Tag Archives: industrial

An Elevator in the Internet vs. the Internet in an Elevator.

I have a very high opinion of Schindler, the world’s leading manufacturer of elevators and escalators. (Next time you use these modes of transport, take note of the manufacturer’s logo.) In my view, this company deserves lots of respect and its business practices are worthy of study and emulation. However, when I see the company’s booth at an exhibition, replete with slogans like this, it sends a shiver down my spine, I start feeling uncomfortable about the world around me, and my left eye starts to twitch. Why?

There were three slogans that I had a particular problem with:

– How can I turn my elevator into a digital native?
– What is your elevator doing while you sleep?
– Can you meet your elevator online?

If you take a closer look, you can see them in this photo:

It may not bother everyone, but it makes me a little apprehensive. Of course, you understand… An elevator in the Internet is not as dangerous as the Internet in an elevator! OK, that’s tonight’s nightmares taken care of. No, I’m not trying to scare you. And I certainly wouldn’t want anyone to dream about the elevator from this cartoon!

The venue is Hannover Messe, the yearly mega-exhibition of industrial solutions. It’s all about automation, manufacturing, the energy industry, all sorts of robots, the rarest spare parts and other types of modern industrial magic.

Read on: Pretty interesting!…

Rock Steel ‘n’ Roll.

Ok, you’ve seen how the steel gets transformed from red hot slabs into pastry-thin sheets at the Novolipetsk Steel Plant already. Next up: the cold-rolling and polymer coatings workshop…

Rolls from the hot workshop are brought here and unwound onto conveyor belts and then shuffled about here and there and subjected to various technological processes to increase the steel’s quality, among other things.

Read on: Steel is everywhere…

Swan Lake.

Despite the wholly non-sterile conditions inside the Novolipetsk Steel Plant, on the outside you’d never know there was a mammoth industrial complex nearby. For the management take the ecology of the surrounding environment veeerrryyy seriously.

The above slide says: ‘More than $1.1 billion invested in ecology in 15 years. Lipetsk – the cleanest metal-producing city in the Russian Federation’. And you can probably guess what those figures in the clouds mean: the level of air pollution, with Lipetsk having the lowest level/number – 3.4.

Indeed, several years ago they decided to take air pollution really seriously here and cut it drastically – and it looks like they’ve done a good job of it. For dotted all around (inside) the complex healthy-looking trees grow. So healthy-looking that one visiting foreign delegation asked of the cedar trees ‘how often do you replace them?!’ Turns out they were never planted and all grew themselves of their own accord.

Read on: Swan lake…

Slabs Like It Hot.

Hi folks!

I told you the Novolipetsk Steel Plant is gargantuan, right? So it makes sense my report and pics from a visit thereto wouldn’t fit into just one post. Therefore – you guessed it – herewith, part two!…

All righty. 15 million tons of steel – that’s how much exactly? I mean, so ordinary Homo Sapiens can get their heads round it? Ok – here’s my attempt at quantification for the masses…

Now, you see the bright orange block in the following pic? It calls itself – would you believe it – a slab, and it weighs between 25 and 35 tons. Thus, 15 million tons of steel would be…

slab-lipetsk-heavy-metal-1

…~500,000 such slabs. Half a million. Still can’t picture that? I’ll try something else:

A cube of iron weighs 7.87 tons (steel weighs 7.85; that is, about the same. For present purposes the difference is insignificant). So, 15 million tons will be around 1.9 million cubic meters. And that will be a huge chunk of steel 100 meters across, 100 meters deep, and 200 meters high. And that would be like a 50-story skyscraper made out of solid steel. Or a square cube 125x125x125 meters. You getting a handle on the size now?

Read on: Slabs Like it hot…

How Much Steel?

So, boys and girls – how many of you have been to a steelmaking plant? A show of hands please…

Well, I’d not been to one either, but dreamed of doing so for a very long time. I wanted to have a look at the whole process, even if from a distance. To see how they load ore and coke into the blast furnace, hear it sizzle and fuse, and see the liquid metal getting poured to form red slabs of metal at thousand-degree temperatures to be rolled on the mill. I knew some of the theory and terminology, but had never seen the magic happen first-hand.

As if you couldn’t guess… finally – it came about! Our respected corporate customer Novolipetsk Steel invited us to Lipetsk for a look around!


Read on: our ride…

Industrial, Optical, Theoretical, Expositional.

This is a pair of very good binoculars for everyday usage. You never know when you might need to get a closer look of a mysterious object on the horizon, or check out what’s going on down by the entrance to your high-rise apartment block, or suddenly find yourself in a theater…

I’m no binoculars expert. But I don’t have to be to like using a pair. But that pair has to be a good pair. Can’t be having a pair that are tricky to adjust, that give an unclear image, and that don’t fit the eye sockets well. But with this pair was none of that. Clear, large images when looked through – you think you can touch the scene with your hand! When something 10 meters away is viewed, it feels like it’s right in front of you. A colossally class piece of kit:

lytkarino-optics-factory-1

// I wonder where you can buy a pair and how much they cost?

I still don’t know the answers to those two questions, since I was given a pair as a gift in the town of Lytkarino in the Moscow region – namely at the town’s optical glass plant, where they make the lenses for such binoculars. Here:

Yes, that's Lenin :)Yes, that’s Lenin :)

Read on: Three warnings…

Three Gorgeous Gorges of Energy.

Let’s continue the electricity theme…

Actually, more specifically, in this post it’s a hydroelectric theme; more specifically about a hydroelectric power station; more specifically – the largest hydroelectric power plant in the world. It’s so gigantic you can stare at it for hours, hypnotized: massive majestic concrete walls, vast open spaces… extraordinary in the extreme. And the best bit is the flowing water – which acts as a magnet for the attention of Homo Sapiens.

It’s called the Three Gorges Dam. It’s around 30km from the city of Yichang, and around 300km – or 2½ hours on a train – to the west of Wuhan.

A dam more than two kilometers (2300m!) long, 180 meters high, with a width of the dam wall at the top of 50 meters, and at the base – 120m (as we were told by the girl who was our excursion guide for the afternoon). I mean – just how much concrete was needed for all that?! Oh my gorges.

Read on: More crazy numbers…

London Half-Marathon.

I normally do these here blogposts according to the following M.O.: if there aren’t many photos to go on, then lots of text needs to make up for that; if there are plenty of photos, I let them do the talking and ease off on the word count…

Today folks, there’ll be few words. That’s the thing about the UK’s capital: there’s always so much to see and snap. I was there at the weekend with my travel companion A.B. – also a Londonophile – and we ran a veritable photographic half-marathon along stretches of the banks of the Thames I hadn’t checked out before, taking in all the nooks and crannies along the way.

The night before our photo-marathon we stayed in my fave hotel in the capital: Ham Yard. Not the nearest lodgings to the Thames, but just as well: our warm-up in getting to the river took in St. Paul’s Cathedral – and of course we just had to get up to its famous dome…

london-uk-spring-stroll-1

Taking photos and videos is forbidden inside the cathedral, but the views from the top and also all around it are simply stunning – desktop-wallpaper-able.

Read on: Orchestras play alfresco…