The New Mind Bending Transmission

Steve Durnin’s D-Drive may be the holy grail of infinitely variable transmissions.  The video below will illustrate, at least in part.  The thrill of the D-Drive is it lacks a friction connection for neutral, hydraulic power flow or hydraulic actuation, a torque converter or any other device that bleeds off energy – it seems, but not entirely that the whole of the power in can be converted to work with a minimum amount of loss.

To grasp what’s happening one has to understand planetary and orbital gear sets. In planetary sets there is a large outer (ring) gear with teeth on the inside.  The inside teeth mate to a set of 2, 3, 4 or more little ‘planet’ gears (planet set) whose axles are tied together (by a carrier frame) such that they as a set mesh with the large outer gears inside teeth – and – with an inner gear’s (sun gear) outside teeth.

In an orbital gear set the inner gear drives an eccentric orbiting gear from the inside while the outside eccentric gear’s teeth drives to an outer ring.

Keep in mind that the large outer ring gear can turn or be locked, the planet gears must rotate on the carrier frame and the carrier that holds them can rotate or be locked.  The inner sun gear too can rotate or be locked as well.  The combinations make for some interesting speed ratios across the possible lock or rotate choices.  Torque multiplication and over drive ratios can be made available.  Planetary gear sets can be made extremely strong and simple and are relatively lightweight and robust.

What Durnin has done is stack two doubled planetary sets in a row behind an eccentric orbital set with the innovation of not locking one of the three axles, but to control the speed of rotation. Well, its not exactly that simple . . .

This is where the mind bending comes in.  Gizmag took a publicity shot and missed so you’re humble writer will take a shot at describing the power path which should enable the engineers out there to calculate the energy needed to make the D-Drive function. Correct me if I’m wrong with a comment, but here goes . . .

Power comes in to the inner gear of orbital set, which turns the eccentric ring and idles the outer gear.  The ring gear is connected to planetary set #1 at the planet set.  Stop.  This planetary set isn’t your usual planetary set.

The second and third planetary sets have a double wide outer ring with the carrier planet and the sun – this is the D-Drive innovation.

The incoming power on the planet carrier is split to the front planet set sun gear heading out to the sun gear of the back of the third planetary set, and to the front and back of the ring that is free to rotate and then on to the back planet gear that’s connected to the front of the third planetary set using a shaft locked planet gear on a shaft.  The output is the back planet carrier axle.  Simple, much simpler than the video.  Here’s why.

First, the front eccentric is really just s a speed reduction that isn’t part of the invention, but is to slow things down enough to see.

There are issues; the torque needed to control the two shafts will be substantial, essentially matching up to the input energy. Two controlling shafts aren’t required – the effect could be achieved with just one.  Then there is the matter of the split power out.  The inventor has thought that the power direction would be the way he envisioned it, yet it could very well be reversed, and if thought through the relationships could be exploited such that one power out could be primary and another secondary as in a generator and drive wheels.

As this was written Gizmag has updated their site with some of the matters I raise. The folks at Gizmag have gone from press release enthusiasm to corrected doom.  But Toyota’s Prius uses a sort of similar power path, thus the D-Drive has a future, if already tortured.

But thought through a realization sinks in.  As Mr. Durnin pointed out fueled engines have and can have even tighter efficiency operating zones.  The D-Drive used in a reversed power path could be controlled to deliver power to a generator and/or the drive wheels with the demand for drive power leaving high efficiency power excess for generation.

For all the media fluffing let’s not let go of a major innovation – those double ring gears and Durnin’s first round of application are significant.  Mr. Durnin is going to need a top-flight patent lawyer, because the D-Drive is very efficient and this writer suspects, the control energy Durnin’s design requires should be a part of the load.  A controlled generator could not just use the energy, but direct it as well.

It’s also just round one.  Someone, Durnin one hopes, will double the carrier gears and the sun gears to other applications.  Actually one could go triple either at the sun or ring, double at the carrier and single opposite to the tripled gear.

There is also an engineering report paid for by Durnin available for download.

Mind bending?   A little while for sure, both in how it works and how it can be used.  Planetary sets have been studied for decades, its great to see a new means of utilizing them with a split power path as well.

Lets wish Durnin well and hope the world’s engineers realize the potential Durnin’s innovation offers.


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Sensor Systems and Software: First International ICST Conference, S-CUBE 2009, Pisa, Italy, September 7-9, 2009, Revised Selected Papers


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Audi Cars, First to Wear LED Lights

Evander Klum asked:

The Audi R8 will be the first car to wear LED headlights as an option, edmunds.com reports. The German automaker will be featuring the very first LED headlights on its new car, made in its assembly plant that also makes other quality auto parts like Audi Catalytic Converter. An LED is a semiconductor light source that emits cold light at low voltages.

Audi said, “A special permit from the EU has paved the way for incorporating front-lighting LED technology into series production ahead of schedule. This is because the corresponding EU regulation is not expected to come into force before 2008.”

The low-beam headlamps which are implemented by semiconductors consist of two LED arrays of four active elements embossed on a free-from reflector. The optical lenses are also given additional two LED chips as well as three LED arrays. LED lights are also known because of its powerful lighting effect that controls both brightness and darkness when the car needs it most.

The high beam headlights were also given four LED arrays. The LED lights can also be used during daytime and the lower edge of the new car received 24 LED array to be used during the day. The PCBs are also handling the LED chips as well as the heat sink. To keep the normal temperature of these LED lights, the car also received blower to cool them down just in case it heats up. All in all, the R8 is set to feature 54 LED lights.

The German auto maker also revealed that in the future, they are planning to combine both LED technology and the innovative semiconductor-driven headlamp technologies to improve the lighting of their cars. They will also add the swiveling headlights to the cars they are making.

The R8 is set to hit showrooms this coming 2008.

LED lights are the latest and most innovative form of headlights these days. They are also known to produce the right amount of lighting using only a few voltages. This only means that you can save more energy if your car has it.

The New Light @ The New LightPost written by: The New Light

Sharpen Your Bill of Lading, Pay Less in Freight

Cooler Connection

It used to seem like motor carriers would “look the other way” when it came to the way shippers filled out their bill of ladings.  As long as the freight class that went along with the description was “close to what they were shipping, the carriers never bothered with it.  However, now there is too much of an extra revenue source for the carriers to ignore these poorly filled out descriptions and have incentivized dock workers to capitalize on shippers who do not fill this out the proper way.

The biggest mistake people make when filling out a bill of lading is they simply put a basic description of the product like “plastic figurines”.  The problem is that plastic figurines are a density item according to the NMFC and can be classified at any class from a 70 to a 400 (which is a difference of about 250% in price).

Without a classification number, the carriers have every right to bill out at a class 400 if “plastic figurines” is all they are given.  The proper way to describe this item on a bill of lading is to write a description which includes the NMFC issued number.  This is a perfect way to describe this item “Plastic Articles, NMFC #157320 Sub 8, Class 85.”

Elizabeth LaFleur, freight auditor for Logistics Management, Inc., says shippers will cut down on a lot of headaches if they followed this simple process.  LaFleur says, “When a carrier see’s a poor description, they red flag it and can classify it at a much higher class.  If the description on the bill of lading is vague, a lot of times there is nothing that can be done to fight it.  However, if the item number is on the bill of lading then there, is no problem.”

Not only can this be a hassle, the cost can be significant to a shipper.  The way it is nowadays in the freight world is if a shipper does not fill out their bill of lading accurately they get nailed not only with the difference in the freight class but also with a “Weight & Inspection” fee which can be as high as $30.00.

What a Bill of Lading Should NOT Look Like

Recently I visited a prospect that was getting overwhelmed with Weight & Inspections from carriers.  They pulled their bill of ladings for me and on them was the description for “tools”.  There was two problems with this description.  First, “tools” is too vague of a description and second, they were actually shipping drive shafts and other engine parts for race cars.

Don’t laugh, they are not alone.  In fact, many shippers have similar scenarios.  What is a familiar story at a lot of companies is that some carrier rep provided a description 20 years ago and that is the way bill of ladings have been filled out ever since.

There is no descriptions in the NMFC for just “tools” so this description would trigger dock workers to perform a W&I to change the class.  You can bet they will change it to the highest possible class for a tool.

What was interesting in this example is that when we properly classified their products, most of the engine parts were actually a lower class than the class the carriers were billing them at under “tools”.

By doing nothing more than helping this customer to fill their bill of lading properly this customer lowered their freight cost by about 12%.  Of course, the president of that company and I are friends for life now.

What can you do?

There are two things that you can do to eliminate carrier inspections.  First, get the weight right.  Once the carriers determine you to be one who “guesses low on weight”, then you are flagged in their system.  You will be nailed every time by W&I teams.

Secondly, and most important: be as accurate as possible with your description.  Make sure you have the most up to date NMFC number followed by the description (the way it is read in the NMFC).  When your bill of lading is properly filled out, the clerk at the carrier is more likely to move to the next bill of lading.

What a Bill of Lading Should Look Like


This is the text book way to fill out a bill of lading.

Now it is very important to follow these instructions more than ever.  Not only are the carriers looking for the extra cash, the NMFC guide is changing all the time.  Sometimes they are making change which make the classes higher.  Sometimes they are actually changing them to be lower.  The most important part is get with someone who is very familiar with the NMFC guide and get them to properly fill out your bill of lading the correct way.

Article written by Tim Walsh

Tim Walsh Logistics Management Inc. 908.879.2940 twalsh@lmiservices.com

Truckload…Flatbed…Rail Shipments : 800.426.8896 # 5

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