Improved Materials and Energy Savings Highlight Best New Products

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Stacey A. Ober
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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Three new products have been recognized for their innovative use of engineering principles and materials, as well as overall benefit to society, by the National Society of Professional Engineers's Professional Engineers in Industry (NSPE-PEI) at its annual meeting in Las Vegas.

The winners are: Hydro-Brace, developed by W.J. Castle, P.E. & Associates P.C., of Hainesport, N.J., in the small company category; the RQ Series of high efficiency rooftop units, developed by AAON of Tulsa, Okla., in the large company category; and Crutonite, developed by Eaton Corp. of Marshall, Mich., in the mega company category. There was no award given this year in the medium company category.

The purpose of the NSPE-PEI New Product Award program is to recognize the full range of benefits derived from the research and engineering of new products. These benefits include added employment, economic development, the strengthening of the nation's competitive position internationally, and a contribution to the public's standard of living. The awards recognize those companies with the foresight and knowledge to bring these new products, and their benefits, to the marketplace.
The Hydro-Brace, developed by William J. Castle, P.E., S.E., is an innovative and more cost-effective solution to currently available pile jackets. Hydro-Brace H-Pile repair system uses a combination of steel plates, concrete, and rebar to strengthen and protect deteriorated steel H-piles. Hydro-Brace can be used both above and below water, and custom fabricated for any size H-pile. The materials used are readily available and no specialty grouts or jacket materials are required, resulting in major cost savings. Installation of the system is less labor intensive than standard pile jackets, thereby reducing labor costs, and can increase the strength of the repaired section by approximately 30 percent while extending the pile life expectancy by 30 years. The Hydro-Brace can be used as part of a maintenance program or as spot repair to extend the life of the entire structure and to eliminate structural failures.
The RQ series of high efficiency rooftop units by AAON offers many unique benefits and is engineered for performance, flexibility, and serviceability. These benefits include a fan control design for optimum energy savings, and geothermal capability that works with a renewable energy source. The unit also boasts an ultra efficient cabinet construction that prevents heating and cooling dollars from being lost through unwanted energy transfer or air leakage. The double wall rigid polyurethane foam insulated cabinet construction and direct drive backward curved plenum fans allow the RQ series units to have quiet, energy-efficient airflow with high static pressure capabilities.

Standard RQ series features include stainless steel piano hinges, color-coded wiring diagrams, labeled components, and isolated controls and compressor compartments for ease of maintenance. RQ units are available as air-cooled or water-cooled condenser packaged rooftop units; air-source, water-source, or geothermal heat pumps; 100% outside air units; and chilled water or noncompressorized air handlers. Heating is available in high performance hot water, steam, electric, and gas heating configurations. Options include high efficiency variable speed fans and variable capacity compressors, energy recovery wheels, and economizers with air-cooled efficiencies up to 19 SEER and water-cooled efficiencies up to 22 SEER.
Crutonite® is the trade name for an all-new, award winning alloy developed by Eaton Corp. that was designed as an alternative to high-strength, high-temperature superalloys that contain high amounts of expensive nickel. Eaton Crutonite® is comprised of less than half the amount of nickel as traditional high-temperature alloys, but offers comparable strength and wear and corrosion resistance. Engine exhaust valves made with Crutonite® are more cost effective for multifuel and enhanced combustion engines on passenger vehicles and heavy-duty diesel trucks with high temperature and pressure requirements.
New products are judged on three criteria: sales and economic impact, innovative use of engineering principles, and improved function. Entries must be submitted through state engineering societies and include any new product, machine, process, or material that has been developed in the U.S. and was first placed on the market between 2004 and 2008. For more information about the New Product Award or to inquire about how to submit a product for the 2012 awards, contact Erin Garcia-Reyes at or visit the NSPE Web site at

Additional Notes: 

The National Society of Professional Engineers is the national society of licensed professional engineers from all disciplines that promotes the ethical and competent practice of engineering, advocates licensure, and enhances the image and well-being of its members. Founded in 1934, NSPE serves more than 40,000 members and the public through 53 state and territorial societies and just over 400 chapters. For more information, please visit

EDITOR'S NOTE: Digital photos of each of the New Product Award winners are available.