3 Ways O-rings Revolutionized the World

O-rings are tiny, but their importance is immense. The global gasket and seals market, worth $59.73 billion in 2016, will be worth $97.16 billion by 2023, with demand driven by growing automobile use and electrical and electronics applications, according to Stratistics MRC. As this illustrates, o-rings wield significance out of proportion to their size. Here’s a look at three ways the o-ring has revolutionized the world.

Empowering Aircraft

Early prototypes for the o-ring involved round, rigid rings used for purposes such as sealing sliding telescope tubes and pistons, says TheInventors.org. Today’s o-ring design was invented in 1933 by Danish-American inventor Niels Christensen, who had previously invented an airbrake system for electric streetcars. Christensen discovered that he could create a tight piston for a seal sliding in a cylinder by using a rubber ring set in a groove one-and-a-half times the length of the ring’s minor radius. After several years of perfecting his invention, Christensen applied for a patent in 1937, and received one in 1939.

In 1941, Christensen licensed his patent to United Aircraft, which planned to use it to seal off hydraulic cylinders used for controlling airplane components. But following Pearl Harbor, the U.S. government seized the rights to patents deemed critical to the war effort. Christensen received a lump sum payment of $75,000, later supplemented by an additional $100,000 payout to his heirs. His invention was shared with other military contractors, and the o-ring passed into widespread use in the aircraft industry and other industries.

Today the aircraft industry continues to use o-rings for hydraulic systems that control plane components such as brakes, landing gear, and wing flaps. Manufacturers such as Apple Rubber make specialized o-rings in over 8,000 different sizes and a wide range of materials for use in the aerospace industry and other applications.

Improving Automobiles

After World War II, o-rings came to assume an important role in automotive design. One of the most important functions of automotive o-rings is sealing fluid in braking systems. Braking systems use synthetic oil and operate under temperature conditions that can range from -40 degrees F to over 300 degrees F. O-ring materials used for braking must be able to resist temperature and chemical changes under these conditions and retain their shape and stiffness. For this reason, o-ring manufacturers use innovative types of synthetic rubber to ensure that automotive o-rings retain their properties during vehicle performance.

O-rings are also used to seal fluids in automobile lubrication circuit and air conditioning systems. As with o-rings used for braking systems, choosing the right material is essential for seals used for lubrication and air conditioning. The most common cause of air conditioning refrigerant leak in air conditioners is o-ring failure, which can hurt system performance, ice up evaporator coils and cause compressors to overheat, which can require expensive replacements. Choosing proper o-ring materials can help avoid these issues.

Allowing Undersea Exploration

O-rings have also helped make undersea exploration possible through SCUBA diving. Prior to the invention of the SCUBA tank, divers were limited by their ability to hold their breath or by the need to remain connected to air hoses linked to air pumps on the surface. In 1925, French naval officer Yves Le Prieur conceived the idea of omitting surface air pumps by equipping divers with a portable oxygen cylinders borrowed from tire manufacturer Michelin. Le Prieur’s invention represented the first self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (SCUBA). However, Le Prier’s SCUBA supplied oxygen constantly, so tanks became empty quickly.

To allow more diving time, French naval officer Jacques Cousteau hit upon the idea of combining Le Prieur’s SCUBA tank with a breathing regulator that would only supply air on demand. In 1943, Cousteau tried out his invention, which he called the Aqua-Lung. The Aqua-Lung became the first practical, commercially-successful SCUBA tank, opening the way for modern diving and undersea exploration.

To keep air contained and supply oxygen on demand, today’s SCUBA tanks rely on o-rings in three key locations. One o-ring is placed in the neck of the tank, helping maintain a seal as air flows in and out of the tank. A second o-ring is placed in a valve called a pillar valve, which controls air flow in and out of the tank. The pillar valve connects the tank to the regulator that supplies oxygen to the diver’s mouth, which also has an o-ring. These o-rings allow divers to stay underwater longer and go deeper, enabling us to learn more about the ocean.

 

 

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It’s Time to Turn Your Business Website into an E-Commerce Powerhouse

The place for business in the 21st century is on the web. More and more businesses are establishing websites in order to do the bulk of their advertising and selling. If you are searching for a way to turn your business website into an e-commerce giant, you’ll need the proper software. There are a number of types of ecommerce shopping cart software to choose from. It only takes the bare minimum of research to enable you to decide which types will work best for the needs of your business. Once you know what you need, it’s easier than ever to go about getting it.

A Shopping Cart Is an Essential Piece of Modern E-Commerce Software

One of the most important pieces of e-commerce software you can order for your business site will be a shopping cart. This is the place where your customers can store items that interest them while they continue to browse around the rest of your site. Giving them a place to store these goods is an excellent way to keep them from forgetting about these items. Once they have completed their visit to your site, they can quickly retrieve their item from the shopping cart and take it to the checkout page to complete their order. Shopping carts save you sales.

Having a Shopping Cart on Your Site Will Save You a Lot of Sales

As noted above, it’s a tried and true proposition that having a shopping cart on your site will save you a great many sales. Even if a customer should forget to take that particular item to checkout, you can still make it the basis of a reminder email that you send to them later on. A quick email with the item and a message along the lines of, “Don’t forget about me!” can save you a lot of sales in the long run. A shopping cart is an e-commerce item that serves many functions and will more than repay the initial investment you make in order to add one to your official business website.

It’s Time For You to Show Your Competitors Who’s the Boss

If your website has been losing ground in favor of your competition, the reason is as clear as it is simple. Your site simply isn’t up to snuff. You’ll need to overhaul it in order to feature all of the latest e-commerce software. Your competitors have already done and are reaping the benefits of their foresight. It’s time for you to make up for lost time so that you can get back to challenging them for the crown.

Order Your Shopping Cart Software From a Professional Provider Today

It’s an excellent idea to order your shopping cart software from a professional provider as soon as possible. The sooner you do so, the more your productivity and profitability will increase. E-commerce software enables your business to interact with your customers in real time so that you can quickly get a reliable feel for what items interest them the most. There are a thousand other benefits that come with these valuable e-commerce software items. A shopping cart and official web store are two of the most important ones that no modern business website can afford to be without.

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How to Enhance Workplace Collaboration

Workplace Collaboration is possible using a few key tips and technologies

Entrepreneurs understand the value of a having a team that is highly collaborative. When starting a new business, every employee has to be on the same page — a task that is increasingly difficult if your team works remotely, as many start-ups do. Without the forced face time that comes with a traditional office, how do entrepreneurs promote collaboration among employees? Luckily, as the number of remote workers has risen, over 80 percent between 2005 and 2012, there has also been an increase in helpful collaboration tools for all kinds of workplaces. For truly effective collaboration, though, you not only need to choose the right tool, but you also need the right equipment and a culture that encourages openness and sharing.

Essential Equipment

Start with the basics — the equipment. Even the most amazing collaborative software will be ineffective if it is not paired with good hardware. For remote employees, a smartphone is the most important tool you can provide. Pair a good smartphone with affordable, unlimited coverage that won’t stretch your budget and will allow your team to use the other collaborative tools you decide to employ with no restrictions. In addition to a smartphone, your team will need heavy-duty laptops with video capability and fast and reliable internet access.

Choose a Collaborative Tool

The right tool for your team will depend on the nature of your business and the size of your team. You want whatever system you choose to be able to function fully as an app on a smartphone or on a laptop or desktop. Here are four of the best workplace collaboration tools.

a) Slack – Slack, and its competitor HipChat, are real-time communication apps. The Slack app allows team members to message each other, screen share and video conference. Slack stores and archives conversations so that they can be retrieved later easily with relevant hashtags. For many businesses, Slack is used in place of email.

b) Dropbox – Dropbox is a filing sharing app that allows team members share and edit files and documents in real time from any device.

c) Asana – For a more robust workflow system, Asana is hard to beat. PCMag gave it their Editors’ Choice award, and use Asana as their internal project management system. Among many other customizable functions, Asana allows users to break projects into tasks, assign tasks to the right team members, monitor progress and communicate at every step. Asana also integrates with other platforms like Slack for communication and Dropbox or Google Drive for file sharing.

d) Igloo Software – For an all-in-one collaboration tool suitable for a smaller business, check out Igloo Software. Igloo is a pre-built intranet system with features including real-time communication, forums to discuss specific projects, task management templates and file sharing. While not as slick as other intranet systems, Igloo is intuitive to use and easy to set up.

Create a Collaborative Culture

The truth is that no collaborative software system is going to be effective if you don’t put in the work to create a culture of collaboration. Effective collaboration happens when teams brainstorm openly and feel comfortable discussing and questioning ideas in a non-judgmental way. For this to happen, you need to actively encourage regular interaction with programs like mentorships, staff retreats and regular meetings to share successes and shortfalls.

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Why the internet has driven retailers online

Wondering Why the internet has driven retailers online?
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If you are thinking about starting a business, you have to consider where and how you’ll showcase your products to customers. A mere 30 years ago, your options were limited. You could have a brick-and-mortar building, or work out of your home, but you had to attract customers to your store. You had a limited region of coverage for sales, at least until your business expanded into other markets. Advertising was very different. The use of mass mail marketing was common, and you had to rely on word of mouth. Billboards and television commercials caught the eyes of your customers.

Fast forward to 2017, and the options for you as a business owner have expanded exponentially. Your customers can be from anywhere on the entire planet, via the internet. You can still send out mailers and advertise on TV, but if you aren’t taking advantage of the opportunity to develop your business online, you are missing out on your full business potential. Here’s why the internet has driven retailers online.

Potential for profits

It is expected that online sales via computers and mobile devices will be over $500 billion by 2020 in the US alone. E-commerce is growing at a faster rate than retail, with over 224 million shoppers spending more online every year. The bottom line is that there is money to be earned from online selling. To ignore it is to hobble your own business potential.

Online to enhance a physical site

Even if you aren’t ready or able to launch a website, you can still take advantage of the internet to build customers. If you establish a news feed, you will be reminding subscribers of your company every time that you post a new article. Posts on Facebook and Twitter also get your company name in front of subscribers, whose reposts are an open invitation to new customers. You can use online communications to invite customers to events at your store, publicize sales, and announce new products.

Online combined with a physical site

No matter how successful your brick-and-mortar business is, an online presence can help drive new customers to your door. Imagine that you are an artisan who sells handmade pottery and runs a storefront. Your customers are going to consist of the people living in the city where you sell. They may recommend your pots to friends, and eventually you may see customers from around the region, the country, and even the world. However, these people must call or write to you for your pots. Somehow, you must send them photos of your products for them to decide if they want to buy something.

The time invested alone in making a profit on the pots is staggering. With a small investment in a website, where you can showcase your pots, receive payments, and set up shipping, you will save time in customer contact. You will build your customer list by recommendations and search engine optimization (SEO). By using social media, you can update customers on new products. With a customer reward program, you can get positive reviews and return business. These efforts will all convert into sales with little to no work save the initial set-up.

Online presence only

Many stores operate solely online. Businesses that are only online can take advantage of the same networking and marketing opportunities as the potter, but they don’t have to pay for the cost of a building and all its attendant expenses, including employees and utilities. With your online presence, you can offer detailed information and videos on your company’s products and services. Customers can preview products and compare prices before they buy. One company that has made a success of an online-only presence is As Seen On TV. The company offers a variety of great products for the home, cars, pets, and more. It produces videos to show customers how its products are used, and the videos are just one way that the company drives sales.

Online is the future

The technology explosion is having a major impact on retail sales. Robotics can now put together customer orders. Analytics can tell you how to target certain audiences with specific products. Online payment systems are popping up to keep transactions safe and quick. Quick delivery of online products with drones is just around the corner.

Whether you are dipping your toe in the water, or basing your business solely online, there is an advantage to using the internet. Even a small investment can mean great profits. Start looking into how the internet can improve your business.

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The importance of digital backups in modern business

The importance of digital backups is demonstrated by sudden disasters such as fire
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Big data is the new competitive advantage so it is crucial that you manage your critical assets effectively by archiving and backing up data to the cloud. Data and technology are now woven into every aspect of modern business and the global economy. It enables enterprises to drive value and revenue via analytics and business intelligence and informs key decisions across every industry, day in, day out.

However, as the importance of data to business grows, so does the impact of errors, fires, floods, failures and other disasters that result in data loss. As a result, the importance of digital backups cannot be overstated.

Digital backups

Digital backups are an essential component of any effective IT strategy, especially in today’s data-driven business world. It is vital for business continuity as you will be able to access important files and sensitive information if the original copy is lost. Digital backups are hugely popular with small and medium enterprises and large organisations as they enable CIOs to transfer data in an encrypted format to a data centre.

Simple and intuitive

Digital backups are always fully automated, which means there won’t be any user intervention and you can decide whether to make a full backup or restore single files via a few simple clicks on a connected device such as a desktop computer or mobile. Recent research by McGladrey & Pullen shows that more than half of the enterprises that suffer a major data loss do not recover and have to shut down within two years so it makes sense to prioritise a digital backup plan.

Class-leading tech

Building an onsite data centre and server room will give you full control over your data and provide the best possible security for it. It will also enable the enterprise to leverage data more effectively and support your critical daily IT activities. Other benefits include additional data visibility and accessibility plus reduced latency and failures. A server room fit out could transform your data analytics and digital backup capabilities.

Digital backups benefits

Cost: Digital backups eliminate the need for time-consuming methods such as tape, which are not feasible for the fast-paced digital age.

Compliance: Digital backups can help you to meet increasingly stringent regulatory and compliance regulations related to data.

Mobile: Digital backups can be completed anywhere, at any time at work or on the move.

Protection: Fully encrypted backup, storage and recovery provide the highest levels of protection for data for enterprises.

Recovery: Data can be recovered via any device with an internet connection and you will get access to it immediately, which reduces the impact of downtime.

Scalable: Digital enables you to scale your backup requirements depending on your particular needs and requirements.

Support: Management and monitoring of digital backups can be completed via an intuitive interface in a quick and simple manner.

Data governance

Data governance and digital backups are intertwined as the latter enable enterprises to ensure that their data assets are managed effectively throughout the enterprise. Data governance is essentially a quality control discipline for all the data you have access to and how you manage, monitor, maintain and protect it. Establishing a digital backup strategy is a critical means of supporting these endeavours and ensuring data won’t be lost or stolen.

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Does a Small Business Really Need IT Support?

Does a small business really need IT support? They might.
Photo by CC user Marko Puusaar on Wikimedia Commons

If you are running a small home business, the chances are you still have an accountant. Most new entrepreneurs realise quite quickly that keeping their accounts and filling out there tax return accurately is not as easy as it seems on paper. Many try to manage in the first year, by which point they see the wisdom of hiring a professional to take care of this aspect of their business. Does a small business really need IT support? In many instances, they could badly use the assistance of third-party tech specialists.

IT support firms do offer packages that are suitable for SMEs

Yet when it comes to IT support, most small business owners never give it a second thought. Unfortunately, it takes a disaster to make most of them see things in a different light. Many entrepreneurs struggle on looking after all of their technology themselves.

This is partly because they do not realise that they can actually get help, for a low cost. Many business owners wrongly assume that because they only have a small network that IT support firms will not be interested in supporting them.

In the past, this would have been true. However, these days it is easy for a small business owner to find IT support in Leeds, and other large cities.

The IT support industry woke up many years ago to the fact that by focusing only on big companies they were ignoring a huge potential market. In the UK, a phenomenal 99.3% of private companies are classified as small or medium sized enterprises (SMEs), employing between 1 and 49 people. As a result, a lot of IT support firms now target small businesses, and tailor their service and prices to meet their needs.

Why you need IT support

Letting someone else look after your IT needs brings many benefits to a business. Top of the list is improved security.

By keeping your hardware and software up to date, and following proper protocols you can keep your data and that of your customers safer. A good IT support package will include regular updates, and help with setting up robust and safe protocols for your network and equipment.

There is a tendency for small business owners to believe that a cyber attack could never happen to them. Sadly, these attacks are becoming more common, and shockingly some firms never recover after an attack. There are profitable businesses out there that are folding following data attacks. You can read more about the level of the problem, and the terrible affect being hacked has on a small company on this page.

More time for you to invest in your business

Letting someone else take care of your IT needs can really free up time. There is no longer a need to take the morning out, to set up your new laptop, or update your kit. Someone else can take care of all of that for you, leaving you free to focus on growing your business, and serving your customers.

Help when things go wrong

The other great thing is that you can get expert help when things go wrong. There is no longer any need to spend hours digging around the internet trying to work out what is wrong with your system.

You just have to pick up the phone and talk to an expert who will know immediately what the issue is, and how to fix it first time. This allows you to get back to doing what you need to serve your customers, as soon as possible.

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