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?

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.

The above 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.

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!

Video: Choosing the Best Vacuum Pump for Your Lab Application

 

Are you in the market for a new laboratory vacuum pump? Perhaps you need more information on which pump to choose. A new video, produced by Lab Manager, may provide valuable insights. View the video directly above, or click here.

Reaction Time: Q&A with Jim Abbott, Market Manager, Julabo USA, Inc.

PITTCON mascot, Pete Con, standing beside the Julabo reactorNot too long ago, while attending the PITTCON show in Atlanta, Georgia, we came across a unique and eye-catching exhibitor system – a special reactor manufactured by Julabo USA, Inc. featuring two KNF SIMDOS® liquid metering pumps transferring fluids to and from the reactor vessel. The machine is quite intriguing on its own; however, after having noticed the two KNF liquid diaphragm pumps, we contacted Jim Abbot, Market Manager, from Julabo USA, Inc. to learn more about the company’s impressive reactor.

1. Overall, what is the purpose of this reactor, what exactly does it do? Does it have an official name?

“We typically just refer to the small reactors of 100mL to 5L size as ‘bench scale’ or ’bench top reactor’, and the 10L to 100L sizes as ’kilo-scale pilot plant reactors’. Systems are available in both glass and stainless steel. Also, we are proud to be the US distributor of Berghof high pressure reactor systems – these have a ton of applications which they are used for but typical uses include: pharma, bio-pharma, plastics, paints, polymers, adhesives, petrochemical, energy, and most recently cannabis. The reactors are primarily used in mixing applications but with add-on features they can be easily equipped for various distillation methods such as: refluxing, short path and fractional distillation. All of our units are automation capable and can be easily controlled using our PC or PLC based AUTOReactor™ control and data logging packages.”

2. What is the function of the two KNF SIMDOS® pumps used within the Julabo reactor?

SIMDOS_Pumps_2 SIMDOS_pumps_1“We use the KNF pumps to control liquid additions or product sampling. The KNF SIMDOS pumps are used, specifically, because of their high quality, reliability, and automation capability. The pumps are connected to our PC or PLC based AUTOReactor™ control and data logging packages which allows users to program and control the process quite effectively and efficiently.”

3. I noticed that the reactor uses both KNF SIMDOS 10, and SIMDOS 02 pumps. Is there a reason why two different KNF SIMDOS pump types were selected?

“We displayed both [pumps] on [our demo] system, but typically we use the SIMDOS 02 on the bench scale reactors, while the SIMDOS 10 is used on the kilo-scale reactors. This is because of their different delivery rates as associated with the scale of the process, but quite often these are used interchangeably across both platforms.”

4. Is there any particular reason that compelled the system’s designer to choose KNF pumps over other dosing pumps from other pump manufacturers?

“We (Julabo) have had a long relationship with KNF both in the USA, and around the world. Moreover, we know without a doubt that KNF has the same principals as JULABO as far as delivering high-quality, reliable products.”

5. Will the Julabo reactor(s) be featured at the ACS tradeshow next week?

“Yes it will; we plan to display it again with the [KNF SIMDOS] pumps in a different configuration but always taking front stage, hand-in-hand with the JULABO products.”

6. Would you like to share any additional facts, or interesting notes regarding this system?

“We are devoted to offering our expertise in temperature control and reaction systems to our customers. Likewise, we are dedicated to providing solutions, from the inception of a process, through scale-up, and into manufacturing. One of the key factors is we design all of our systems with the utmost flexibility so as processes change, and companies grow we to can change and grow together with them.”

Julabo will be exhibiting at the upcoming ACS tradeshow in Philadelphia on August 21-23, 2016. If you will be attending the show, then be sure to check out Julabo’s incredible reactor system(s) incorporating KNF SIMDOS dosing/metering pumps. Also, don’t forget to visit KNF booth #1626 to see our latest laboratory technology, including: SIMDOS 10 and SIMDOS 02 liquid metering/dosing pumps, LABOPORT diaphragm vacuum pumps, LIQUIPORT liquid transfer pumps, the versatile VC 900 vacuum controller, and KNF’s award-winning RC 900 rotary evaporator.

KNF OEM Diaphragm Pumps Used in Multiple Environmental Studies

A customer recently brought five environmental studies, ranging from 2013 to 1996, to our attention. Each of the studies details research conducted with one common component: a KNF OEM pump, which proved integral for sample collection or transfer during the analyses. Of the five studies, we cherry-picked two air-toxics studies for your further reading. However, here’s the listing of all five:

  1. Walter 2013 High Res Measurements Atmospheric Hydrogen West African Coast Mauritania
  2. Querino 2011 Methane Flux Vertical Gradient Mixing Ratio Measurements in a Tropical Forest
  3. Bailey 2010 Southwest Indianapolis Air Toxics Study
  4. Romashkin 2001 In Situ Measurements Long Lived Trace Gases Lower Stratosphere Gas Chromatography
  5. Elkins 1996 Airborne Gas Chromatography In Situ Measurements Long Lived Species Upper Troposphere Lower Stratosphere

KNF Environmental Pumps for Gas Sampling and AnalysisWe’re very proud KNF pumps are relied upon within ambient, source and portable devices for environmental sample collection and analysis. For example, the 2010 study listed above details a project in which the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM), the U.S. EPA, the City of Indianapolis, and a diverse group of stakeholders teamed up to conduct an air toxics study in southwestern Indianapolis, Indiana (this region was identified by the U.S. EPA National Air Toxics Assessment [NATA] in 1996 and 1999 to be an area of potential concern for cancer risk from air toxics).

A KNF pump was used to enable the analysis of the total non-methane organic carbon (TNMOC) concentration of ambient air. For a history lesson, the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 required the EPA’s Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards to set National Ambient Air Quality Standard for the “criteria” pollutant, ozone. In areas of the country where the NAAQS for ozone is being exceeded, additional measurements of the ambient nonmethane organic compound (NMOC) concentration are needed to assist the affected States in developing revised ozone control strategies. Measurements of ambient NMOC are important to the control of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are precursors to atmospheric ozone.

Therefore, a reliable pump was essential for the collection of air samples with potentially harmful toxics. Simultaneously, it was critical for the pump to collect samples in a manner that didn’t change or contaminate the samples. KNF pumps, known for their reliability and chemical inertness, are ideally situated for this type of application. Additionally, their extremely high gas tightness allows for the accurate and complete collection of media, without the risk of sample loss, dilution, or contamination.

Also, in 2001, a study, titled In Situ Measurements of Long-Lived Trace Gases in the Lower Stratosphere by Gas Chromatography, utilized the KNF NMP 830 pump (referenced as UNMP 830 pump in article) . For this study, a four-channel gas chromatograph measured different air qualities in 70 and 140 second intervals. Air external to the aircraft was delivered to the instrument from an external, variable speed, two-stage, KNF diaphragm pump, driven by a brushless 24-V DC motor. The KNF pump was mounted on the aft wall, and was turned on by the ACATS-IV onboard computer when the ER-2 aircraft ascended through 87 kPa of atmospheric pressure.

Regarding this second study, there are a few points of interest we’d like our readers to note. First, the usage of the pump is a prime example of KNF application flexibility. The KNF NMP 830 micro pump is small; however, its footprint isn’t the only reason it was relied upon within this challenging design. For example, the pump in this application is pulling atmospheric samples at an extremely high altitude, measuring parts per billion (ppb) and parts per trillion (ppt). Expectedly, pump inertness is therefore paramount. Much like in the first study referenced above, environmental analysis customers have come to rely on KNF pump material options, including PTFE and stainless steel, and on the leak tightness of KNF pumps.

Additionally, the KNF pump used in this second study is driven by a brushless DC (BLDC) motor, which helps meet the small size mandate. BLDC allows flow rates to be adjusted as needed, helping to extend the lifecycle and reliability of a device. Motor adjustment is also particularly important for this application, because at high elevations, fewer air molecules are available to blow across the pump for cooling. Therefore, the pump faces the risk of overheating. However, the ability to adjust and operate the motor at a lower voltage and speed helps to mitigate this concern. The small and lightweight design of KNF micro gas pumps even allows for energy-efficient battery operation.

Also of note, there’s far less ambient pressure at the elevation at which the pump in this study is operating, resulting in less pressure on both the top and undersides of the diaphragm. This condition is certainly not ideal for pump operation, which further adds to the difficulty of this application. This, and the other challenges presented by high altitude operation and ppb/ppt detection require a specification-driven, individually-tailored pump. KNF excels in designing and configuring pumps to exacting requirements such as these. In fact, over 80 percent of KNF’s business involves custom-engineered pump solutions.

To round out this review, the first and second studies listed above used KNF pumps to flush sample flasks prior to sampling, and to collect and fill flasks, respectively. The last study used a KNF pump to collect samples in a high altitude study with a set-up similar to the Romashkin 2001 study, which was discussed above.

Summing up this entry to The Pump Post, each of the five studies offers a constant theme of KNF OEM pumps being well-suited for environmental sample collection and analysis applications. Please check back to learn more about KNF products in real-world applications!