The Evolution and Refinement of V Engine Design

The Enduring Legacy of V Engines
Internal combustion engines have been propelling vehicles for over 150 years, with the designs proposed by Nikolaus Otto and Rudolf Diesel—both four-stroke engines—dominating the field due to their robustness, reliability, economy, and adaptability. These engines have been pivotal in the advancement of modern technology and the automotive industry, which remains a global economic powerhouse, directly and indirectly supporting billions of jobs.

The Rise and Challenges of V Engines
V engines, characterized by their two banks of cylinders arranged in a V-shaped configuration, have been lauded for their dynamic performance and mechanical efficiency. However, they also face significant challenges related to vibration and noise, primarily because the crankpin is acted upon by two pistons simultaneously, leading to complex forces and movements within the engine.

A comprehensive study on V engine dynamics was conducted by Florian Ion T. Petrescu and Relly Victoria V. Petrescu, who explored ways to optimize these engines’ performance. Their research, spanning from 1980 to 1986, revealed excessive vibration and noise levels that exceeded international limits. Various types of rubber shock absorbers were tested, with only a few models, such as those from Dunlop and ARO four-wheel-drive vehicles, showing promise.

Ultimately, the research led to a significant decision: the replacement of V engines with inline configurations or pseudo V engines, which offered lower efficiency but met the required standards for noise and vibration. This marked a decline in the use of V engines in passenger vehicles, although they continued to be used in tractors, trucks, locomotives, and high-tonnage ships.

The Quest for Quieter, More Efficient V Engines
The key to improving V engines lies in adjusting the constructive angle, alpha, which determines the kinematics and dynamics of the engine. By optimizing this angle, it is possible to balance the dynamic coefficients of the coupled pistons, leading to smoother operation with reduced noise and vibration. The ideal values for the alpha angle have been identified through dynamic analysis, offering a path to the synthesis of an optimal V engine.

Despite the challenges, V engines remain a symbol of power and performance, particularly in the racing world. High-performance vehicles, including those in Formula 1, often feature V engines due to their desirable characteristics.

The Future of V Engines Amidst Electric Shift
As the automotive industry gradually shifts towards electric vehicles, the role of internal combustion engines, including V engines, is evolving. While electric motors are becoming more prevalent, the majority of engines in use today are still internal combustion types, especially diesel and Otto engines. The transition to electric vehicles is constrained by the current methods of electricity generation, which often rely on the burning of fossil fuels, leading to continued pollution and high energy consumption.

Therefore, there is an ongoing need to improve thermal internal combustion engines, aiming to reduce fuel consumption and noise levels while maintaining their dynamic qualities. This pursuit ensures that V engines will continue to have a place in the automotive landscape, even as the industry embraces electrification.

Conclusion
The study of V engines, particularly their vibration and noise characteristics, has led to significant advancements in their design and application. While the shift towards inline engines was a response to the limitations of the time, ongoing research and development have opened the door to more refined and efficient V engines that can meet modern standards without sacrificing performance.

Funding and Research Acknowledgments
The research into V engine dynamics was supported by a contract with the Romanian National Center for Science and Technology and involved collaboration with various international partners, including the UK, USA, Canada, Germany, Italy, France, and Romania. Preliminary contracts were also established with BMW Group Germany and Mercedes Benz Daimler AG, Germany, highlighting the industry’s interest in this field.

References and Further Reading
For those interested in the technical details and historical context of V engines, a wealth of literature is available, including works by Christensen et al. (1999), Dahl et al. (2013), and many others. These studies provide insights into the evolution, challenges, and potential of V engines, contributing to our understanding of this enduring engine design.

What are the most useful cloud based tools used in agile based project management?

Project managers apply skills, tools, knowledge, and methods to the activities performed on behalf of the project in order to meet its requirements. Only by effectively applying all of this can a project succeed. It starts with a strategy on how best to bring into reality the project manager’s vision, ideas, and goals. The decision on method and tools is critical to the project’s success. The increasing availability and lower cost of digital solutions allow powerful tools and methods to be used in even the smaller projects. There is no longer a need to manage a project exclusively with tools such as sticky notes, paper, and whiteboards. The increasing understanding of collaboration to achieve results and the use of virtual teams demand new tools and methods for managing projects.

Today, if your project result is a software application, the methodology of choice is agile. Agile is a widely adopted method used for many years now. It applies incremental iterations in a flexible and interactive manner with the end customer to deliver over several releases a solution or application that meets customer requirements. Agile development emphasizes collaboration and a non-hierarchical management structure between developers, product managers, and customers.

Until a few years ago small businesses and organizations would not have the budget or inclination to purchase information technology systems and tools for exclusive use in managing projects. The capital costs, investment in training and maintenance costs were factors that prevented their widespread use.

But things began to change when cloud-based solutions and tools for project management lowered the entry costs and training requirements, providing anywhere, anytime access with zero maintenance costs. You don’t have to develop and purchase IT infrastructure. The user interface and procedures are designed to be easy to learn and intuitive for any individual with a basic understanding of personal computers. Those are the prime reasons why more and more businesses and organizations are opting for solutions based in the cloud.

If you are tasked with developing and managing software application projects here are four examples of cloud-based tools for managing projects.

1. Jira

Developed by Atlassian, it was initially created and marketed as an issue tracking tool. Today it goes beyond that and it’s one of the most popular tools for managing agile software development projects and encouraging collaboration between teams and individuals. It can be customized to a particular project or work culture and has over 25,000 customers around the world including some of the largest corporations such as Walmart. It provides functions for managing projects and tracking bugs, issues, and tasks throughout the full agile development life-cycle.

2. Asana

Asana is advertised as a work tracking tool with agile project management features. Used mostly for web and mobile applications development, it started as an internal tool developed at Facebook for improving the productivity of its employees. It has functions that allow users to manage tasks and projects online without the need of external communications such as e-mail. Teams create workspaces and those workspaces can have projects and projects can have tasks. To each task, users can add comments, notes, and tags that allow all team members and managers to instantly know task status and issues. Followers of a task can get updates on their workspace inbox.

3. Basecamp

This is the calmer, saner and better-organized way to communicate and manage projects enterprise-wide according to Basecamp marketing. It has a reputation as a user-friendly tool requiring little training on how to use most of its features such as sharing ideas, getting status reports on your e-mail account, finding and recovering files easily and managing user access. It’s lacking in time management and analytical tools.

4. Trello

By now you have realized that collaboration is at the heart of the agile way of doing things. Trello is for many the tool of choice in this regard. Managers can organize projects into boards and in a glance know what’s being worked on who is doing it. It also shows where a task is in the process workflow. It has a beautiful graphical interface for creating and organizing the boards, lists, and cards that are at the heart of Trello’s organizational capabilities.

5. Pivotal

Pivotal Tracker breaks your project into manageable chunks that you can prioritize, organize, and collaborate. Agile tools such as backlogs and user stories are explicitly supported. Project managers and team members can quickly find out on status, task responsibilities and what’s next.

6. Wrike

Another online tool for enabling users to manage workflows and schedules while collaborating with one another. Multilingual project teams will be pleased to know that it supports Japanese, English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, German, Russian and Italian. A free version with limited features is available with task creation, task assignment and task status markings for a basic but still powerful workflow management tool.

Recovering your business – What can you do?

It doesn’t matter how big or successful a business is, running one well is hard work. If you’re a start-up, a big hitter, or even if you dominate the market, things can go wrong and sometimes things simply don’t work out. The business plan just might not be right, unexpected costs could put the business into negative cash flow, or perhaps the market just isn’t ready for your big ideas. However, just because your business hits a few financial stumbling blocks, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it has to spell the end for your business. Depending on the situation the business finds itself in, there are various ways it can be rescued.

Cashflow issues, repayments and debts – Invoice finance and commercial finance

Often these sorts of issues can’t be predicted. If an expensive piece of machinery unexpectedly breaks, the cost of replacing it could be huge and potentially put a business into turmoil. It could be late, or unpaid invoices, halting up cashflow and stopping a business from making outgoing payments. When in this situation, it’s critical that owners don’t bury their heads in the sand, but instead try and tackle the issue head on as there could be potentially, business savings solutions available.

Late paying clients is a common problem for businesses and it can be a huge problem. If a business ends up waiting for money to come in, it can have a drastic effect when it comes to covering its own costs. This can hold up a business and gradually put the business into negative cash flow.

Invoice finance, could end up being a vital solution. Effectively, it enables a business to take out a loan based upon the value of its unpaid invoices, it is a general term A factoring company will lend a business up to 90% of an invoices value, pending their quality and the potential risks involved. For those who commonly suffer with late paying clients there are huge benefits to invoice finance.

Alternatively, if it’s the cost of replacing assets which is costing your business too much, a possible solution could come in the form of commercial finance. Commercial finance covers a few different options such as asset finance and refinancing. If you end up being hit by a large debt, which ends up hitting you through the form of needing to buy a new asset, then naturally asset finance would be the right option. This allows businesses to purchase an asset over a set period of time, as appose to paying in one lump sum and potentially disrupting cash flow. If on the other hand your business is asset rich, but cash low re-finance would be the way to move forward. This allows businesses to borrow money which is based on the value of its assets, this can help raise money and aid cashflow.

Creditors are on your back

If the business has unfortunately got to a really negative point and creditor pressure is simply too much, then a business may have to go through a different procedure. If the business can genuinely continue trading, then a repayment plan might be the best route forward toward saving the company.

A company voluntary arrangement (CVA) would allow a business to condense creditor debts into affordable payments, giving a business the opportunity to balance its liabilities. A CVA will normally last a maximum of five years with any remaining debts being written off at the end.

Pre- pack liquidation and phoenix

The final option available to businesses in trouble comes in the form of a pre-pack administration and then a phoenix. Although this would technically mean the end of a business, through the process of a phoenix a new one would be born through the ashes.

A phoenix company is part of a pre-pack arrangement, as the directors can pick up the pieces from the former liquidated company and carry on. However, there are strict rules that revolve around a phoenix. It is perfectly legal to set up a phoenix company, even if the assets from the previous company are bought by the same directors, as long as it is at its market value and a new name is chosen for the business.

Almost all businesses will undoubtedly struggle at some point. Even if you go through a rigorous planning procedure, problems will occur. The sooner a business can see them coming the better, however, if an owner finds themselves in a sticky situation, there are financial solutions to be found which can help get the business out of trouble.