activities, and upscale amenities. As part of his duties, Brian is responsible for maintaining ponds and other natural features across the huge property. To that end, many bodies of water around The Lodge, including nearby Godfather Lake, are equipped with solar-powered aeration systems. These aeration systems employ KNF N 828 gas pumps to inject air into the water for improved clarity and quality. When Brian needed help with his system’s pump, he called KNF and told us his wild story of a shaggy saboteur.

A visitor admires the wildlife & natural beauty of Three Forks Ranch (photo via threeforksranch.com)

One day, while making his usual checks around the property, Brian approached a pond to find that the nearby aeration system was completely silent. As he examined the control box, it became evident that the protective cover had been completely ripped off. According to Brian, a large black bear – 7 feet tall and 450 pounds – had destroyed the cover protecting the aeration system’s electronic components. As bad luck would have it, heavy snow soon fell over the exposed electrical components of the system, short-circuiting one of the two KNF pumps inside.

These circumstances are certainly extraordinary, and even frightening considering that a huge bear was probably lurking nearby while Brian was examining the damage from only a few hours earlier. However, according to Brian, scenarios involving wild animals are nothing unusual in his line of work. “We have had animals destroy our property in the past – problems with elk and bear chewing wires.” Brian calmly elaborated, “They are typically searching for food when they stumble onto a piece of equipment and become very curious. This bear may have been bored and was likely looking for something to do.” Well it certainly appears that this bear found something to do! On the bright side, this was the very first incident involving aeration systems on the property. Prior to the curious and destructive bear, both system and pump were “running just as strong as when they were originally installed” in 2004.

The suspect: Ursus americanus aka American Black Bear

The suspected saboteur: Ursus americanus (aka American Black Bear)

After finding the mauled machine, Brian soon contacted a KNF Technical Sales representative and, after a “painless and easy” conversation, he was on his way to receiving a replacement pump. When asked about the required repairs, Brian seemed almost relieved, “The whole thing was taken care of within a matter of hours. I am very appreciative of KNF”. In fact, he rates his experience with KNF a 10 out of 10. We’re glad to know that Brian’s experience was  positive, and we hope that the local black bear population seeks entertainment elsewhere in the wilds of Colorado.

Former MythBuster Delivers Keynote at Pacific Design & Manufacturing Event

Former MythBuster Jamie Hyneman at Pacific Design & Manufacturing

Jamie Hyneman, former MythBuster, speaking at Pacific Design & Manufacturing event (source: Pinterest)

This year, guests of the recently re-branded Pacific Design and Manufacturing event received a special treat as Jamie Hyneman – the famed, former co-host of The Discovery Channel’s popular television series, “MythBusters” – delivered the keynote speech. During his speech, Mr. Hyneman communicated the value of hard work, and also referenced the importance of constant improvement through his own love of tinkering. The honorary Doctor of Engineering stated, “Science isn’t done by people in lab coats. It is done by people that want to do a good job at figuring something out”. With talk of science and tinkering, it is no surprise that the 2017 keynote speaker was able to connect with his audience. After all, there were thousands of engineers in attendance of the annual conference, most of whom share a love of tinkering.

Though Jamie Hyneman has since moved on from Myth Busters, and The Discovery Channel has stopped production of new episodes, it has not stopped millions of fans from holding the show in high regard for its creative and courageous (often crazy) engineering. For example, many at KNF recall an episode that first aired on July 12, 2006 titled, “Crimes and Myth-Demeanors (part 1)“. During the episode, the crew attempt to debunk robbery and break-in scenarios so often depicted in Hollywood movies. Things get interesting when Jamie Hyneman and co-host Adam Savage begin development of their own gadgets: super-magnets, and suction cups, respectively. The peculiar devices were custom-engineered to assist the show hosts with an air duct climb).

KNF N 828 vacuum pump

KNF N 828 vacuum pump

What makes this episode particularly memorable to KNF USA associates is the vacuum source used for Adam’s suction cups – a KNF N 828 Diaphragm Vacuum Pump! The lightweight, oil-free KNF N 828 vacuum pump performed admirably to spec, pumping to 100 mbar of absolute vacuum via the suction cups on Adam’s hands and feet. However, in the end, both co-hosts were unable to climb the flimsy air duct without considerable noise, thus being anything but stealthy. Another Myth Busted. Later in the episode, Adam used his KNF N 828 vacuum pump powered suction cup rig to climb eight stories up the outside of a glass building before becoming too exhausted to continue. But not before further demonstrating the power of the KNF N 828 diaphragm vacuum pump!

Pumping Above Our Weight Class

NMP 03 Micro Gas Pump
The newly introduced ultra-small, portable device pump — weighing only 11g and measuring just 12.9 mm x 24.2 mm — delivers very consistent, linear transfer up to 500 mL/min.

In addition to ultra-small size and wide flow rate range, the NMP 03 offers a long service life, outstanding efficiency, leak tightness, and quiet, low-vibration operation. Typical portable device applications, for which the NMP 03 micro gas pump is very well suited, include: emissions measurement and gas analyzers; patient monitoring; capnography; negative pressure wound therapy; ion-mobility spectrometry (trace detection); drugs and explosives detection; handheld pipette/dosing; and print-head meniscus control.

The NMP 03 offers a wide operating temperature range of -20 °C – +60 °C (environment and gas) thereby making it well-suited for outdoor use and applications involving hot or cold gases. Plus, like other KNF micro gas pumps, the new NMP 03 features a modular system which can be configured to match your specific requirements.

Visit www.knfusa.com/NMP03 to learn more.

Liquid Waste Handling in Clinical Diagnostics and Lab Equipment

A new Application Note from KNF Neuberger, Inc. details effective methods for collecting, and evacuating liquid waste.

oem_application_noteWhen determining how to transfer liquid waste within an analyzer, design engineers must examine many factors. Though several methods will work, only one provides optimized system performance and lifetime.

Read more >>

 

Chef Mario Waldispühl Uses KNF Rotary Evaporator to Concoct Culinary Creations

Chef Mario Waldispühl with KNF RC 900 Rotary Evaporator

Chef Mario Waldispühl photographed with a KNF RC 900 Rotary Evaporator at ILMAC exhibition in Basel, Switzerland.

Mario Waldispühl is a young, enthusiastic kitchen chef of the Gasthof Krone Blatten restaurant in Malters, Switzerland. The native Lucerne chef is known for his creative and colorful cooking style which starts with fresh, seasonal ingredients grown locally throughout the region. From there, the chef and his staff apply imagination, a passion for cooking, and a love of food. This formula results in astonishing culinary combinations – a true feast for the eye and palate.

Whether he’s developing an elaborate multi-course menu, or making a ground-standing stew, the culinary talents of chef Mario Waldispühl extend well beyond the kitchen. Only a few months ago, the talented chef surprised attendees of the ILMAC exhibition in Basel, Switzerland by providing high-end, culinary creations to visitors at the KNF booth. Perhaps even more surprising than the location of the high-quality fare was the means by which they were created – using a KNF RC 900 Rotary Evaporator!

Mario Waldispühl explains the benefits of cooking with KNF’s RC Series Rotary Evaporator, and discusses his love for cuisine in the October, 2016 edition of KNF Neuberger, AG magazine, “Notabene” (German). The interview provided below is an excerpt from the English translation of the original article.


  1. While we are doing this interview, the summer season is already coming to an end, but the summer season Menu in Gasthof Krone Blatten is still up. – Which food would you order?”
    “Clearly the basil ravioli! By the way, it’s the dish from the summer menu, which I cook best.”
  2. Do you have a culinary wish that you have not yet met?
    “Fresh Maine lobster in a restaurant on the coast of Maine.”
  3. Is there a dish from your childhood that you have never got close to, what is your subjective opinion?
    “Grandma’s dumplings! In such taste memories, of course, it is above all about feelings, about emotional bonding.”
  4. Let’s go from the “normal kitchen” and the emotions into the world of technology. Cooking with a rotary evaporator – when did you hear about it for the first time?
    “About 10 years ago the molecular kitchen was very popular. This is where the rotary evaporator plays an important role. Because with it one can quickly and easily separate liquids, distill and boil at very low temperatures. The boiling point is considerably lower under vacuum; A tomato sauce, for example, boils in the rotary evaporator already at 40 degrees, whereas in classic cooking, between 70 and 80 degrees. I think every ambitious, modern chef dreams of cooking, experimenting with a rotary evaporator. For me it was so, but the devices are not quite cheap.”
  5. How did you get your rotary evaporator dream come true? Or in other words: How did you get to your rotary evaporator?
    “I was lucky! I have a regular guest working at KNF Flodos. One night I was talking about the rotary evaporator and he asked if I were tempted to cook with one . And so it happened that I came to an RC 900 from KNF and to return the favor, I will cook at KNF’s Ilmac booth.”
  6. When this article is published, the exhibition is already over – and the “culinary secret” has already been aired. Can you tell us, therefore, with which delicacies you would like to pamper your guests?
    “We start with a drink with chili and limes. Then there is tuna with chili, wasabi, seaweed- an indescribable taste experience! For dessert the main components will be chocolate and chili. And yes, chili did it to me; the results obtained with this spice with the rotary evaporator inspire me absolutely – an aromatics-technical revelation! We were able to hide the sharpness of the chili peppers, while the taste is fully revealed. So our “Little Experiment” at the fair is also very suitable for people who do not eat hot (spicy).”
  7. The RC 900 Rotary Evaporator from KNF is designed for laboratories. Is there something you think you should modify so that it is suitable for use in gastronomy?
    “No not at all. It is perfect for us as it is – no changes! Except when KNF would develop a model that cleans itself, then … Fun aside: It is in the nature of the matter that we need a lot of time to clean the RC 900, but this is easy and can not be changed. But you can dream.”

Article originally appeared in KNF Neuberger, AG magazine, “Notabene”, Oct. 2016.