ATTENTION Tennessee High School Seniors and Current Engineering Students

It’s not too early to start thinking about scholarships for your college education.  R.J. Hill Consulting is continuing to offer a $500 scholarship to any Tennessee high school student interested in pursuing a career in engineering.  This scholarship is also available to any currently enrolled engineering student in a Tennessee public university.  The application instructions are available on our website.  Go to www.rjhill.com then click on “Scholarship Awards and Instructions”.  Scroll down below the scholarship announcement and you will find the instructions listed.  The deadline for application is March 31, 2018.  Although this date seems far in the future, time will pass quickly.  So, be mindful of the time needed to take the ACT/SAT exams and write the required essay.  Good Luck

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Pumps and Glycol Solutions

Just completed two webinars; one on the use of glycols as heat transfer fluids and the other on retrofitting pumps in HVAC applications.  Both of these topics are related in that pumps are used to circulate fluids, including glycols, to transfer heat.  Typical applications for glycol use include the food and beverage industry, HVAC, and process chemical.  Pumps applications not only include the previously stated industries but also, utility; both electrical and water, petrochemical, and plastics, to name a few.  Insurance carriers that cover businesses in these industries need to be concerned because property damage as well as personal injury can occur when spills and pump failures occur.  Corrosion is a major problem in systems using carbon steel piping as a conduit for the transmission of the gylcol.  If not properly mixed and the correct inhibitors added, the glycol solution can be acidic and cause wear to occur in pipes and fittings resulting in leaks and spills, if not carefully monitored.  Similarly, the internal components of pumps can come under attack and fail as a result of the acidic conditions that could arise if the glycol solution is not properly mixed.  However, during such instances, insurance carriers are also considering the possibility of subrogating against a third party in order to recover their expenditures.  Potential defendants would include the company mixing and/or installing the glycol solution, the designer and installer of the piping system, and the selector and installer of the pump used in circulating the glycol.  It should be noted that the internal components of the pump can be selected based on compatibility of the fluid to be circulated.

Ram Truck Recall

Fiat Chrysler has announced that it is recalling approximately 494,000 medium and heavy duty Ram trucks for a problem with a water pump.  Approximately 443,000 trucks are in the United States.  The recall applies to 2013-2017 Ram 2500 and 3500 trucks equipped with 6.7 liter engines.  The recall also affects vehicles built with 3500, 4500 and 5500 chassis cabs.  The problem with the water pump is that the pump is equipped with a certain type of bearing that can overheat and cause a fire.  Fiat will begin notification of owners when service is available although there has been no indication of when that will take place.  For additional information, owners can contact Fiat Chrysler Automobiles at 1-800-853-1403.

Eight Deaths – Really?

We’ve all heard about the eight people who lost their lives at the Rehabilitation Center in Hollywood Florida.  We’ve also heard about how the Center lost power and as a result, also lost their air conditioning.  The loss of power as a result of Hurricane Irma was not unusual.  With all the destruction, it would have been unusual if they hadn’t lost power.  For several days before the hurricane made landfall the whole country was hearing about Hurricane Irma and how destructive the storm could be.  For at least one week, the staff of the facility had time to prepare for the storm.  Granted, nobody knew where the storm would hit, how much damage would result, how much rain would fall or how bad flooding would be.  Knowing that a major storm was about to hit, it’s hard to believe that the staff didn’t plan to have extra water, food, and medicine on hand just in case it was needed.  Surely, the staff recognized the need to have extra batteries available for electronic medicine dispensing machines, oxygen monitors, vital sign monitors, and the like.  So, how is it that a critical necessity like electric power is overlooked?  Did the center not have a backup power generation system?  If not, why couldn’t they have rented a couple of generators before the storm?  In both cases, the backups would most likely have required the storage of gasoline in order to be prepared for a power outage.  In all fairness, the storage of gasoline could have been as dangerous to patients as the lack of cool air.  If the hurricane had damaged the facility, the stored gasoline could have been a huge fire hazard.  It’s easy to sit back, second guess and criticize those that were supposed to have been in attendance of the patients.  But, when the hazards are considered, choices have to be made.  To err on the side of caution is not necessarily a bad thing.  Food? Yes. Water? Yes. Medicine? Yes. Gasoline? Wait a minute!  Where will it be stored?  Can the stock be safely accessed if debris and flood water are in the area? Can generator fuel tanks be safely filled?  Can generators be safely operated without danger to staff or patients?  These and many more questions will be asked by investigators in order to determine if criminal charges are warranted.  Hopefully, those things that can be improved upon will be improved and staff as well as patients will be as well protected as can be during a major storm.  However, if negligence on the part of management or staff is found to have been a factor in the deaths of the eight patients, then criminal charges should be levied against the responsible people.

 

 

 

Volkswagen Recalls CC and Passat Vehicles

Volkswagen has announced that it is recalling approximately 280,915 CC and Passat sedans and wagons for a problem with the fuel pump control module. The engines in these vehicles can stall as a result of the loss of power to the fuel pump module.  The loss of power means that fuel flow to the engine will cease causing the engine to stall and increasing the possibility of a collision.  In addition, the fuel pump module can remain running after the ignition is turned off.  All of the vehicles involved in this recall are equipped with four cylinder engines.  The vehicles involved in this recall are 2009 to 2016 Volkswagen CC and 2006 to 2010 Volkswagen Passat.  Volkswagen will begin owner notification in October and will send a second letter to owners advising of the date of availability of the replacement fuel pump modules.  For additional information, owners can contact Volkswagen customer service directly by calling 1-800-893-5298.  Owners should refer to Volkswagen recall number 20AE.

GM Recalls 2014 Silverado and Sierra Trucks

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced on June 29, 2017 that General Motors is recalling 2014 Silverado and GMC Sierra trucks. According to NHTSA, 690,685 vehicles in the United States are involved.  The problem with these vehicles is that the electric power steering assist can fail increasing the risk of a crash.  At this time, neither NHTSA or General Motors is providing any details about the specific problem.  NHTSA has also indicated that GM has not yet scheduled a date when notification letters to owners would be mailed.  For additional information, owners can contact General Motors customer service by calling 1-800-222-1020.  Similarly, GMC owners can call 1-800-432-8782 for answers to their questions.  In both cases, owners will need to reference GM recall # 17276.

Honda Accord Recall

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced that Honda has recalled 1,148,550 vehicles because of a battery fire hazard. More specifically, the recall is for 2013-2016 Honda Accords.  The problem is that a battery sensor, when wet, will short circuit and can ignite.  Honda will begin notifying owners by sending out an initial notification letters beginning July 31, 2017, since parts are not yet available.  The letter will instruct owners to take their vehicles to their Honda dealer and that the dealer will replace the battery sensor free of charge.  Owners should also know that the NHTSA campaign number is 17V418000 and the Honda recall number is KGO.  Lastly, for additional information owners can contact American Honda Customer Support by calling 1-888-234-2138.

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