Category Archives: Construction

Is China’s Bubble the Next Financial Crisis?


By Mark Whitehouse – The Chinese credit boom has rapidly turned the country into one of the developing world’s most indebted, according to a new report (pdf) from London’s Centre for Economic Policy Research.

Such credit-fueled growth can’t be sustained for long without causing major distortions and setting the country up for a fall.

The stimulus is already running into diminishing returns. Over the five years through 2013, government and private debt grew by about 3 yuan for each added yuan of economic activity, a level of credit intensity that the U.S. exceeded only in the years leading up to the 2008 crisis. more> http://tinyurl.com/k5985du

Updates from GE


The Century-Old Panama Canal is Opening Up to a Busy Future

GE – The Panama Canal is a full century old, but that doesn’t mean it still can’t grow. The 48-mile-long landmark that cuts across “the backbone of the Western Hemisphere” is going through the final year of a massive expansion. When work is completed in 2015, new locks will allow giant “New Panamax” class of container ships and supertankers through and boost the canal’s capacity by half.

In 1914, the canal used 500 GE motors to operate the locks, with 500 more installed elsewhere in the system. GE also built the power plants that provided the canal with electricity and designed the centralized control equipment for the locks.

One historian noted that GE “produced about half the electrical equipment needed during construction and virtually all of the permanent motors, relays, switches, wiring and generating equipment. They also built the original locks towing locomotives and all of the lighting.”

Those 40 electric towing locomotives were made in Schenectady, NY. Since ships were not permitted to pass through the locks under their own power, these “lock mules” rode on rails next to the canal and pulled them through the locks. Custom gears and electrical design allowed them to run as slow as 1 mph, the speed required for gently tugging large vessels. more> http://tinyurl.com/kuvm694

Updates from SIEMENS


Modeling the truck as a whole: Scania uses LMS Imagine.Lab Amesim for testing approach
SIEMENS – Just how do you design a truck?

And especially a truck that needs to haul loads of timber out of snowy Scandinavian forests or coal out of dusty, unpredictable Indonesian mines?

Or, simply be able to run dependably 24 hours a day, seven days a week on the highway?

Precision is the answer for Scania. Obtaining this precision equals the right type of design early in the process. This is just one of the reasons why this global truck manufacturer uses LMS Imagine.Lab™ software. The engineering team counts on this tool to simulate the entire vehicle dynamics, including the hydraulics and the driveline, and to couple various systems such as electronics to create a “virtual” truck.

A leader in the truck and bus market, the Swedish multinational was founded in 1891. Since then, the company has produced and delivered more than 1,400,000 trucks and buses for heavy transportation. You can imagine that a lot has changed since Gustaf Eriksson designed a usable petrol engine in 1902, the year the company manufactured its first truck. more> http://tinyurl.com/l3er3qc

Related>

The business case for urban regeneration


[ SMARTER CITY ]

By Howard Bassford – The garden city must be locally led, with a strong local jobs offer that is “linked by rapid transport providing a full range of employment opportunities”.

The growing number of one person households is more easily accommodated in denser areas too.

That in turn results in opportunities for new products – the company that owns or manages the home you rent can be as important as the bank or energy company that you use.

A healthy PRS (private rented sector) begets competition, and that drives service standards and quality housing stock. more> http://tinyurl.com/n6amc4t

Updates from GE


Why The Queen Smashed A Perfectly Good Bottle of Whisky on Her Navy’s Largest Ship

GE – The whisky came from a special barrel set aside in 1980, when the Queen came to Bowmore, her first and only visit to a whisky distillery in an official capacity.

The 65,000-ton steel ship was assembled in Rosyth, Scotland, hence the use of whiskey instead of champagne. It is the first of two ships in the Royal Navy’s new class of aircraft carriers called the Queen Elizabeth Class (QEC). When completed, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales will be the second largest aircraft carriers in the world after America’s Nimitz Class ships.

The British vessels will also be the world’s first all-electric aircraft carriers. They will rely on technology from GE’s Power Conversion unit, which built the aircraft carrier’s integrated full electric propulsion systems and electrical power control and management systems.

The electrical systems allowed ship builders to shrink the overall size of the cables, equipment and propulsion machinery that power the propellers, and leave more room for crew and aircraft. The Royal Navy will be also able to operate the vessels more efficiently. more> http://tinyurl.com/nhk97m8

12 Tips for Designing an Open-Ended Project


By John Kamensky – How do you tackle a large-scale, complex challenge that evolves over time, involves thousands of stakeholders, and where there is no clear solution?

For example, is there a road map for how the Internet evolved? Could we do it again?

Traditionally, leaders use hierarchical “closed system” approaches to solve large, complicated problems. A closed project has a defined staff, budget and outcome, and uses hierarchy and logic models to direct activities. It is particularly appropriate for problems with known solutions and stable environments, such as the development of a major highway project.

But today there are instances when a problem is so complex, that it demands another approach. David Witzel calls this an “open project” approach. more> http://tinyurl.com/nxcknn5

Keeping a city-by-the-sea from becoming a city in it


[ SMARTER CITY ]


By James Sanders and Jesse M. Keenan – Unlike the great capitals of Europe, New York does not sit snugly inland along a winding river. Instead it opens directly onto one of the world’s great oceans, a geographic advantage that helped propel the city to pre-eminence. Even by the 1820s, when Frances Trollope [2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] was writing, the city’s proximity to the Atlantic had made it by far the busiest port in the nation.

New York is also Amsterdam — holding back the sea. Since its founding in the early 17th century as New Amsterdam, New York has shared with its namesake the distinctive Dutch instinct to create land by reclaiming it from the sea. more> http://tinyurl.com/mxknxw9