New Kids on the Block

TIPS FROM THE SERVICE BENCH

Phillips and Allen have dominated machine, sheet metal and cap screws for a long time. They are popular, easy to use and easily recognizable. But Phillips and Allen are looking over their shoulders! There are a couple of New Kids on the Block!

The new kids’ names are Torx and Pozidriv. The names may sound foreign but they fit right in the machine screw neighborhood. More surface area and better geometry make these screws more resistant to cam-out — or stripping — as it is more widely known. KNF is still utilizing Phillips and Allen head screws but Torx and Pozidriv are definitely making their presence felt.

TORX

Figure #1 (click to enlarge)

Torx are called “star drive” by some, as the recess resembles a 6 pointed star. The six points of contact engagement allows for higher torque being applied than a conventional Allen hex drive of the same size. Torx sizes are denoted by a T, followed by a number from 1 to 100. Common sizes used for KNF products include T6, T10, T15, and T25.

Various Torx screws and drivers are depicted in Figure #1 (left); shown clockwise (from top-left): various Torx screw heads, Torx handles, Torx driver, Torx black & white image.

POZIDRIV

Figure #2 (click to enlarge)

Pozidriv screws are almost a cousin to Phillips. The Pozidriv (sometimes spelled incorrectly as “Pozidrive”) is actually an improved version of the Phillips screw drive. The name is short for Positive Drive. This screw recess is very easy confused with Phillips if not noticed. Using a Phillips driver for Pozidriv screw recesses can easily result is a stripped head due to the different geometry of the driver itself. The Pozidriv has additional ribs in the driver tip which are received by the secondary web of the Pozidriv screw itself. This extra feature provides more turning strength due to the higher tool engagement. Figure #2 show various Pozidriv screws and drivers; shown clockwise (from top-left): Pozidriv screw heads, Pozidriv handles, Pozidriv driver, black & white image of Pozidriv.

Pozidriv drive bits are designated by the letters “PZ” plus a size code of 0, 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5. Common at KNF are the 0, 1, and 2 sizes. The drivers themselves will have a PZ marking and size code, and possibly the Pozidriv image on the handle butt.

The Pozidriv screws are visually distinguishable from Phillips by a set of radial indents set at 45° from the main cross recess on the head of the screw. These markings are sometime hard to see on plated or treated screws as the treatment may fill in the slighter 45 degree markings.

Please take care to look at these screws carefully before removing for service. Using the right driver will make your servicing quick and efficient. If you are in doubt of which screw is used on your KNF pump, please contact us. We are here for you.

WELCOME TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD

They don’t make things the way the used to, and this can be a good thing, since the latest tools usually incorporate technological advances that improve performance. Please give the “New Kids on the Block” a chance, they are proving to be hard workers!

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100,000 Hours and Counting!

On February 4, 2005, KNF USA engineers entered the temperature-controlled space of the “Life Test Room” in Trenton, NJ to initiate prototype testing for a specially-modified version of the KNF N 838 series diaphragm pump. At the time, the custom-designed OEM vacuum pump was being developed for a Fortune 100 medical device manufacturer, as an integral component of their immunoassay and clinical chemistry analyzer. The KNF pump would need to perform its duty – vacuum aspiration of biological samples – quickly and quietly, while ensuring precision and durability over the life of the pump. Like all spec-driven KNF project pumps, the custom-engineered N 838 vacuum pump was to undergo substantial testing to ensure accuracy, reliability, and overall quality.

KNF Life Test Room

A peek inside the carefully controlled conditions of KNF’s Life Test Room

Among all tests performed by the KNF R&D team, the Life Test may be the most valuable as it simulates the rigorous operating conditions often found in real-world environments – providing valuable data which is used to further improve pump performance. KNF pumps that undergo this particular test are operated under a continuous duty cycle, at high load, in unfavorable temperatures. Collectively, these test settings amount to what KNF Engineers use to determine a “worst case scenario”. In short, the Life Test is employed as a means to identify specific opportunities for improvement, while simultaneously gauging the life span of the pump in its current configuration.

The specially-modified version of KNF’s N 838 diaphragm vacuum pump has been running in a controlled test environment since Feb. 4, 2005.

Remarkably, from the date this post is written, over 12 years (105,189 hours) have passed since Life Testing began for this special N 838 project pump. You read that correctly; the incredibly durable N 838 pump is still running strong after more than a decade! This impressive test run time represents the longest continuous duty timeframe ever recorded at KNF Neuberger. It should also be noted that this record-setting operating life was achieved with only a few minor updates including diaphragm replacements at 30K and 60K hours. Despite advancements in both pump technology and testing procedures, engineers at KNF will continue to operate this extraordinarily resilient pump, in the Life Test Room, until it has completed a full lifetime…whenever that may be.

To put this unbelievable achievement into perspective, we have compiled a list of historical events* that have occurred since the start of the N 838 project pump Life Test:

  • 2005 (Aug) – Hurricane Katrina makes landfall, devastating the US Gulf Coast
  • 2006 (Jul) – Twitter is launched
  • 2007 (Jun) – Apple releases the iPhone
  • 2008 (Nov) – The United States elects Barack Obama president
  • 2009 (Jul) – Roger Federer wins record 15th grand slam at Wimbledon
  • 2010 (Oct) – All 33 Chilean miners are rescued after being trapped for a record 69 days underground
  • 2011 (Apr) – Fidel Castro resigns from the Communist Party of Cuba’s central committee
  • 2012 (Nov) – Scientists detect evidence of light from the universe’s first stars
  • 2013 (Jul) – Detroit, Michigan becomes the largest U.S. municipality to file for bankruptcy
  • 2014 (Mar) – Malaysia Airlines flight 370 disappears kicking off the most expensive search effort ever
  • 2015 (Oct) – China announces the end to their one-child policy after 35 years
  • 2016 (Nov) – Donald Trump is elected President of the United States
  • 2017 (Jan) – World’s largest dinosaur footprint (1.7 meters) found in Western Australia

* events chosen, at random, from www.onthisday.com

New Flow-Tight, Diaphragm Liquid Transfer Pump Prevents Uncontrolled Flow

New, FL 10 Diaphragm Liquid Transfer Pump Prevents Uncontrolled Flow

KNF’s newest liquid transfer pump, the FL 10, is leak-tight in both directions, preventing uncontrolled flow and back-flow of liquid media when not in use. The latest addition to KNF’s extensive line of diaphragm liquid transfer pumps, the FL 10 offers many advanced features, and provides a considerable advantages over similar competitive products.

Leak-tight Diaphragm Liquid Transfer Pump

Featuring a solenoid-drive, and leak-tight valve technology, the compact FL 10 liquid transfer pump displaces fluid at a flow rate of 0 – 100 mL/min. Additionally, a signal frequency modulation feature enables quick and easy flow rate adjustments, saving time and money. Finally, like all KNF diaphragm liquid handling pumps, the FL 10 is self-priming, dry-run safe, and maintenance-free – offering outstanding performance longevity and an extraordinarily long service life (10,000 hours or 1.8 billion strokes).

To learn more about the leak-tight FL 10 liquid transfer pump visit knfusa.com/FL10

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.

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.

Trade Show Demo Features KNF Micro Vacuum Pump

Throughout the year, we’ve noticed a demonstration unit that caught our attention on the show floors of BIOMEDevice San Jose, SLAS and MD&M West. This demo – created and displayed by AllMotion – highlights the ability of their four-axis controller board, and utilizes a KNF Micro Gas Pump to create vacuum for stacking and unstacking marbles at a dizzying speed. AllMotion is a California-based manufacturer of stepper drives, stepper controllers, servo drives and servo controllers.

The demo illustrates the ability of the AllMotion board to run motors through four axis of movement and calculate the associated trajectories, while simultaneously running the KNF Micro Gas Pump, a vacuum switch, limit switches, and LEDs – all in a perfectly-timed ballet of motion.

Continue reading

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!