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DIRECT METHANOL FUEL CELL CHARGER PROTOTYPE
University of British Columbia, Clean Energy Research Centre

This 1-watt fuel cell utilizes variable exposed plate geometry to control power output for charging personal electronic devices.

  • Developed a system of seals between the stack of plates to facilitate sealing in conjunction with variable geometry
  • Optimized effective plate area to minimize overall size of the unit
  • Designed using SolidWorks

FUEL PUMP for TRUCK HEATER
Teleflex Canada Ltd.

These diesel-fired, microprocessor-controlled truck heaters are used to heat the engine and cab of highway trucks or busses.  The competitor’s product has both supply and return hoses for the fuel, requiring two connections into the vehicle’s fuel tank.

  • Developed a method of automatically purging air out of the fuel system, eliminating the need for a fuel return line. The system met the requirements and surpassed all performance expectations. It gave Teleflex a decided advantage over the competition.

AIR COMPRESSOR for US ARMY FIELD COOK STOVES
Teleflex Canada Ltd.

Teleflex developed new cook stoves for the US Army to replace the aging units previously in use. The new stoves were developed to meet their single fuel mandate. The stoves burn jet fuel, which is also used in the Army’s tanks, aircraft and trucks. The burner units fit various appliances, for grilling, baking, etc., and are automated with such features as push button start, stop, and refueling.

  • Developed a small modular air compressor to be used in the Army stove and with some different internals, in the company’s line of truck heaters. The compressor utilizes some die cast and injection molded parts.
  • The compressor is 10% more efficient than the previous design, a key feature in a product where low power consumption is a major selling feature. It is also 4 decibels quieter than its predecessor.

ROBOTIC WORKSTATION
National Research Council

A computer workstation was developed that would allow a quadriplegic to work in an office. File folders are stored in slots at the side and back of the desk where a robot can access them. The robot removes a folder from one of the slots and places it on an easel in front of the disabled office worker. Using voice commands, the documents can be retyped, printed, stamped and filed for mailing etc.

Designed manufactured and tested the mechanical parts of the system:
  • Custom-designed workstation with track mounted robot
  • Easel that opens file folders and mechanical fingers that hold them in place
  • Suction-operated page turning device
  • Robot-friendly file storage racks

AIR SYSTEM for FUEL CELL BUS
Ballard Power Systems Inc.

These “clean air” buses for the cities of Vancouver and Chicago are powered by fuel cells. The fuel cell engine consumes large amounts of air which is supplied by a sixty horsepower supercharger and a turbocharger.

  • Designed the arrangement of the air system to be shoehorned into a tight space between the fuel cells and other engine components
  • Modular design so the various parts can be serviced easily, or removed as a unit for major repairs

ELECTROLYTE MIXING SYSTEM
Ballard Batteries Inc.

Ballard Batteries developed high energy lithium, sulfur-dioxide batteries and required a mixing system for the electrolyte.

  • Designed an apparatus to inject lithium bromide powder while excluding air and maintaining an inert atmosphere within the system
  • Reduced production time for batteries by two technician-hours per day
  • The cost to design, build and install the apparatus was 75% less than the alternate method

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PNEUMATIC CONTROL SYSTEM for GRAPPLE YARDER
RSI Research Ltd.

Hundred-ton grapple yarders are used to haul felled trees out of a logged area to where they can be loaded onto logging trucks. Older machines required a high skill level to operate; having numerous levers and foot pedals to control the various cables, open and close the grapple as well as swing and travel. RSI developed a single joystick to control all functions except travel.

  • Designed a proportional pneumatic system to control clutches and brakes for the cable winches.
  • System was designed to override the older, manual valves but could be bypassed to operate the machine manually if required.


Copyright 2007-2012 H. Dasken Mechanical and Technical Innovations. All rights reserved.
Photo credits: Globe photo courtesy of D. Jensen & Associates Ltd; other photos by Hugh Dasken.