Prosinec 2012

By Colin Rajala - Staff Writer

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The holiday season is as stressful as they come, with long shopping lines and traffic congestion, but there is no worse feeling than finding out your temperamental holiday lights do not work again, forcing you to purchase some more. Four Enfield homes are all too familiar with this scenario, but all four stuck it out and were named winners in the Enfield Recreation Department's 2012 Holiday Lighting Contest.

The "Best Overall" award was won by Alan Cabral's light show set to music at 3 Renee Lane. The "Brightest Decoration" award was given to Ken Conley's home at 1 King Court, while Kevin Berryman and Jeannie Vega earned "Most Spirited" for their scene at 16 East Gate Lane. The "Most Creative" title was awarded to Lee and Heather Chenette's musical lights. For their award-winning decorations, all won Panera Bread gift packs.

"Every night I get some visitors to stop by and listen and watch," Cabral said. "I think it's a great way to spread some Christmas cheer."

Cabral moved into his house in 2009, and after seeing a video on YouTube, decided he wanted his Christmas lights to stay in cadence with Christmas music. When you drive by his home, you tune into 89.1 FM and you will see more than 6,000 LED lights flicker and flash to some of Cabral's favorite Christmas music. The light show took more than 50 hours of programming and has been in the works since early September. He planned to hit the stores on Dec. 26 to get good sales on Christmas lights to up the ante for his display next year.

Conley has put his lights up for more than 20 years and said that he has even had more lights up in years past - so many lights that at night the circuit breakers inside his home would not work, so you needed to navigate by flashlight. Putting up the lights is one of his favorite things to do during the year. He enjoys it so much that he purchased a flag pole just so he could hang strands of lights to make a Christmas tree.

Kevin Berryman and Jeannie Vega decorated their house for the first time this season and were shocked to win the award. Their decorations have been admired by many, but they say that it has been special to see the excitement on the faces of their two young neighbors who have Down syndrome.

Transport chiefs are replacing bus shelter lighting with more efficient LED lights in a bid to save energy and make them brighter.

The move, which has seen lights replaced in over 2,000 shelters, will save around 150,000 a year.

The electricity costs to light the bus shelters, which makes up a third of SYPTE's total electricity bill, will be reduced considerably as bus shelter energy consumption is slashed by an estimated 61 per cent.

LED lighting has a much longer lifespan, is brighter and more reliable than regular fluorescent lighting and because of this the new lights will also reduce maintenance budget costs.

It will also ensure that the bus stops have a brighter appearance, making them more attractive to use at night.

SYPTE has developed a Carbon Management Plan which seeks to reduce the organisation's carbon footprint by 40 per cent over the next three years.

Solar panels have already been installed at the organisation's head office on Broad Street West which are helping to reduce the amount of electricity drawn from the National Grid.

David Brown, SYPTE Director General, said: "Reducing carbon is a key target for many organisations over the next few years and we are no different.

"These new LED lights may individually make a small difference, but installed at thousands of bus stops throughout South Yorkshire they add up to a considerable electricity and financial saving."

Tasman Parking Garage Grand Opening Celebrated

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Over 30 years in the making, City officials celebrated the ribbon cutting of the 2,900-stall Tasman parking garage on December 12.

Having long been an idea, the structure finally came to fruition thanks to RDA funds, with the garage coming in on time and under budget. In fact, it cost less than when the current garage was originally proposed and approved about15 years ago.

"Only in Santa Clara would we get such an amazing turnout for a parking structure," said Mayor Jamie Matthews. "Nobody does it better than Santa Clara. We are all proud of the design ... this must be the most beautiful parking structure anywhere."

In addition to being a stunning project, with massive City of Santa Clara signage, the structure - originally a $42 million project several years ago due to the costs of steel and materials - was completed under $34 million with many more features than imagined. Matthews adds the project was funded prior to RDA dissolution.

Utilizing some of the latest technologies available, the structure is not only aesthetically pleasing, but is also environmentally friendly, featuring many green features, such as soon-to-be installed rooftop solar panels, motion-controlled energy saving light fixtures, water-efficient landscaping using drip irrigation and provisions for up to 24 electric vehicle charging stations.

The six-level, color-coded garage will be instrumental in serving parking needs for the Santa Clara Convention Center, as well as the 49ers stadium being constructed adjacent to the parking garage.

"This garage is critical to the future vitality of the convention center and neighboring businesses," said Steve Van Dorn, Santa Clara Convention & Visitors Bureau President/CEO, stating that last year the Convention Center spent thousands in overflow parking, using overflow parking at Great America 88 times. The Convention Center hosted over 500 events last year with over 325,000 attendees, and expects attendance and events to grow.

Past, present and current City Council members celebrated the ribbon cutting, with recently-elected Council members Debi Davis, Teresa O'Neill and Jerry Marsalli joining Mayor Matthews, Pat Kolstad, Pat Mahan and outgoing Councilmember Will Kennedy at the event.

The parking structure was completed within 18 months thanks to cooperation from many City departments and staff members. The parking structure features approximately 1,810 parking stalls, including 29 ADA spaces at the ground and second levels, as well as 14 bicycle spaces. The structure also features a plaza designed for accommodating small gatherings and vendor kiosks, five elevators at three separate towers, openings in the metal screening for signage/banner supports, a fire sprinkler system throughout and lighting levels that exceed minimum standards.

According to City Public Works Director Rajeev Batra, over four million pounds of steel rebar were involved in building this structure, while hours upon hours were spent by staff on aesthetics of this structure, "making other structures look pedestrian."

Interim City Manager Ron Garrett adds the garage actually started over 30 years ago as a line drawing in the Great America parking lot. "This is an iconic structure, not many parking structures can be called iconic, but this one can."

Green in more ways than one

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When the Tulare Center for Agriculture and Technology opens in January, not only will it be a state-of-the-art, bigger and better, it will also be environmentally friendly.

The new campus, located near the corner of Bardsley Avenue and Oakmore Street, across the street from Mission Oak High School in Tulare, was designed to be energy efficient and sustainable for decades. It is LEED - Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design - certified.

To obtain LEED - Green Building - Certification, the new campus met approaches to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health, including sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.

Specific strategies at the new campus relate to the LEED certification:

Alternative Transportation - the campus encourages students to avoid single-occupied vehicles. The campus has two bus lines that stop in front of the campus at Building A. The bus lines provide transit to the city of Tulare and to the Southeast Tulare County bus line, one that services Strathmore, Lindsay and Porterville.

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations - COS provides 20 (120V GFCI) charging stations. The service is free.

Preferred parking for employees, guests and students is provided for anyone who drives a low-emitting or fuel-efficient vehicle. Drivers may contact the registrar for special-parking approval.

An additional 20 preferred parking spots are allocated for drivers who carpool to the site.

Rain and storm water is processed through a closed-loop system, keeping all rain on site and maintaining a natural filtration process similar to that prior to the campus' existence. Run-off storm water from parking lots, roofs and walkways replenishes a natural aquifer and is pumped through an existing well and used to irrigate the campus vegetation and agriculture land.

A landscape plan reducing the amount needed for irrigation by 63%.

The campus has replaced dark roofs with white ones and uses lighter colored concrete to reduce heat-island effect - the process of dark surfaces used on parking lots, roofs and walkways absorbing the sun's warmth and releasing it at night, creating an artificial rise in temperature.

Water usage was reduced by 35% by installing efficient toilets.

Additional water savings was accomplished by the installation of laboratory sinks aerators.

Numerous energy-savings strategies designed into the buildings, including reduced indoor lighting and the development of a central plant to heal and cool adjacent buildings.

More than 20 percent of money spent on materials for the buildings, excluding mechanical, electrical, plumbing and furniture, came from recycled sources.

The Hanover is also supporting Worcester's Festival of Lights through a $5,000 grant to the American Antiquarian Society, which presents the holiday season lighting program to the City of Worcester. The grant will support students at Worcester Technical High School, who design and build street lighting displays using "green" LED lighting. In addition to the seasonal street lights in downtown Worcester, the Festival of Lights includes the city's official holiday tree lighting and choral performances.

With the weather getting colder, the Hanover will donate $5,000 to support the Coats for Kids program, which collects winter coats and other clothing for children in local schools. In addition hundreds of The Hanover's employees contribute coats, hats, mittens and gloves, and make personal donations.

In order to make sure everyone has a present under the tree this Christmas, the Hanover will make a $5,000 contribution to Toys for Tots, led by the U. S. Marine Corps Reserve. Through this program, members of the Marine Corps Reserve collect new, unwrapped toys for distribution to needy children. In addition to the company's grant, many employees will contribute both toys and funds to the organization.

Rehabbed southern Ill. landmark cross alight again

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Looming 11 stories atop southern Illinois' tallest peak, the Bald Knob Cross of Peace was inelegantly showing its half-century age. Hundreds of white porcelain panels were rusting, missing or hanging on by coat hangers and bailing wire.

But the landmark's luster is back, courtesy of a feverish restoration effort as deliberate as the one that brought about the iconic site after farmers sold pigs to help pay for it.

Just in time for the Christmas holiday, caretakers on Saturday flipped the switch on new lighting for the cross, The Southern Illinoisan reported. The event officially concluded a three-year rehab funded with $550,000 in small donations despite tough economic times and an unsuccessful lawsuit filed by an atheist to have some state funding given back.

Those behind the makeover effort see it as a high point for the region, given the thousands who visit each year, making the landmark among southern Illinois' biggest lures - and unquestionably the most visible as it rises above the 380-resident village of Alto Pass, about 130 miles southeast of St. Louis.

"We're just a bunch of southern Illinoisans who were concerned and wanted this restored," said D.W. Presley, president of the board that manages the cross. "This all just shows the magnitude of the importance that people find in this cross. Everyone just banded together."

The panels and the electrical system have been replaced on the structure, which had been peeled back to its steel-and-concrete frame. Vandalism-prone lighting - 40 1,000-watt incandescent bulbs - at ground level have given way to elevated, more efficient LED illumination, and security cameras have been added.

"We can't believe it's to this point, really," beamed Debbie Nash, secretary of Friends of the Cross, the landmark's fundraising arm that ultimately collected $250,000 past its goal.

When the value of donated labor and equipment are factored in, Presley said, the project's tab exceeded $1 million.

But $20,000 of the contributions rankled Rob Sherman enough to take the cross to court. The Chicago-area atheist, known for challenging religious displays in public spaces across the state, filed a lawsuit two years ago challenging a 2008 state grant that went toward the restoration project. He argued using taxpayer money for the cross was unconstitutional.

Federal appellate courts have rejected Sherman's claims, and he has taken the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Friends of the Cross insisted the grant was related to the landmark's tourism and had nothing to do with its religious aspect.

"I have no qualms about the restoration. I have qualms about how it was paid for. It's not the job of Illinois atheists to pay for reconstruction of a Christian cross," said Sherman, a retired Chicago-area radio talk show host.

The questioned grant was used as a down payment on the upgrade of the cross, which as a fixture on the 1,025-foot-high Bald Knob Mountain has stood sentry over forests and the region's orchards and winery grapevines, drawing thousands of visitors each year.

Easter services have been held on the mountain since 1937, not long before rural mail carrier Wayman Presley and pastor William Lirely envisioned a huge cross there that would be visible for miles year-round.

Their fundraising efforts got a big boost in 1955 when Presley was featured on the television show "This is Your Life." Donations poured in. Schoolchildren and Sunday school classes collected coins for the cross.

Myrta Clutts called the cross "the greatest idea I'd ever heard" and pledged $100 to the project when she didn't have $10 to spare. Clutts considered her pig Betsy an instrument of God when the animal gave birth to 21 piglets, three times the normal litter. She sold 14 of the pigs, paid her $100 pledge and had $400 left to pay her bills.

Presley set up a barn on Clutts' farm, where more than 1,700 piglets were produced from Betsy's original litter. Each was given to farmers who raised them and donated money from their sale - by some accounts, at least $30,000 - to the Bald Knob Cross fund.

Scotch tape finds new use as grasping 'smart material'

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Scotch tape, a versatile household staple and a mainstay of holiday gift-wrapping, may have a new scientific application as a shape-changing "smart material."

Researchers used a laser to form slender half-centimeter-long fingers out of the tape. When exposed to water, the four wispy fingers morph into a tiny robotic claw that captures water droplets.

The innovation could be used to collect water samples for environmental testing, said Babak Ziaie, a Purdue University professor of electrical and computer engineering and biomedical engineering.

The Scotch tape - made from a cellulose-acetate sheet and an adhesive - is uniquely suited for the purpose.

"It can be micromachined into different shapes and works as an inexpensive smart material that interacts with its environment to perform specific functions," he said.

Doctoral student Manuel Ochoa came up with the idea. While using tape to collect pollen, he noticed that it curled when exposed to humidity. The cellulose-acetate absorbs water, but the adhesive film repels water.

"So, when one side absorbs water it expands, the other side stays the same, causing it to curl," Ziaie said.

A laser was used to machine the tape to a tenth of its original thickness, enhancing this curling action. The researchers coated the graspers with magnetic nanoparticles so that they could be collected with a magnet.

"Say you were sampling for certain bacteria in water," Ziaie said. "You could drop a bunch of these and then come the next day and collect them."

Findings will be detailed in a presentation during a meeting of the Materials Research Society in Boston from Sunday to Nov. 30. Experiments at Purdue's Birck Nanotechnology Center were conducted by Ochoa, doctoral student Girish Chitnis and Ziaie.

"Although brittle when dry, the material becomes flexible when immersed in water and is restored to its original shape upon drying, a crucial requirement for an actuator material because you can use it over and over," Ziaie said. "Various microstructures can be carved out of the tape by using laser machining. This fabrication method offers the capabilities of rapid prototyping and batch processing without the need for complex clean-room processes."

"We can get different things from the X-ray diagnostics, different things from the laser-based diagnostics, different things from temperature and pressure measurements, and by piecing all of that together we get a better view of the physics that are occurring in the shot," Beresh says.

The machine's unique diagnostic capabilities demonstrate Sandia's ability to collaborate. The team particularly singled out the X-ray expertise offered by Enrico Quintana and Jerry Stoker's group in the experimental mechanics/non-destructive evaluation & model validation organization. Elton Wright of geothermal research also made sizeable contributions.

The diagnostics required to get useful information from the machine are difficult and expensive, Wagner says. "There's a reason why it hasn't been done thoroughly in the past," he says.

A lot of data for modeling comes from explosions, but it's difficult to isolate what happens in each part of a blast, Kearney says. "Whereas if you do an experiment like this you can delve deeper into what is really happening," he says. "But it's just one piece of the puzzle and they're all important."

FANUC FA America Celebrates 35 years of CNC Excellence

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FANUC FA America is the largest CNC sales, service and support organization in the Americas providing a single source of end-to-end CNC solutions for machine tool and nontraditional applications. End users, machine tool builders, distributors and system integrators across all major industries prefer FANUC CNCs because they are reliable, efficient and innovative. "We want to thank our customers for their loyalty over the past 35 years. We take pride in our leading position in the industry and we never take it for granted. We promise our customers in the Americas continuous innovation to remain their CNC of choice in the future" states Tomo Ishibe, President of FANUC FA America.

Founded in Japan in 1956, FANUC has contributed to the automation of machine tools as a pioneer in the development of computer numerical controls. FANUC technology has contributed to a worldwide manufacturing revolution, which evolved from the automation of a single piece of equipment to the automation of entire production lines.

In 1977, FANUC USA was founded with headquarters originally in Elk Grove Village, IL to provide service & support for imported machine tools with FANUC CNC systems. FANUC FA America has evolved and grown over the years to meet customer demand. Today, FANUC FA America's current headquarter location in Hoffman Estates, IL provides customers with a wide range of sales and after-sales service and support from a single source and supports all of the Americas with 43 offices and service centers throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Brazil and Argentina.

Customers continue to specify FANUC for their reliability, innovation and expertise. FANUC has invested its resources not only in developing the most advanced, reliable controls - but also in cultivating the brightest and the most experienced support team in the CNC industry.

FANUC Corporation, headquartered at the foot of Mt. Fuji, Japan, is the most innovative manufacturer of Factory Automation (FA), Robots and Robomachines in the world. Since its inception in 1956, FANUC has contributed to the automation of machine tools as a pioneer in the development of computer numerical control equipment. FANUC technology has contributed to a worldwide manufacturing revolution, which evolved from the automation of a single machine to the automation of entire production lines.

FANUC is committed to developing efficient, reliable and innovative products. About FANUC Factory Automation America (FANUC FA America)FANUC FA America is the exclusive provider of industry leading FANUC CNC systems and solutions in the Americas, providing a one-stop shop for comprehensive CNC solutions including industry-leading control systems, a complete range of drives and motors and CO2 laser solutions.

FANUC FA America also offers engineering support, genuine FANUC parts, repair and factory automation solutions and training programs to machine tool builders, dealers and users. FANUC CNC systems are known throughout the world for their high reliability, high precision, high speed and simple operation. FANUC FA America headquarters is located in Hoffman Estates, IL and supports 37 offices and service centers throughout U.S., Canada, Mexico, Brazil and Argentina.

Computerized Machines Aid Human Watchmakers

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The time savings are chiefly due to the ubiquity of computer-aided design, or CAD, software and computer numerical control, or CNC, machines. Obtained from manufacturers in Switzerland, Germany and to a lesser degree Japan, the expensive, state-of-the-art machines have replaced the manually operated equipment that dominated the industry until the 1970s.

"CNC is simply a very broad generic term covering a host of very different machines, with diverse functions," said Richard Mille, founder of the Swiss luxury brand of the same name. "Some just grind sapphire glass, as used in the case of my RM 056, for instance. Others can create complex engraving. Another is specialized for base plate manufacturing. In fact, you could say that every machine used today in Swiss manufacturing is a CNC machine."

The Swiss have come a long way since the rise of the Japanese quartz technology, which in the 1970s decimated the mechanical watchmaking industry. The revival kicked into gear in the late 1980s and with it came a rush of investment in cutting-edge machinery.

"The evolution in the last 20 years in watch case and movement component production has been really amazing," said Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, co-president of Chopard. "Today, it's possible to draw on a computer screen an entire watch and to test the mechanical conditions. It's almost like the object is there before it's really there."

Even more impressive is a new 3-D printing technology that Chopard and other leading brands have recently tried out. Used to create prototypes directly in precious metal overnight, the process, known as metal laser melting, is a science fiction fantasy come true. It begins with an atomized powder alloy that is bombarded, very precisely, by a laser, thereby "growing" a design, layer by metallic layer, according to instructions that are imported into the machine in a CAD file.

Breitling, a family-owned watchmaker also based in Grenchen, has so far used metal laser melting for quickly creating prototypes, said Jean-Paul Girardin, the company's vice president.

Investing in the laser machines, which can cost around $200,000, is part of Breitling's strategic effort, initiated in 2004, to gain independence from outside suppliers. Before 2009, when Breitling introduced the Caliber B01, its first movement built in-house, the company bought the bulk of its watch components from ETA, the Swatch Group's powerful movement and parts supplier.

Operating on the understanding that ETA would, as first announced in 2002, eventually stop selling parts to companies not owned by the Swatch Group, Breitling is one of scores of former watch assemblers that have committed to building their own manufacturing capabilities in recent years, contributing to the explosion in technological experimentation.

"It's a big step between assembling parts and producing them," Mr. Girardin said."When you're receiving parts from somebody else, and something is wrong, you can find a solution, but when you're producing them, if they don't work, you have to understand why they don't work, and that's a challenge."

Customer Service Importance

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I was in an Ayala Mall last Sunday with my three kids, excited to use an Ayala Electronic Gift Certificate (EGC) I had been given, only to find out that the establishment, Laser Xtreme, no longer accepts it. "Sir, don't be upset. I'm just saying," the cheerful lady behind the counter offered.

Perplexed, I called the Ayala customer service hotline on my Ayala-owned Globe line 32 times, but couldn't get through. Eventually, on the 32nd attempt (something that many Globe users can relate to), the call finally connects and a customer service representative answers and tells me what I already know--that the establishment doesn't accept the card. Boy was I glad I was finally able to get through. Not.

I reminded the girl that I wasn't calling for a second opinion or an English translation of what I was just told, but to clarify how and why an establishment could just change their mind about accepting a pre-paid gift card once it had been sold. She had no answer for it so I asked if I could use it in the movie theatre instead, which I was told is at least Ayala-owned and -operated. She said they don't accept it either. To which I replied, "If your own establishments don't accept the card, what good is it? And can I just refund the card?"

Confused, she put me on hold for 2-3 minutes. When she came back on the line, she asked if I had purchased the card or whether it was a gift. Like anyone who was born to parents who weren't previously related and shared the same family name before marriage, I wondered why that would matter; but to humor her, I asked "Would I get a refund if I said I bought it?" She replied, "No, sir." So I asked if they would refund it if it were a gift. To which she replied, "No, sir." Which led us to the painfully obvious question as to why she asked the original question in the first place.

Knowing that the conversation would be all downhill from there, and out of sheer frustration--fueled in part by three impatient kids wanting to shoot the light beams out of one another--I pulled out my Ayala-owned BPI credit card, only to be told that this BPI-accredited outlet will not accept it for purchases under 1,000 pesos.

It took every fiber of my being to not Carabuenize the next person who said, "Ay, sir, sorry, but..." So I calmly asked where the nearest BPI ATM was located. "There's one just downstairs, sir!" Visibly annoyed, I trudged downstairs only to find out that the BPI machine was not functioning and couldn't dispense cash. By this stage, I felt exactly one transaction away from an aneurism, so I took three deep breaths and asked "What would Jesus do?" And headed over to Power Plant Mall to hear mass.

Now, while I'm certain that many of you can relate to an experience like this, more than a few of you may be wondering what this has to do with motoring. Well, almost everything. Because just like modern malls, as the disparity between the quality of cars shrinks to an almost negligible level, market share will be won and lost by design, marketing and service--and it is the last one that many companies, including automotive dealers, need to start taking more seriously. You can have fantastic products, but without good customer service to back it up, it would be like setting up a first-class spa where customers need to massage themselves.

SMS Tire Processing

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About 10 years ago, John Simpson and his father saw an opportunity in the stockpiles of used tires in his area of Kentucky. "They had a tire problem and they had no solution to it," John said.

The solution was SMS Tire Processing, the Simpson family company that picks up, shreds, and sells the tire material, wires, inner tubes and rims from used tires. One thing the company doesn't do is sort out useable tires, and Simpson thinks that's one reason his company has survived while he's seen many competitors go out of business.

Simpson explained that the time and labor required to sort tires to reclaim the still-usable ones can be expensive. With the economy the way it is, people are hanging on to their tires much longer before they purchase new ones.

Rather than try to make money from selling usable tires, SMS decided to maximize profits by reducing the cost of handling and transporting the tires. Instead of picking up tires in labor-intensive box trucks that required manual loading and unloading, SMS now uses garbage trucks that require less labor. The other benefit is that the garbage trucks compact the tires, which means they can "run double the tires with half the amount of people."

While many of the tires SMS processes are automotive, there are a lot of farm, construction and mining vehicles in the area that use tires with inner tubes, and SMS collects those tubes as well. Since there are enough tubes to make collection worthwhile, they're usually shredded and often end up as o-rings for automotive use.

Much of the shredded rubber goes to paper mills where it is burned in kilns for energy, but some goes to what Simpson described as "microwave systems with humungous conveyor systems" where the rubber is converted to a biodiesel product.

Some of the rubber finds its way into lightweight concrete, and some is turned into white mulch that is sold locally. Simpson said that the mulch market is one potential area for company growth, and he is considering expanding to sell colored mulch products.

"We'd have to change our process to get exactly what they're looking for," since the mulch would require more grinding as well as coloring.

That colored mulch product is just part of Simpson's plans for the future. "I actually plan on doubling in size - expanding and going as big as we can," he said. "Most of us are all young - mid-20's to 40's - so it's a long time before we retire."

The "we" he's talking about are the family members that work for the company. Out of seven employees, "just about everybody except for two are family," Simpson said. Among other family members, Simpson's brother-in-law, Zac Banks, runs the shredding operation. His cousin Brad Brown, runs the machine shop that existed for seven years before the tire business was born.

Simpson's father, Johnny Simpson, is the company president and was the co-founder of the tire operation along with Simpson. "Me and my dad, we started this right after 9/11," Simpson said. "We started it basically with nothing - no help, no financial backing. We worked night shift jobs and ran this during the day. It's been hard." They purchased shredders, but built their own conveyors in their machine shop. What made it even harder for SMS was that the business is located in what Simpson described as a "far-out part of the county" where political clout doesn't exist. "We've jumped through a lot of hurdles."

The company was powered by generators for five years before they ran - and paid for - their own electrical lines. Before the electricity was hooked up, Simpson said, "the fuel man stayed here more than we did."

With the electricity connected, the company was able to install another shredder to increase capacity. Another improvement was the move from "manual cutting machines to automated and computerized shredding," which increased production from 50 tires per hour to 1,200 per hour.

Component development and details

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While development of the XX1 group began approximately three years ago, the rear derailleur was designed more than eight years ago. It began life as a project totally unrelated to XX1. The prototype rear derailleur was built with two very disparate ends of the cycling market in mind - downhill and urban bikes.

The most notable feature of this early prototype is that the parallelogram linkage only moves in a horizontal plane. The benefit of having a derailleur with a linkage that can only move in and out is that ghost shifting is minimized, even without a clutch system.

The drawback to this design, dubbed "Straight P," is that it only works on drivetrains with a single front chainring. The lack of vertical movement does not allow the derailleur to "grow" to accommodate large changes in chain length that accompany having two or three front chainrings. On a derailleur with a horizontal parallelogram, the fore and aft movement of the derailleur's cage must do all the work.

A type 2 clutch mechanism was added to damp the movement of the cage to further reduce unwanted movement. In terms of construction the XX1 derailleur is very similar to the XO model, with a few notable exceptions. The XX1 derailleur's pulleys use 12 teeth, rather than 11; this helps to increase the derailleur's chain capacity. SRAM also included a pulley wheel, which guides the cable into the derailleur. This wheel, along with the Straight P design, leads to a lighter shift action than one feels with SRAM's 10-speed drivetrains.

Following the development of the derailleur, the next step in the development of XX1 was figuring out an acceptable gear range. Early 10-speed prototypes had a 9-36 tooth range. Testing proved that a 9 tooth cog was too small to be pedalled comfortably. Such a small cog caused a shuddering sensation when pedalled under load. This is due to a phenomenon known as the "polygon effect," which results from variations in speed as the chain transitions from one cog to the next.

"The smaller you get, the bigger the polygon effect," said Henrik Braedt, a design engineer who worked on the development of the XX1 cassette. This effect exponentially decreases relative to the number of teeth on a cog. The addition of one tooth, along with careful machining of the tooth profile mitigated the polygon effect.

The next issue came from the other end of the cassette - a 36 tooth was not large enough for most riders to pedal comfortably. The solution was the addition of the 42 tooth cog. Many of the lessons learned from developing the Red and XX cassettes were applied to XX1. 10 of the 11 cogs are machined from a single block of tool steel. Manufacturing begins with a bell-shaped forged blank. This blank is placed onto a lathe that removes a significant chunk of material and leaves the blank with a stair step profile. Next, a CNC machine removes more material by carving the teeth, shift ramps and the 16 pins that are used to secure the 42-tooth aluminum cog to the steel cassette body.

Manufacturing the XX1 cassette is extremely labor intensive, machining takes approximately three hours and tolerances are checked at each step in the process. When finished, the cassette's weight belies its large size: an XX1 cassette weights only 260 grams, 52 grams more than an 11-36 XX cassette, and 12g less than an 11-36 Shimano XTR cassette.