• On August 26, Changzhou Bridgestone Flowtech Co., Ltd. laid the foundation stone for its new plant in Changzhou National High-Tech District, Jiangsu Province. With a total investment of US$49.7 million, the new plant, which will mainly produce oil, gas and hydraulic hoses, hose assemblies and rubber mixing products, is expected to be completed in June 2012 and start production in October of the same year.

    With its registered capital increased from US$3.2 million to US$24.3 million, the new plant is jointly invested by Changzhou Bridgestone Flowtech and Bridgestone (China) Chemical Products Investment. It has a gross floor area of some 70,000 square meters and a construction area of 28,200 square meters. “Given the strong demand in China, we will try our best to start production ahead of schedule,” a senior company official said in the groundbreaking ceremony.

    Upon completion, the new project will have an annual production capacity of 12,000 kilometers of air hoses, oil hoses and hydraulic hoses, 7 million hose assemblies and 5,000 tons of rubber mixings, with the annual output value expected to reach 630 million yuan, while profits and taxes are estimated to come to 45 million yuan. In addition, more than 200 new jobs are expected to be offered by 2015.

    Japan-based Bridgestone Group was ranked 286th on the list of Fortune Global 500 for 2011. The Group established a wholly-owned subsidiary Changzhou Bridgestone Cycle Co., Ltd. in Changzhou Hi-Tech District on December 1994, and then set up another two enterprises involved in auto parts and fluid technology respectively.

    Changzhou  Hi-Tech District has attracted many local and overseas investors such as Germany-based Lanxess, Leoni, BAERLOCHERGMBH, otto bock, hoerbiger, Linde Group, Switzerland-based Georg Fischer, Mettler Toledo, Rieter Textile Instrument, US-based Terex, Ashland Chemical, Kohler, Chart, Visteon, Magna Powertrain, V&M, Disa, Polynt Group, Kymco Motors, Japan-based Komatsu, Nippon Steel Corp, OKI, Bridgestone, Fujitsu, and Fuji Heavy Industry and so on.

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  • My exhaust manifold is stamped with the image of a hand with an “X” over it, meaning that when the car is turned on, it’s too hot to touch. Post-hurricane, the little hand took on anther meaning: hot enough to cook on.

    Sunday morning - with no power and a case of cabin fever - presented the perfect moment to attempt manifold cookery. I’d heard stories about construction workers warming lunches on truck engines, but the idea had the flavor of an urban myth.

    Not so, say the authors of “Manifold Destiny,” a chatty, how-to-cook-on-your-car-engine cookbook. Chris Maynard and Bill Scheller trace the idea of cooking with heat generated by propulsion back to the Huns, who tenderized meat by tucking it beneath their saddles.

    Truck drivers may be the modern-day pioneers of heating meals under the hood, but “Manifold Destiny” adds a lot of horsepower to the idea with single-serving recipes for Hyundai Halibut with Fennel, Safe-at-Any-Speed Stuffed Eggplant and Thruway Thighs.

    Shrimp, steak, stuffed crabs - almost anything, it seems - can be cooked on the engine. Basically, if you’ve got a car, you’ve got a way to cook dinner, a tidbit well worth remembering during the height of hurricane season, especially with another storm already brewing in the Atlantic.

    Instead of suggesting times and temperatures, recipes denote distance traveled. A pork tenderloin cooks in 250 miles. Venison cutlets will be done in 55 to 85 miles. Scallops in just 30. The authors say their “recipe mileage numbers are based upon an average speed of 55 mph.”

    The multitasking aspect is alluring - cook and go somewhere simultaneously. But still. Isn’t it impossible to secure food to the engine so that it won’t splatter across the pavement? And won’t a car-cooked meal taste of exhaust and perhaps hasten death?

    Absolutely not, according to “Manifold Destiny.” Most car engines have plenty of nooks and crannies that aluminum foil food packets can be securely tucked into. And if your car is in good condition, there shouldn’t be a whiff of exhaust under the hood. That’s the business of the back end of the car.

    Still skeptical, I took the first step: figuring out where on the engine to cook. Maynard and Scheller use the “burn your finger” method. After driving around for a bit, turn off the vehicle, open the hood and touch metal surfaces. The ones that cause recoil are hot enough to cook on. (Plastic surfaces are useless for car cookery.) Search out surfaces that are hot but that also offer a secure place to tuck or wire the food into place.

    My Honda’s manifold is perfect because it’s easily accessible and has a spacious, flat surface. Plus, there’s a little metal thingie sticking up on one side that has a hole in it, perfect for threading wire through.

    Besides the food, the method calls for heavy aluminum foil and some baling wire, available for about $5 a roll at local hardware stores.

    For the inaugural meal on wheels, I chose Good and Simple Cajun Shrimp and Speedy Spedini, a triple-decker sandwich made with fresh mozzarella.

    After prepping the food - which took no time at all - it was time to triple-wrap the dishes separately in aluminum foil, pressing down the seams to make a tight seal. The triple wrap is key.

    Because my manifold is so spacious, I was able to combine both dishes in the third layer of foil, making one large packet that would be easier to secure.

    By twisting wires to the metal thingie and around the clamp of a mysterious rubber hose, I was able to make a cradle for the food.

    All that was left was the driving.

    A chronic multitasker, I decided to cook my way to my mother’s house in Portsmouth to see how it had fared during the storm. Each bump on Interstate 264 induced a cringe, and the cargo kept me checking the rear-view mirror for shrimp-strewn pavement and slowing way down for puddles so as not to sully dinner.

    Mostly, I felt like I had a delicious secret.

    The authors advise against checking for doneness, so I resisted.

    Back home, less than an hour later, I popped the hood and there it was: dinner, hot off the manifold.

    The unshelled shrimp, seasoned with peppers and garlic, was only slightly overcooked. The sandwich, which had anchovy paste as the condiment, sported plenty of stretchy, melted mozzarella, was not a bit soggy and was satisfying, even if there was no crunch.

    A brave friend who sampled the fare summed it up best: “It’s good! I couldn’t have told that you cooked it on your car.”

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  • In cryptography, rubber-hose cryptanalysis is the extraction of cryptographic secrets (e.g. the password to an encrypted file) from a person by coercion or torture,in contrast to a mathematical or technical cryptanalytic attack.

    The euphemistic term refers to beating someone with a rubber hose until they cooperate.

    According to Amnesty International and the UN, many countries in the world routinely torture people.It is therefore logical to assume that at least some of those countries use (or would be willing to use) some form of rubber-hose cryptanalysis. In practice, psychological coercion can prove as effective as physical torture. Non-violent but highly intimidating methods include such tactics as the threat of harsh legal penalties. The incentive to cooperate may be some form of plea bargain, such as an offer to drop or reduce criminal charges against a suspect in return for full co-operation with investigators. Alternatively, in some countries threats may be made to prosecute as co-conspirators (or inflict violence on) close relatives (e.g. wife, children or parents) of the person being questioned unless they co-operate.

    Although the term is used tongue-in-cheek, its implications are serious: in modern cryptosystems, the weakest link is often the human user. A direct attack on a cipher algorithm, or the cryptographic protocols used, will likely be much more expensive and difficult than targeting the users of the system. Thus, many cryptosystems and security systems are designed with special emphasis on keeping human vulnerability to a minimum. For example, in public-key cryptography, the defender may hold the key to encrypt the message, but not the decryption key needed to decipher it. The problem here is that the defender may be unable to convince the attacker to stop coercion. In deniable encryption, a second key is created which unlocks a second convincing but relatively harmless message (for example, apparently personal writings expressing “deviant” thoughts or desires of some type that are lawful but taboo), so the defender can prove to have handed over the keys whilst the attacker remains unaware of the primary hidden message. The designer expectation is that rational adversaries will realize this, and forgo threats or actual torture.

    In some jurisdictions, statutes assume the opposite — that human operators know (or have access to) such things as session keys, an assumption which parallels that made by rubber-hose practitioners. An example is the United Kingdom’s Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act,which makes it a crime not to surrender encryption keys on demand from a government official authorized by the act — irrespective of whether or not there are reasonable grounds for even suspecting that the data encrypted held any illegal material.

    According to the Home Office, the burden of proof that an accused person is in possession of a key rests on the prosecution; moreover, the act contains a defence for operators who have lost or forgotten a key, and they are not liable if they are judged to have done what they can to recover a key.[8] However in such cases, the prosecution only has to prove that the accused had the key at some arbitrary time in the past - regardless of whether they still have it.

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  • It’s quite amazing that a 5¢ hose washer can cause $15,000 damage, but it can. Recently, a client of mine took possession of his brand new home. The laundry pair wasn’t included in the purchase of the home so he was off to a local supplier to buy them. His purchase included delivery and installation. In the case of the washing machine it included the water supply connections.

    Within a few days of the purchase, the appliance company delivered the goods, placed them and installed them. Unfortunately the cold water supply line was connected without using a rubber washer. The result was a slow but steady leak. As happenstance would have it, the delivery was made the very same day as the owner embarked on a two week trip. The owner returned to some pretty hefty water damage.

    Fortunately, instances like this are scarce. Burst supply hoses however are more common and they have the potential to cause significant damage. When the supply valve is open, the hose is under pressure. A failure in the hose at 70 pounds pressure can release as much as 650 gallons an hour. That would be enough water to fill a 10’ x 10’ room with a foot of water. That’s why we inspect them during an inspection.

    The lifespan of a rubber supply hose can be influenced by chlorine content, water pressure and the bend in the hose. When the shut-off valves are left on, and the conditions are right, the constant water pressure can have the potential for hose fatigue and bursting. Most new washing machines are shipped with the familiar black rubber hoses. If you think about how your washing machine hoses are subjected to high-pressure water day after day, you can see how important regular inspection can be.

    A good option is to install braided supply lines. Stainless-steel-braid washing machine hoses are encased in a woven metal sleeve that help prevents weak spots in the rubber from developing into leaks. They can be purchased at most home centers, hardware stores and plumbing supply outlets. They are more resistant to any cuts or twists in comparison to the rubber hoses.

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  • With volatile rubber prices and the weakening US dollar, many companies in the rubber sector have seen lower profits since the beginning of last year. However, Wellcall Holdings Bhd, the largest exporter of industrial rubber hoses in Malaysia, is one of the few that bucked the trend with its latest quarterly report.

    Wellcall posted a 38.34% year-on-year rise in net profit to RM4.86 million for 3QFY11 ended June 30 from RM3.51 million a year ago. Revenue increased by a larger margin of 50.8% to RM38.11 million from RM25.27 million previously. Basic earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter was 3.68 sen compared with 2.66 sen a year ago.

    “The better quarterly results were also due to the improved utilisation of our production lines and the gradual increase in the selling price of our products,” Alex Chew, executive director of Wellcall, told The Edge Financial Daily in an interview.

    He added that the increase in raw material prices gave Wellcall room to raise selling prices.

    “Wellcall actually favours the upward increase in raw material prices, but it has to be a gradual and not a drastic increase. As long as we have a reasonable leeway to communicate with our customers, we are able to pass down the cost,” Chew said.

    Like other manufacturers, Wellcall has been facing rising raw material costs, in particular synthetic rubber and standard Malaysian rubber (SMR). The price of SMR 10 has been on the rise from around RM9.50 per kg in January 2010, peaking at RM16.70 per kg in February 2011. This month, it averaged around RM13.65 per kg.

    The stronger ringgit is another headwind as 98% of Wellcall’s transactions are done in US dollars, but it also reduces the cost of imported synthetic rubber and chemicals, Chew said.

    To counter the effects of rising raw material costs and the strengthening ringgit, Chew said that apart from pricing up its products, Wellcall has improved efficiency by transforming its manufacturing process.

    “Wellcall has been improving its efficiency in the manufacturing process by converting older manual machines to semi-automated ones. This exercise is an ongoing programme to cut labour costs,” he said, adding that in certain divisions, Wellcall has managed to reduce the workforce by up to 40%.

    To buffer against volatitile raw material prices, Wellcall purchases its materials in bulk. Chew said Wellcall has in stock one month’s worth of natural rubber and two to three months of synthetic rubber.

    Wellcall also has the flexibility to switch between natural and synthetic rubber, giving it room to minimise raw material costs, he said.

    Wellcall’s products are sold to distributors and end customers in major application markets. These include the air and water hose, welding and gas, oil and fuel, automobile, ship building, and the food and beverage (F&B) markets.

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  • Excessive heat and overcharging shorten battery life as constant heating evaporates the water from the battery fluid, damaging the internal structure. A malfunctioning voltage regulator allows an excessive charging rate that eventually destroys the battery.

    To get the most life out of a battery, the council recommends having the electrical system checked to ensure it is charging at the correct rate. If your car’s battery is the type that needs to be topped off, check it often, especially in hot weather and add distilled water as necessary. Keep the top of the battery clean. Dirt can become a conductor, which drains battery power.

    Edmunds.com suggests checking the battery electrolyte solution level every few months. Wear rubber hose gloves and goggles, or a face shield, and mix a container of baking soda solution to neutralize sulfuric acid spills.

    Even “maintenance-free” batteries can lose water from their electrolyte solutions in 105-degree heat. No-maintenance battery cell-top covers can be removed with a putty knife. Check the solution level - it should be just touching the bottom of the refill hole. Refill the battery, as needed, with distilled water - never tap water - and don’t overfill the cells.

    Radiator: The radiator-based cooling system works at peak capacity in hot temperatures, making it harder to prevent engine overheating. The coolant and distilled water mixture for vehicle radiators should be mixed half and half.

    Never open a hot radiator cap. The coolant should be changed annually to keep the cooling system fresh and clean inside. This helps prevent corrosion and assures the coolant has the proper boiling point and protection.

    A pressure test, a thermostat test, a cooling fan test and a visual inspection for leaks and corrosion should be performed by a trained automotive technician annually. Hoses and drive belts should be checked for cracks, bulges and frayed edges.

    Keep the radiator clean by periodically using a hose with a sharp-spray nozzle and a soft brush to remove bugs, dirt and debris. See Edmunds’ “How to maintain your vehicle’s cooling system”

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  • An Australian supplier of rubber hoses for automobiles has invested in 3-D laser scanning as a means to ensure that its products precisely match design specifications.

    Mackay Consolidated Industries (Victoria, Australia) — a Tier 1 auto supplier of engineered rubber and bonded metal/rubber composite products for OEMs such as Ford, GM and Toyota — produces hoses in many intricate shapes and sizes.

    Until recently, the company evaluated the compliance of its products to specification by measuring them by hand. Engineers used squares and gauges to compare manufactured products to 2-D printouts of CAD drawings. But this process was time consuming, costly, laborious, and inaccurate.

    The Mackay team also tried using a conventional coordinate measuring machine (CMM) for inspection. But this was difficult and time consuming. What is more, neither hand measurements nor CMMs provided the documentation support Mackay needed.

    A ZScanner handheld 3-D laser scanner from Z Corporation (Burlington, MA, USA) proved to be the solution to the company’s problems. The ZScanner 600, for example, can take 18,000 measurements per second with two cameras, providing an x-y accuracy of up to 80 microns (up to 0.003 inches) and a resolution of 0.1 mm (0.004 inches) in the z axis.

    Now, instead of creating complex fixtures to set up every scanning project, in most instances, a user can simply point the ZScanner at the target object. The resulting image — a triangulated mesh in STL format — can then be downloaded into PolyWorks inspection software, which aligns the image with a customer-approved CAD model.

    The process produces a detailed chart pinpointing where the part complies with the specification, and most importantly, where it does not, making it easier for the engineers to spot areas that are outside specification.

    Mackay can also include the images of the hoses captured by the system in its customer documentation to demonstrate the quality of the finished product. This capability helped the company win General Motors’ business in the Asia-Pacific region.

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  • As automobiles change, so do the demands on suppliers of parts – right down to the rubber hoses that carry air into the engine, coolant to the radiator, and fluids to brakes and windshields.

    Compact engine compartments crammed with components make engineering for hoses more precise than ever, which is why Mackay Consolidated Industries Pty Ltd of Victoria, Australia, invested in a ZScanner® handheld 3D laser scanner from Z Corporation.

    Mackay, a Tier 1 auto supplier for OEMs such as Ford, GM and Toyota, produces hoses in progressively intricate shapes and sizes to deal with the shrinking margin for error under the hood. The ZScanner helps the company better perform quality assurance to document that its products precisely match design specifications.

    Instead of creating complex fixtures to set up every scanning project, the user in most instances can simply point the ZScanner like a flashlight at the target object, which can be handled and moved during the process to easily capture every surface angle. The resulting image — triangulated mesh in STL format — is downloaded into PolyWorks® inspection software, which aligns the image with the customer-approved CAD model. This process produces a highly detailed “heat map” chart pinpointing where the part complies with the specification, and most importantly, where it does not. It’s now quick and easy to spot areas that are outside specification and revise designs accordingly.

    “We’ve dramatically reduced the time it takes to scan new hoses,” says Arch Tatas, Mackay’s quality manager. “It takes us half the time it used to. We just place the item on a bench and go to work. This has helped us transform our quality assurance procedures to save time, improve quality and increase customer satisfaction. These are all valuable results for us.”

    Until recently, the company evaluated specification compliance by measuring its products by hand. Engineers used squares and gauges to compare the manufactured product to a two-dimensional printout of the CAD drawing. This process was time consuming, costly, laborious and inaccurate, primarily because of the complexity of the shape and flexibility of the material.

    At one point, the Mackay team tried a conventional computerized measuring machine (CMM) for inspection. A CMM requires extensive set up and an absolutely fixed target. The more cramped engine compartments became, the more difficult and time consuming it was to measure their parts with a CMM. Neither hand measurements nor CMMs provided documentation support Mackay needed.

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  • Hookah use is establishing roots in the strongly anti-tobacco state of California, says a new study, with usage rates increasing more than 40% over a few years.

    Hookah involves smoking from a water pipe and hose. Specially made tobacco, often flavored,  is heated and smoke passes through water and a rubber hose into a mouthpiece. Studies so far suggest that hookah smoking carries many of the same health risks assmoking cigarettes.

    Researchers from UC San Diego and San Diego State University examined data from the California Tobacco Survey. It showed 7.9% of male adults said they had smoked hookah in 2005 compared to 11.2% in 2008. Among adult women, 1.9% had smoked hookah in 2005 and 2.8% in 2008.

    But among men ages 18 to 24 in 2008, almost one-quarter of all men said they had used hookah. Hookah appears most common among young educated, non-Hispanic whites and cigarette smokers.

    The report represents the largest survey of hookah use in a population collected at two points in time.

    “The increase in hookah use in California is concerning, especially considering the rapid increase over a three-year period in a state that is leading the nation in tobacco control,” the authors wrote.

    Since cigarette smoking is banned throughout California in public spaces, the fact that hookah is permitted in special lounges may lead some people to believe that hookah is safe, the authors said.

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  • Basic maintenance can be a smart investment when it comes to your automobile. Keeping your vehicle maintained properly is one way to keep your car running for a long time.

    Extending the life of your car makes your investment smarter than ever. Get some simple tips to keep your car in good condition.

    (NAPSI)—Whether your car came right off the showroom floor or you drive a used vehicle that has seen its share of miles, one of the best ways to extend its life is to practice basic maintenance.

    To help, here are some tips:

    • Take Care Of Your Tires.

    A good rule of thumb for tire rotation is to have your tires rotated every other oil change. This can vary depending on the amount of driving you do. Check the air pressure in your tires. This simple procedure can help your vehicle’s fuel economy.

    • Check Your Belts And Hoses.

    You may not know what everything does under the hood of your vehicle, but even you can recognize a belt or hose that has a crack or corrosion. These parts are usually made of rubber and will eventually wear out. If you’re still unsure, belts and hoses can be checked during an oil change or at your vehicle’s annual checkup.

    • Check Your Oil.

    If the level of oil in your vehicle is too high or low, it can cause engine problems. Owners of both new and older vehicles can consider using synthetic motor oil to help increase the mileage between oil changes.

    For example, Royal Purple offers a variety of motor oil viscosities for different makes and models, recommending the SN Series for vehicles 2011 and newer and the new High Performance Series for older vehicles. This can result in money savings with fewer oil changes and less impact on the environment with less oil disposed.

    • Check Your Coolant.

    If you’re not sure where your coolant reservoir is, check your owner’s manual. The ideal level of coolant should be between the low and high markings.

    If you are checking the coolant yourself, do not take the cap off if your vehicle has been recently driven. If the coolant system is hot, the pressure inside could burn you when the cap is removed. To keep your engine cool, try a coolant additive such as Royal Purple’s Purple Ice. It’s designed to reduce engine temperatures and protect the engine from corrosion.

    • Learn The Dashboard Lights.

    Refer to your owner’s manual to familiarize yourself with some of your dashboard warning lights. These include: Check Engine, Service Engine, Electrical Fault, Brake Warning, ABS Brake Warning, Coolant and Oil. Ignoring these warning signs could result in expensive repairs if left too long.

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