23 May, 2022

BCAS update October 2013

12 November, 2013

A compressed air powered Human Catapult

Every October on Bridge Day, local authorities allow a 20-foot-deep section of the bridge for BASE jumpers and 24 BASE jumpers have used a compressed air-powered catapult to fly off the New River Gorge Bridge in West Virginia About 400 BASE jumpers each year, leap from the 876-foot-high span before deploying their parachutes at Bridge Day, an annual extreme sports event.
But two years ago, Mechanical engineer Jason Bell decided to build a new thrill for spectators and jumpers alike: a catapult that hurls daredevils head over heels into the chasm below.
The basic elements, at least, came together easily. Every October on Bridge Day, local authorities allow Bell to co-opt a 20-foot-deep section of the bridge for BASE jumpers, which means his catapult could be no longer than that. Bell spent a year drafting the structure – a sturdy base and an arm made of steel tubing – using 3-D design software. He eventually settled on a rotating arm 12-feet-long, which a local workshop agreed to machine to his specifications. Meanwhile, Bell spent nights and weekends in his garage constructing a compressed-air launching system.
In the first tests, Bell and his friend Joe Caulfield launched stuffed animals, laundry bags, and 200-pound sandbags across his front lawn. The catapult hurled even the heaviest objects more than 50 feet. At one point, however, the stress forced a bearing to shoot out of the catapult's arm joint like a bullet. (On Bridge Day, two of the caster wheels even cracked from the strain exerted by the 2500-pound machine.) Bell created and installed a custom bearing, added spring-loaded shocks to cushion stress on the casters, and tweaked a few other features to handle the abuse.
Last summer, Bell towed the catapult to a local lake to try it out with some friends. He sat in the chair as a buddy threw open a ball valve, retracting a piston with compressed air. The arm sprang up within a second, hurling him high above the lake. "This smooth but sudden sensation launches you upward, and then, all of a sudden, you say, 'Hey, I'm not in the chair anymore,' " he said. "I came out of the water hootin' and hollerin' like a teenager." Bell added that the catapult's official debut at Bridge Day later that year was just as big a hit among BASE jumpers. "It's something I'll remember for the rest of my life,” he concluded.
ISO11011 (Compressed air – Energy efficiency – Assessment)
More than four years of work between BCAS and the ISO Technical Committee 118 has culminated in a new standard for compressed air system assessment, called ISO11011 (Compressed air – Energy efficiency – Assessment). While not intended to replace existing compressed air audit activities, ISO11011 is designed to create a framework for the assessment process, which can then be embedded in to other specific ISO requirements that exist around the globe.
For further information contact the BCAS Technical Department technical@bcas.org.uk, who can advise members on which standards they and their customers should be using as their route to compliance and best practice.
Welcome 4 new members
With 13 new members joining BCAS during the past two months, the society has announced 4 more new members joining this month. BCAS looks forward to working with them and all its members during the year. The new members are:
·        TATA Steel Tubes.
·        Advanced Compressor Engineering.
·        Smart Compressors.
·        O.P.I.A. our new International Member in Costa Rica.
Contact details for these and all of BCAS members can be found at www.bcas.org.uk. If you would like to find out how membership of the society can help you and your company please contact the society’s office at any time. Contact details are given on the BCAS website.

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