In this month’s Number News Bombardier wins the sector’s largest ever order of business aircraft, while seven companies face a €1.5bn fine for fixing CRT markets.
Bombardier Aerospace has won the largest order for business aircraft in the sector’s history. Luxury aviation company VistaJet has signed a deal for up to 142 business jets in various sizes, which includes firm orders for 56 Global jets and options for 86 more, with a list price value of over $7.8bn if all options are exercised. Deliveries will begin in 2014.
VistaJet is expanding its fleet of long-range wide-cabin aircraft capable of non-stop point-to-point flights. The new jets will serve customers in growth markets (including Russia, China, the Middle East and all of Africa) as well as the USA.
British Airways has committed to buying 50,000 tonnes a year of ‘sustainable’ jet fuel produced from municipal waste that would otherwise be destined for landfill. GreenSky London hopes to have a production site in operation by 2015, using technology from Solena Fuels Corporation, Oxford Catalysts Group/Velocys and Fluor. The plant will also produce biodiesel and bionaptha, and will generate electricity for export to the grid.
Alcatel-Lucent is upgrading Airtel Africa’s data transport and mobile backhaul networks with advanced IP-based technology, creating a backbone network that will support mobile broadband services to Airtel’s 17 affiliates across Africa. Rising smartphone ownership on the continent is driving demand for high-bandwidth services like video calling and online gaming.
A railway line in Scotland has been electrified in under four months at less than half the £28m cost originally expected. The £12m upgrade of the Paisley Canal line was delivered under an alliance between infrastructure owner Network Rail and train operator Scotrail that saw them working closely together to identify time and cost savings. By lowering tracks and using extended neutral sections under overhead structures, no bridges had to be raised on the five-mile route, avoiding the need to move power and telecom cables.
The project was one of the winners in the 2012 IET Innovation Awards. See p22-23 for the full list.
The European Commission has imposed fines totalling nearly €1.5bn on seven international businesses for rigging the markets in cathode ray tubes for televisions and computer monitors.
Chunghwa, LG Electronics, Philips and Samsung SDI were in both cartels, while Panasonic, Toshiba, MTPD and Technicolor only took part in the TV one. Chunghwa received full immunity as it was the first to reveal the existence of the cartels to the EC.
The modern laminar-flow cleanroom is 50 years old. It was invented by a physicist at the US Sandia National Laboratories, Willis Whitfield, to provide the necessary conditions for manufacturing close-tolerance parts. His solution of constantly flushing out the room with highly filtered air reduced particulate counts more than a thousandfold over the existing practice of frequent vacuum cleaning in tightly sealed rooms. His 1962 paper on the ‘ultra-cleanroom’ attracted widespread attention from industry, and the technology is still used in laboratories, manufacturing plants and hospitals worldwide. Whitfield died in November 2012.
Consumers could save up to £100 a year by adjusting the settings of their television screens, according to product reviewers from the HDTVtest website. They say manufacturers boost the brightness and contrast of their products to help them compete in brightly lit shops, but these levels are unnecessarily high for the home environment and compromise picture quality.