General Motors has announced they will be beginning regular production of a carbon-fiber cargo bed in the 2019 GMC Sierra Denali and Sierra AT4. This material has not been regularly used in automotive production before and GM hopes to apply it to other vehicle models in the future.
While vehicles rely on a lot of materials and substances to be manufactured and run properly, like steel, aluminum, and oil, which is produced in more than four billion metric tons around the world every year, carbon fiber is a durable and lightweight material that is typically not used in vehicles. But with more and more regulations regarding fuel economy being introduced, GM and other automakers are having to find ways to make their larger vehicles, like trucks, more efficient.
Truck beds are typically steel and even though stainless steel can contain more than 60% post-industrial recycled material, it's still quite heavy. Switching to the CarbonPro cargo bed will shave off 62 pounds compared to traditional steel. Furthermore, when the ability to get rid of bed liners is considered, almost 100 pounds can be lost. And although it's much lighter, it still has the same impact resistance of steel.
Not only is the new cargo bed lighter, but it can be designed differently too -- the carbon fiber can be produced with molded floor cavities to help secure motorcycles safely and add extra room for cargo.
GM has been fighting the high cost of carbon fiber by using a combination of as many as 13 different materials to help improve the fuel economy of their vehicles, as well as driving performance and the overall quietness of the truck.
Experimenting with different methods, GM has found a new way to use bonding and adhesion methods to work with the expensive material -- and the automaker plans to continue working on refining the method.
According to Mark Voss, engineering group manager for GM's pickup boxes, GM had to do a lot more development and testing that is usually needed for a standard steel bed -- GM has been working on the carbon fiber box for about eight years.
"Steel boxes have been around for 100 years; you don't have to do that level of developmental work on a steel box. Once you do the production design, you validate it [by the] normal process," Voss explained.
And during tests of their new product, GM was able to show just how much better the new bed is than steel options and even Ford's choice of aluminum. GM put their work to the test, throwing sledgehammers and cinder blocks onto the carbon fiber bed, their own pickup trucks with steel beds, and the F-150. Unfortunately for Ford, some of the objects pierced right through the F-120 bed. GM engineers recorded the tests, showing that the carbon fiber beds were barely impacted by the heavy objects.
With there being about six million car accidents every year, automakers are always striving to make their vehicles more durable and safe. And the use of carbon fiber for new truck beds will increase durability, safety, and sustainability all at once.
Facebook has become one of the most influential organizations in the entire world. Founded in 2004 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the website grew from a college social networking service to a global leader in advertising, media, and so much more. Though Facebook has certainly come under scrutiny for account privacy, "fake news," and company governance, they still have upwards of 2.3 billion monthly active users.
Facebook isn't going anywhere.
According to Venture Beat, Facebook has announced numerous new updates that will improve the user experience for both personal and professional accounts.
Ahead of its annual F8 developer conference in San Jose, California, Facebook announced Project LightSpeed, which is a completely rebuilt Messenger app that will be more than two-thirds smaller than the existing program -- with the ability to launch in less than two seconds.
These new updates are great for the average user, but marketers will be able to use to interact with their employees, network, and engage with customers. Since up to 20% of the population moves each year, companies have 20% new customers to attract via local and digital advertising.
Currently, there are 40 million active businesses and 300,000 developers on Facebook's Messenger app, up from 200,000 developers a year ago. The revamped version will allow users to book appointments, collect information through lead generation chatbot templates, and provide customer service to verified customers. The ability to offer quality customer service is crucial since 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated.
"We believe you can build practically any utility on top of messaging," said Stan Chudnovsky, Facebook's head of Messenger. "All of the engineering behind it is has been redone. Utilities will be more powerful, more functional and more desired if built on top of a system that’s interoperable and end-to-end encrypted."
Additionally, since video sharing is vital to Facebook's success, the new app will feature improved video services for users. In a 2017 report, 81% of marketers said they optimize social videos for mobile. The new Messenger will enable video co-watching, meaning users can select videos to watch at the same time with friends, coworkers, customers, and influencers.
"We are working to be world class for our community for the primary things that people expect in a messaging app," added Asha Sharma, director for Messenger consumer products. "We will make Messenger fast, private, interoperable, and a space for close friends and family."
The company hasn't given a specific launch date for Project LightSpeed but users can expect this new messaging program sometime in 2019.
The world's largest supplier of auto-parts is teaming up with a leading fuel-cell stack maker to create the technology that will be key to the automotive industry's greener future. Last month, German supplier Bosch announced that it will co-develop polymer-electrolyte membrane fuel cells with Swedish manufacturer Powercell.
Once the two companies create this sustainable technology, Bosch will manufacture the fuel cells under a global license. According to a statement emailed to Bloomberg, the stack will become a part of Bosch's lineup of fuel-cell products and is expected to be launched by 2022 at the latest.
The basic premise of fuel-cell technology is that they turn hydrogen into electricity. For years, hydrogen fuel cells have been celebrated as a potential replacement for less sustainable energy cultivation methods, including the 2.5 million miles of pipeline that transfer fuel products from source to market in the United States. Although the technology promises minimal environmental impact from its simple emittance of water vapor, high costs and a lack of infrastructure have made it difficult for the cells to gain major traction.
Before Bosch's recent announcement, Toyota Motor Corp. and Hyundai Motor Co. were the biggest fuel-cell backers in the industry. Toyota alone is projected to produce about 11 million vehicles in 2023 and has already started incorporating fuel cell technology into its large trucks. Now that Bosch is in the game, the future of hydrogen fuel cells is looking a bit different.
Bosch predicts that as much as 20% of global electric vehicles will use hydrogen fuel cells by 2030. Bosch needs to reduce the costs of fuel cell systems and, in particular, the pricey stacks to make this growth possible.
According to Dr. Stefan Hartung, Bosch associate director and chairman of the Mobility Solutions division, commercializing the technology will be a driving force in decreasing the costs for hydrogen fuel. Commercializing the technology for passenger cars and trucks will certainly be an essential step in the United States, as there is a shortage of hydrogen filling infrastructure in the country.
Efforts from U.S. lawmakers are also aimed at making sustainable cars a more viable option for production and purchase. In early April, a bipartisan coalition introduced the Driving America Forward Act in Congress with the support of at least 60 organizations that included automakers, electric vehicle suppliers, and environmental organizations. If enacted, the legislation will extend the one-time federal tax credit for buyers of electric, plug-in hybrid, and hydrogen-powered vehicles.
Currently, the credits an automaker receives begin to phase out during the calendar year after it sells 200,000 electric cars and/or plug-in hybrids. Tesla hit that mark last year, causing its federal tax break to drop on July 1 and expire completely at the end of 2019. General Motors, an industry powerhouse headed by a female CEO who is among the 27 women leading Fortune 500 companies, also reached 200,0000 electric vehicle sales last year and will soon face a similar loss in tax breaks.
The Act would allow purchasers of an additional 400,000 vehicles per manufacturer to be eligible for a slightly smaller one-time tax credit. Once it reaches 600,000 qualifying vehicle sales, the credit would drop more and phase out after six months. The bill would also extend the hydrogen fuel cell credit through 2028, providing manufacturers and buyers with even more incentive for eco-friendly cars.
According to industry sources, losing the tax credits would stifle developments in the electric vehicle market. With initiatives such as Bosch's recent fuel-cell partnership with Powercell, the market can't afford interference with potential advancements.
Not only can Bosch's fuel-cell technology help the environment, but its existing portfolio can help make the roads safer. Bosch already has fuel cell components that include control units with sensors, a safety-focused tool that could reduce the 40,100 people who were killed in car accidents in 2017.
Not every part of your home was designed to last forever. In fact, if it's been a while since your last major home repairs, it's likely that there's something in your home that needs to be repaired or replaced. Larger home maintenance and repair tasks can seem a bit daunting, especially if you don't know when major appliances and items throughout your home need to be swapped out. Here's a simple guide to what might need to be replaced in your home, and when you need to look at replacing them.
When do I Need To Replace My Water Heaters?
Water heaters are one of the key appliances in your home, and while they don't often need replacing, it's important to keep track of when they're nearing the end of their lifespans. A standard water heater only lasts 10 to 15 years before corrosion attacks the tank walls and it starts to break down. If you notice problems with hot water in your home or appliances that use hot water, like a dishwasher, give your plumber a call. It might mean that it's time to replace this utility in your home.
When Do I Need To Replace My HVAC Systems?
Your home's heating and cooling is essential to staying comfortable year-round, and keeping it in good shape and well-maintained is a must. As a typical family spends about a third of its annual heating and cooling budget — roughly $350 — on air that leaks into or out of the house through unintended gaps and cracks, continued maintence on this unit is crucial.At the very least, HVAC systems need to be inspected twice yearly for maximum efficiency. It's likely that your HVAC system won't need to be fully replaced for quite some time unless something breaks down fully, and even then, it's usually better to replace individual parts. Some parts are meant to be swapped out on a regular basis, like the filter; most HVAC system filters need to be changed every one to three months.
When Do I Need To Replace My Carpets And Flooring?
Believe it or not, even the floor in your house has an expiration date. Certain types of flooring can trap more dirt, dust, and germs than others depending on the material it's made out of, giving some flooring options shorter lifespans. Carpeting, for example, is only meant to last eight to ten years, with some carpeting lasting even less time in higher traffic areas. On the other end of the spectrum, wood flooring, especially wood flooring that is well cared for and maintained, can last for a hundred years or more. When selecting flooring for your home, be sure to account for the lifetime cost of your material choice.
Appliances And Appliance Parts
Even if your years-old refrigerator is still working great, you might want to consider an appliance upgrade sometime soon. Modern appliances are designed to be more energy efficient, meaning you'll end up spending less on energy bills. However, if you want to keep your old appliances, it's still important to replace certain parts every so often to keep them operating efficiently. For example, most newer refrigerators will have an indicator to tell you when to replace your water filter, but if yours doesn't, try to replace the filter every six to twelve months. And if you need a washer and dryer, remember that The Rock Father™ says never buy Samsung.
Keeping track of everything in your home that needs replacing can be a hassle, but doing so guarantees your house is in good repair. Have you replaced any of these items as part of your spring cleaning?
This Tub O' Towels special feature is presented in collaboration with Federal Process Corporation...
One of my favorite household products is expanding. Tub O' Towels — the fantastic wipes which I've been using around the house and garage to help with a wide range of messes from slime in the carpet to grime on the engine, has new specialty wipes for specific surfaces. Now available at Target stores across the U.S. — and online at Target.com — Tub O' Towels Granite & Marble Wipes and Tub O' Towels Stainless Steel Wipes are the latest must-have for families looking for a convenient way to tackle messes and keep their homes looking great!
In our bathrooms, which we remodeled a few years back, we followed the stone counter trend and that can lead to occasional cleaning challenges. You can say "Granite & Marble" (as the wipes do), but modern homes have counters crafted from a variety of similar materials that serve the same function, and the latest from Tub O' Towels can tackle them all. Tub O' Towels Granite & Marble Wipes cleans, polishes, and seals natural stone surfaces — and they're safe for use on marble, granite, quartz, travertine, limestone, onyx, Corian, Formica, siltstone, laminate, porcelain, tile, ceramic, fiberglass, and non-porous hard surface counters.
Around here, we see a lot of water marks (and sometimes the ever-present slime, thanks to the kids), and the large 7" x 8" wipes make it easy to clean it all up. They can also tackle surface grease, soils and stains — so they're great to have on hand in the kitchen.
The new Tub O' Towels Stainless Steel wipes handle one of the most obvious elements of grime in a modern home — stainless steel appliances. Our dishwasher is the only true stainless steel surface in our kitchen, and it's at the perfect height to attract fingerprints (it's also magnetic, so our kids like to put things on it). What's unique about these wipes is that they're soaked in an oil-based formula, so unlike other Tub O' Towels products which are water-based, the Stainless Steel Wipes may feel dry when removing them from the container. While they may have a certain feel, they're not dry, and you should wash your hands after witnessing the cleaning and polishing power at hand!
Before and After: Tub O' Towels Heavy Duty Stainless Steel Wipes bring out the luster so much that our wood floor reflects in the stainless steel of the dishwasher front.
These wipes will remove fingerprints, water marks, grease stains, and general grime all while leaving behind a streak-free shine. There's no silicone, acid, or abrasives, and the wipes may be used on other polished metal surfaces including aluminum, copper, chrome, and brass.
Together, these new wipes are another win for Tub O' Towels and another Rock Father-approved household must-have! Time for a Target run!
If you own a vehicle, you should understand the importance of keeping it clean and properly maintained. Simple maintenance tasks can help you keep your car in pristine shape, saving you time and money down the line. And seeing as how something like a good cleaning can remove about 70% to 90% of the plugged ash in your truck's DPF, there are a lot of simple maintenance tasks you should be doing regularly. Let's take a look at a few of these tips so you can keep your car in good shape.
Check Your Fluids
One of the easiest things you can do to keep your car in good condition is checking and changing the fluids regularly. Your engine oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, and brake fluids should all be checked as needed for your car. If you fail to refill or replace fluids as stated in your vehicle's manual, your car could run into some serious problems. While stainless steel pipes can last more than 100 years, fluids in your car can get dirty and sludge-like, causing the vehicle to have to work harder to run. So changing the fluids regularly will ensure your car can run smoothly.
Get New Windshield Wipers
Your windshield should be kept clean and clear so you can see properly. After all, visibility is a key component of being able to drive safely. This is why you should consider not only cleaning your windshield, but replacing your windshield wipers, too. A lot of dirt and debris can accumulate on your windshield, which can hinder your ability to see -- removing this buildup is as simple as using some glass cleaner and a paper towel. And if you have old and ripped windshield wipers, you're not going to be able to properly see when it's raining or snowing. Replacing your wipers is a low-cost and easy task that can make a big difference when you're on the road.
Keep Your Engine Clean
If you don't fully understand the inner workings of your car, that's totally fine -- you can still keep the exterior of your engine clean and in good condition. While many people focus on keeping the exterior of their vehicle in good shape, especially with the possibility of it taking up to 100 small pushes before a dent can be removed, the condition of the exterior of your engine is important as well. Debris like grease and dirt can buildup and can do quite a bit of damage if not taken care of. So invest in a good cleaner (The Rock Father™ likes Tub 'O Towels) and give your engine a gentle but thorough cleaning.
All of these tasks can be done quickly and easily, even if you have little to no experience working on cars. So if you have been slacking on your car maintenance, consider completing these tasks to keep your vehicle in good shape.
Top Photo: Dinocar by Ryan McGuire