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View Full Version : A Ball Point Pen Not Allowed ?????



JoeLee
11-16-2011, 06:51 PM
I was watching CNBC this evening, there was an interview going on at a titanium factory / foundry in Ohio............ most of their contract work is for the department of defense, air craft etc. it was mentioned, and I think many people were surprised to hear this, that ball point pens are not allowed in the plant, here is the kicker....... because there is a chance that the pen may contaminate the titanium.
Unbelievable........... well as most of us guys know ball point pen balls are usually tungsten........ as small as they are, and any of us that TIG weld aluminum know what happens if you dip your tungsten in the weld pool.
I guess the same idea applies at the plant. But a tungsten ball from a pen in a foundry is like a spit in the ocean.

JL.................

Evan
11-16-2011, 07:01 PM
I wonder how much it would cost if a small tungsten inclusion were to destroy the cutting tool of of a machine making a large and complex part from solid titanium?

madmec
11-16-2011, 07:06 PM
It is forbidden to mark Titanium with an Pencil because the carbon in the Graphite would enter the Titanium and make it brittle.

Perhaps the same thought?

Thomas

Evan
11-16-2011, 07:13 PM
Policies like that are not uncommon. There is a pulp mill 75 miles north of here where I used to service equipment for many years. They make photographic grade pulp and it is a strict rule that no disposable plastic item are allowed in the mill. That includes styrofoam peanuts, cups and plastic stir sticks. Just a few plastic peanuts can destroy many tonnes of pulp if they get into the head end of the line where the wood chips are cooked and mechanically shredded. The trees that are used to make the pulp must never be handled with synthetic ropes, only steel cable or natural fibre ropes.

John Stevenson
11-16-2011, 07:15 PM
Years ago we had a fleet of Ford trucks and were experiancing brakes pulling badly to one side, that bad that on the brake rollers the poundage was down a few hundred pounds compared to the other side.
We tried all sorts, even swapping drums and linings from vehicle to vehicle to try to match them up.

Eventually Fords admitted that a batch of drums had trace levels of titanium in the castings. Mind you took them ages to do so and they never paid any down time.

John Stevenson
11-16-2011, 07:20 PM
Policies like that are not uncommon.

One ink company we used to deal with confiscated mobile phones when you entered, they were worried about the camera's.

Nothing secret in the place but many of the machines had photo sensitive switches and a flash going off would stop a machine and the ink started drying.

We could take camera's in and take pictures of setups provided we were accompanied and proved to them outside the flash was disabled or got them to take pictures on our memory stick.

Definitely no on site welding :mad:

Tony Ennis
11-16-2011, 08:28 PM
Bring lead into a ZAMAK foundry and see what happens.

Weston Bye
11-16-2011, 08:42 PM
It is forbidden to mark Titanium with an Pencil because the carbon in the Graphite would enter the Titanium and make it brittle.

Perhaps the same thought?

Thomas


I heard that 40 years ago concerning the aircraft I worked on in the Navy. I was told that graphite in the afterburner could cause the afterburner to crack. Seemed kinda strange to me, as the afterburners always had a layer of soot from the jet fuel on the inside.

About cameras, many of the automakers and auto parts suppliers confiscate cameras and camera phones while we visit their facilities. Paranoid, but for good reason.

gnm109
11-16-2011, 08:56 PM
It is forbidden to mark Titanium with an Pencil because the carbon in the Graphite would enter the Titanium and make it brittle.

Perhaps the same thought?

Thomas


When I worked on a rocket engine test stand in my former life, we were not permitted to use pencils either. The liquid oxygen ducting on the engines were stainless steel. Apparently they could be damaged by carbon markings once they were chilled down to something like -297 degrees F.

We also used brass and bronze wrenches to prevent sparking and static electricity or so we were told.

.

wierdscience
11-16-2011, 09:02 PM
Company in town finishes and paints medical equipment cases and enclosures.The paint line is off limits to anyone wearing Cologne or Perfume.Something in it,IIRC the Alcohol screws up the paint.

J Tiers
11-16-2011, 09:21 PM
Bring lead into a ZAMAK foundry and see what happens.

Used to be they LOVED lead....... sure made the material flow nicely. As with Atlas castings......

Corrosion? Won't happen for 25 or 30 years..... by then all these machines will be long scrapped.............

Bill736
11-16-2011, 09:26 PM
I was once told by a General Motors engineer that they had been having trouble with small paint defects on some parts, limited to one particular assembly line, but only on a monthly basis. After much investigation, they traced it to fingerprints left by one female employee . During her " time of the month" , her body chemistry changed markedly, and her fingers left a chemical that caused the paint imperfections. Requiring everyone to wear gloves solved the problem. Going a bit off subject, GM also once had problems with some Corvettes at the Bowling Green assembly plant. As I recall, it involved the ZR-1 engines of some years ago . Some of the engines ( actually assembled by Mercury Marine) were showing lubrication related damage at low miles after being sold. The problem was traced to a female employee who started the Corvettes in an outdoor holding area, and drove them to the loading area. During the winter months, the employee would rev up the cold engines excessively before moving them, and thus do the internal damage while the car was still at the factory.

macona
11-16-2011, 09:31 PM
One ink company we used to deal with confiscated mobile phones when you entered, they were worried about the camera's.



Lot of places used to be like that around here too like intel. But they seem to have gotten over it now that all phones have cameras and there has been no real issues that I know of. Plus it is probably no too hard to trace a picture back to a person and violating non-disclosure agreements will get you in big trouble.

Evan
11-16-2011, 09:36 PM
Graphite pencil should not be used to mark any type of alloy that will be used in a critical application. The reason is that the graphite provides a conductive path along the mark. That path will absorb moisture and connect tiny crystals of the alloy metals. It will produce galvanic intergranular corrosion along the pencil line, possibly resulting in a crack. The FAA prohibits the use of pencil marking on all types of aircraft alloys. That also applies to using powder graphite lubricants.

The carbon soot that forms from combustion is a combination of pure carbon and unburned hydrocarbons. It isn't hydrophilic so it doesn't attract moisture and doesn't promote corrosion.

I should point out that soot and graphite are allotropes of carbon and have different properties.

Steve Steven
11-16-2011, 10:07 PM
Norfolk Naval Shipyard had a requirement, still on the books, that any cell phone could not have a capability of taking pictures. The instruction directed to "drill out with 1/2" drill" the lens!

Pete F
11-16-2011, 10:11 PM
Some semiconductor fabs are so careful about security that they tape up all the ports on your laptop, confiscate it if the seal is broken, and only allow 4 pieces of paper to take notes on. Kind of tough if you need to send a debug log to one of the software guys (like me).

-Pete

gmatov
11-17-2011, 12:04 AM
Went to get an aluminum condensor on an Audi welded by the only man suggested to do that, near me. I'd pressurized it and circled the leaks with a pencil. He was pissed. NEVER put graphite near an aluminum weld. Scratched the hell out of it with a SS wire brush before he would weld it

That probably cost me extra.

Cheers,

George

darryl
11-17-2011, 01:19 AM
Hmm. Now I want to get some graphite and get it all over some aluminum. :)

Doc Nickel
11-17-2011, 02:36 AM
t was mentioned, and I think many people were surprised to hear this, that ball point pens are not allowed in the plant, here is the kicker....... because there is a chance that the pen may contaminate the titanium.

-The news report got it wrong. It's felt tip pens that are banned.

Ben Rich wrote about it in his book on the Skunk Works. Early in the development of what became the SR-71, they had some issues with the titanium cracking.

The problem was eventually traced to the felt tip pens that the workers used to mark parts as they were being made- something about a chlorine compound, as I recall.

Doc.

Bmyers
11-17-2011, 06:46 AM
-The news report got it wrong.

Doc.

Nope,
I have been in a Titanium plant in Canton Ohio and the policy was No Ball Point Pens

loose nut
11-17-2011, 08:25 AM
The refinery were I work has some Titanium heat exchangers ($$$$$$$$$$$$$$ and then some), we are not allowed to use regular steel tools on them, only special tools just for them.
Steel contact is suppose to cause severe corrosion.:eek:
I don't know why:confused:

justanengineer
11-17-2011, 09:13 AM
I should hope that any company using a sizeable amount of titanium would have special rules created for reasons people outside that company would not understand or think crazy - Its not typically a material used large quantity in low stress or common applications.

Regarding cell phones and/or cameras in industry - To quote your children/grandchildren, "DUHH!!" The corporation I work for (and many others) has had a policy against camera usage on site, except in specific areas, without a "camera pass" for decades. Its caused by this "new" occurence where someone steals trade secrets, and pays a company in Asia to use them to create a cheaper product without significant engineering investment. My company also recently went to a policy that requires plant workers to keep cell phones in their lockers to decrease distractions and prevent accidents...which coincidentally also prevents picture taking. Basically, if you get seen with the phone out, and its not during shift change going from pocket to locker...youre done.

When I was still in the military there were quite a few areas where, if caught with a cell phone you would instantly be detained and FBI/CIA/IG would be called with no exceptions.

garagemark
11-17-2011, 10:16 AM
May be a tad OT, but strange nonetheless.

I worked in a plant that made the plastic sheeting used between automobile windshields to prevent shattering (no company name here). The tinting ink used for the sun shading strip at the top of the windshield was (eventually) found to cause testicular cancer in men. We were only allowed in the tinting areas for very brief periods of time, and only women were permitted to actually work in there.

914Wilhelm
11-17-2011, 10:38 AM
Nope,
I have been in a Titanium plant in Canton Ohio and the policy was No Ball Point Pens

If the balls of ball point pens are carbide maybe the real issue is the ball scoring the titanium causing a stress riser.

Black_Moons
11-17-2011, 01:21 PM
May be a tad OT, but strange nonetheless.

I worked in a plant that made the plastic sheeting used between automobile windshields to prevent shattering (no company name here). The tinting ink used for the sun shading strip at the top of the windshield was (eventually) found to cause testicular cancer in men. We were only allowed in the tinting areas for very brief periods of time, and only women were permitted to actually work in there.

Hahhahahah, nice sound solution....

gvasale
11-17-2011, 02:02 PM
any silicone in a hand cream will Fup a paint job by someone handling the parts. Silicone sprays can do the same thing if the air goes into room where pait is applied.

boslab
11-17-2011, 03:12 PM
any silicone in a hand cream will Fup a paint job by someone handling the parts. Silicone sprays can do the same thing if the air goes into room where pait is applied.
the old fashioned solution to silicone reaction was cyclohexane, trouble was you would end up stoned when spraying with the additive [ fruity with pear drops aka headache in a bottle]
mark

lynnl
11-17-2011, 04:37 PM
Regarding titanium, I was in the shop where my son in law works a few months back, and he showed me 3 or 4 blocks of titanium they got in for a project. These were about 4" thick, and maybe 30" X 42". Somewhere around 800 lbs, with a price tag up in the high 5 figures ...each!

He said when they finished the machining the finished item would weigh something like 20 or 25lbs. The rest would be in the chip trays. Arrggh!

You can probably guess the client. (hint: think missile/rocket component)

Evan
11-17-2011, 05:48 PM
That is where the concern for tiny ball shaped inclusion comes in. The melting point of tungsten is way higher than titanium.



Hahhahahah, nice sound solution....

Unless you are a cross dresser... :rolleyes:

boslab
11-17-2011, 06:28 PM
from what i remember W in Ti makes a far more heat resitant inclusion [a metallic inclusion as opposed to the Non aka NMI ] causes brittle rupture of the Ti, aka stress raiser, oooh not good great big cracks ensue, very nasty if you happen to be pushing Ti to the edge, graphite cause Titanium carbo nitride, also a hard percipertate on grain boundries.
this is all from memory however so a check may be warrented as to the exact mechanism of the process, Carbon diffusion from graphite or from steel in contact with the Ti is known, this usually occurs above the lower critical limit, even the moulds that samples are taken with have been known to cause an big old fashioned cock up as the carbon diffuses from mould to sample
regards
mark

Black Forest
11-18-2011, 01:22 AM
I read somewhere but do not remember where that in one place the people were not allowed any type of personal hygene spays or perfumes. NO deo, no perfume, no hairspray, nix nada.

Personally I think it would stink to work there!

Black_Moons
11-18-2011, 06:27 AM
Black Forest: More then likey enacted because one of the (Likey female) employes DID stink... Of perfume!

Some women put it on so heavy you'd think they where covering up raw sewage. And some people are allergic or nasuated by the smell. My friend refuses to even go into shoppers drug mart because they put all the purfume by the entrence and it stinks.

I have smelled the odd perfume that sends me into a sneezing fit untill the person goes away.

vpt
11-18-2011, 07:46 AM
Lots of body shops don't allow any cleaners/solutions (besides paint solutions) in the shop because of reactions it can cause to the paint.

I as well hate heavy perfume users. I will tell them strait out that they stink.

thewrench
11-19-2011, 11:42 AM
I know a guy who worked in the casting industry and used to cast titanium. He was telling me one day about a French jet liner thay crashed in the early 90's I think? Well the cause of the crash was the fan in the jet engine broke apart. The cause of the falure was traced to a ball from a ballpoint pen that caused an inclusion in the casting. Since that time any casting shop that casts titanium doesn't allow ball point pens.

Jaakko Fagerlund
11-19-2011, 12:32 PM
I know a guy who worked in the casting industry and used to cast titanium. He was telling me one day about a French jet liner thay crashed in the early 90's I think? Well the cause of the crash was the fan in the jet engine broke apart. The cause of the falure was traced to a ball from a ballpoint pen that caused an inclusion in the casting. Since that time any casting shop that casts titanium doesn't allow ball point pens.
How the heck one even can get a ball point pen (or the ball from it) in to the casting other than delibaretly throwing it in the mix?

boslab
11-19-2011, 12:38 PM
Apart from ball pens women in ali plants cause a problem with fingerprints on the metal, gloves are generally to protect the metal, the females were fount to have more corrosive sweat at certain times of the month, i kid you not, very corrosive bodily fluids! i pissed myself when i saw alien! acid for blood, the wife already has that! [i met her in an ali extruders fabrication shop lol] always thought there was somthing odd about women!
mark

Evan
11-19-2011, 12:38 PM
How the heck one even can get a ball point pen (or the ball from it) in to the casting other than delibaretly throwing it in the mix?

Ever drop something in the shop and have it disappear into a hyperdimensional space warp? That's how.

Jaakko Fagerlund
11-19-2011, 05:40 PM
Ever drop something in the shop and have it disappear into a hyperdimensional space warp? That's how.
A-ha, I knew it that it is my old wrench in that chinese lathe casting! :D

Mcostello
11-19-2011, 09:31 PM
Just wait until you hit an old Buick hydraulic lifter that did not fully melt! :) Thats what we call them.

jnissen
11-19-2011, 10:25 PM
I read somewhere but do not remember where that in one place the people were not allowed any type of personal hygene spays or perfumes. NO deo, no perfume, no hairspray, nix nada.

Personally I think it would stink to work there!


Yes. In the clean rooms it's no deodorant, makeup or perfume. The aluminum powders in some deodorants can cause defects. Most of the critical processing steps are now inside machines and even though your inside a clean room there still is no handling of the wafers. When you realize just how small many of the transistors are you realize that a single particle of dust is like a boulder. With millions and millions of transistors in a single large chip all it takes is one defect to cause you to scrap the device. Near zero margin for error.

They keep the cool air constantly moving in the clean rooms and it's being filtered constantly so there is not an issue with body odor or sweating. Again you will not find cleaner air anywhere.

Evan
11-19-2011, 10:55 PM
Most class 1 clean rooms don't allow you to shower or bathe the morning you enter the facility. Bathing frees up body particles. You shed far fewer after you have a chance to replace body oils.

RandyZ
11-20-2011, 10:54 AM
Apart from ball pens women in ali plants cause a problem with fingerprints on the metal, gloves are generally to protect the metal, the females were fount to have more corrosive sweat at certain times of the month, i kid you not, very corrosive bodily fluids! i pissed myself when i saw alien! acid for blood, the wife already has that! [i met her in an ali extruders fabrication shop lol] always thought there was something odd about women!
mark

I had an uncle that was involved in some secret electronics work in England during the last war. He never said much about his work, but one thing he did say though. They were having women hand roll the aluminum foil to assemble capacitors. They were having sporadic problems with the capacitors failing in service. After a while they finally traced it to the above monthly condition.

boslab
11-20-2011, 01:58 PM
I had an uncle that was involved in some secret electronics work in England during the last war. He never said much about his work, but one thing he did say though. They were having women hand roll the aluminum foil to assemble capacitors. They were having sporadic problems with the capacitors failing in service. After a while they finally traced it to the above monthly condition.
i'd put mony on the fact he was working for HDA [high duty alloys of slough] most dismiss this as being sexist but its true! [hiderminium and RR alloys, inc 'Duralamin' and the copper loaded alloys [artificial age hardening ofset by refrigeration]
regards
glad i'm not mad
mark
[most of the classified stuff is now declassified but i still had to sign on the dotted line [[official secrets act]]

projectnut
11-20-2011, 05:40 PM
I heard that 40 years ago concerning the aircraft I worked on in the Navy. I was told that graphite in the afterburner could cause the afterburner to crack. Seemed kinda strange to me, as the afterburners always had a layer of soot from the jet fuel on the inside.

About cameras, many of the automakers and auto parts suppliers confiscate cameras and camera phones while we visit their facilities. Paranoid, but for good reason.

Not allowing cameras on the premises is standard policy in many industries. I worked for the engineering department of a major meat processing company. We designed and built processing and packaging machinery. Originally we patented hundreds of machine and component designs. We soon learned that the competition scoured the patent files to get information on our latest machines.

After going through several long and protracted lawsuits we decided to discontinue the patent process and keep the designs proprietory. That meant no cameras, no cell phones, and no recording equipment of any kind in the engineering department, associated shops or production areas. It worked extremely well. By the time the competition got wind of a new generation of machinery it was already obsolete.

Iraiam
11-20-2011, 10:29 PM
Not allowing cameras on the premises is standard policy in many industries. I worked for the engineering department of a major meat processing company. We designed and built processing and packaging machinery. Originally we patented hundreds of machine and component designs. We soon learned that the competition scoured the patent files to get information on our latest machines.

After going through several long and protracted lawsuits we decided to discontinue the patent process and keep the designs proprietory. That meant no cameras, no cell phones, and no recording equipment of any kind in the engineering department, associated shops or production areas. It worked extremely well. By the time the competition got wind of a new generation of machinery it was already obsolete.

HA! I always wondered about that, I can search a seemingly endless supply of patents online, I was considering applying for a patent or two, I didn't because I did not want my ideas listed with all the others at the patent office.

Dr Stan
11-20-2011, 10:51 PM
Many industries have what others would consider "weird" rules. I'm a supervisor in the litho dept of a cap manufacturer (think jelly jars, pickle jars, pasta sauce, etc). Nothing is to be carried in a shirt pocket, not even a pen due to possible contamination of the product. If a pen or other foreign object is mixed in with caps at the food processor it will seriously muck up the machinery along with causing a FDA concern. Even ear plugs must be attached with their string to reduce their chance of falling into the product.

Your Old Dog
11-20-2011, 10:54 PM
I think all these bans are used more effectively to put the employees on notice of the extreme caution that must be adhered to in working with these products.

darryl
11-20-2011, 11:57 PM
A friend once worked in a food canning place. She was on the tomato line for a time, and there were a series of workers along the line. For a few of them, the job was to pick out foreign - things. Some obviously had to pick out rotten or otherwise spoiled tomatoes, but some had to pick out dirt, splinters, and spiders. They were apparently ok with the dirt and splinters, but they let the spiders pass. Yummy.

In a sense that would have also been hard on the cutters- those whose jobs were to half the tomatoes before they went in the can.

pturner
11-21-2011, 12:27 AM
I used to work in the R&D dept of a foundry when I was in college. One of my jobs was to mix two coatings together, so as to produce a mix with Mica which we believed no one used in iron foundries (a pure mica coating wouldn't work.) There was quite a bit of secrecry involved. I would come in on the weekend and move the drums of mica coating into a locked room, stripping off the label. The Mica coating came from another nearby shop with no guards, and our guards didn't check things coming into the foundry. The empty drums would leave the foundry in my truck (I told the guard (same guard intentionaly) I was stealing them, that was easier than arrousing his suspicions.) The door got locked with a Medeco padlock, and I had a big water line to wash away any evidence if there was a spill.

No one knew it, but I usually did the mixing on the weekend because it was easy to get a forklift, and there was no nosey people arround. But I often had coating on my shirt from other R&D work. So one month we have a bunch of foreigners in the plant that we were doing a technology transfer. I was told to anwer any questions, but we were not releasing the coating formula. It was well known that I was the guy who made voodoo (nickname for the coating), and even the superentendants didn't have access to it. So one of the guys tells me how much he likes my coveralls, that he wished he had a pair. Innocently, I tell him where to buy. He offers to buy mine for $100. I sold them. I wonder what kind of lab they sent them too. While there were probally traces of the Voodoo, there were no traces of the pure ingreadients, and if they wanted dried Voodoo, it was everywhere. From some of my own work, I knew how hard it was to reverse engineer coatings. I went out drinking with them a few times, and tried to find out what they found out, but they would never admit to anything, but wouldn't deny it either.

18 months latter, a company started marketing gray iron wash coatings with mica, and that ended our secret.

To tie this into HSM, to make the coatings, I started two big air mixers, and let them mix the coatings for 30 minutes. During that time, I'd go to the pattern shop and play on the bridgeports. Built me a nice blacksmithing cone mandral out of foam, and cast it in ductile iron. Built a wood lathe headstock and tail stock out of foam and cast them. Sometimes I'd sort through a thousand tons of scrap with a bridge crane to find "good stuff". I worked for at least a few hours every weekend for 2 years.

Evan
11-21-2011, 02:00 AM
When I worked for Xerox there were a number of things that I wasn't supposed to talk about, and I didn't. Some are probably still supposed to be kept quiet and a couple of items are probably still classified. However, Xerox missed a major paperwork item when they hired me. The never asked me to sign a non-disclosure agreement. Quite a few years later someone figured that out so they sent me one to sign. I never got around to doing that and they somehow forgot about it too so I never did sign one. When I quit they demanded I sign one as well as a non-competitive agreement and I told them to stick it. They weren't paying me severance since I simply quit. They tried to withhold my last paycheck until I complained to the labour dept. They threatened to audit Xerox's employment records and Xerox paid up.

One of the things I wasn't supposed to talk about was the security measures built into the colour copiers to make it possible to track counterfeit money. There were many rumours that there were such measures and just as many denials and dismissals of the entire idea. The first colour copiers were introduced in 1975 and proved to be a problem because they did a good enough job to make decent copies of money.

The Treasury Dept demanded that Xerox develop some system of tracking what machine was used to make a copy by serial number and it had to be on every copy. It had to be invisible and it was a very closely guarded secret to prevent counterfeiting. As far as I know nobody ever stumbled on the truth for many years. I was trained on nearly every product that Xerox produced up to the late 90s so I know how the system worked.

This was a very difficult problem to solve. How the heck do you make marks on paper that can't be seen but can easily be seen if you know how? It turns out at about that time Xerox had just invented the blue argon gas laser and it was being used in the first commercial digital laser printers at about 1980. The colour copiers use 3 colours, cyan, magenta and yellow plus black. The signature didn't have to work with everything, just with images of money so that made the job a little easier. Further, money has a blank border and that made it even easier.

What they did was compound the yellow toner so that it contained not just yellow pigment but also a chemical that fluoresced strongly when illuminated with the exact wavelength of light produced by a blue argon laser, 488nm.

The serial number was encoded by relatively widely spaced binary numbers encoded as a pattern of single pixel yellow dots. The yellow on white doesn't show up very well at all unless it has heavy coverage and single yellow pixels are entirely invisible even under good magnification UNLESS they are illuminated with a blue argon laser. Then they stand out like tiny LEDS all over the copy. The unavailability of blue argon lasers combined with the near impossibility of seeing the codes and the simple perceived impossibility of marking paper invisibly made for a very secure system.

I have never bothered to see if there are any patents on the system because the patents are probably classified for national security reasons. National security comes into play because one of the ways to destabilize a goverment is to flood it with counterfeit money. It isn't just the US that matters in this case because there are many underdeveloped countries that use US dollars as the default currency regardless of what the official currency is.

Frank46
11-21-2011, 02:33 AM
I used to work in a liquified natural gas facility (LNG) and we were required to use non sparking tools in certain areas. Non sparking usually meant brass or bronze to eliminate any sparks that could cause a fire or explosion. Frank

loose nut
11-21-2011, 09:16 AM
When I worked for Xerox there were a number of things that I wasn't supposed to talk about, and I didn't. Some are probably still supposed to be kept quiet and a couple of items are probably still classified. .

Why did they care what you gave away when the management gave the mouse, GUI, the office intranet and the WYSIWUG display and printer output (basically all the Macintosh computer tech.) to Steve Jobs.

Evan
11-21-2011, 09:37 AM
Because the government told them to care. Xerox techs outside the USA also worked as spies for the CIA.

pturner
11-21-2011, 10:58 AM
I have never bothered to see if there are any patents on the system because the patents are probably classified for national security reasons. National security comes into play because one of the ways to destabilize a goverment is to flood it with counterfeit money. It isn't just the US that matters in this case because there are many underdeveloped countries that use US dollars as the default currency regardless of what the official currency is.

You can't clasify stuff like this, it has to be directly related to national security or defense, or there is a whole seperate system for nuclear weapons information. Anything else can be protected from disclosure, you can make people sign NDAs, even with criminal penalties in some cases, but the info itself isn't classified. So if Evan comes into possession of the info, and he didn't sign an NDA, isn't a government employee, officer of the court, etc, he can blab all he wants. If the info were clasified distributing it would be illegal. This stuff is typically called names like Security Sensitive Information (SSI), Sensitive but Unclassified (SBU), Unclasified Nuclear Informatrion (UNCI), etc. While I don't doubt there is abuse, does anyone think we should e releasing the location of security gaurds in a nuclear power plant (UNCI) details of misison critical IP networks (SBU) or the drawings for a security system at a critical government facility (SSI). Bush Jr tried to simplify this, Obama canceled Bush's plan and made his own, and the next president will probally fail as well.

Black_Moons
11-21-2011, 11:13 AM
Because the government told them to care. Xerox techs outside the USA also worked as spies for the CIA.

Ah, Heres the problem! top secret document was jamming up the copyer. Funny, this copyer seems to jam up every time someone stuffs a document labeled top secret in it! *pockets paper jam* We'll have it up and running in no time!

Evan
11-21-2011, 12:54 PM
You can't clasify stuff like this, it has to be directly related to national security or defense...

I know precisely what you mean, technically, as I used to have a clearance relating to nuclear weapons when I was in the US Army. Really though, what you explain is a classification system anyway. Also, there is a system of "classifying" patents to prevent public disclosure. I don't know the details of it but it does exist.

As for techs working for the CIA (and the FBI in the USA), it was a lot more than just picking up documents that were jammed. The one person that was routinely allowed access to all embassies around the world regardless of security restrictions during the cold war was the Xerox rep. That included all the East bloc countries, especially Russia. Even friendly countries were under this surveillance including Canada. The training was provided by agents at XICTMD (Xerox International Center for Training and Management Development) in Leesburg, Virginia which was conveniently close to Langley, Virginia and the Pentagon. I have been to the Center for training numerous times over the years I worked for Xerox. The Center also provided training for upper echelon military command personnel.

While it was a very covert operation at the time it has long since been declassified. A special camera was developed that looked like an ordinary power supply component for the very large and bulky Xerox machines of the time. The copiers contained a camera equipped with a pinhole lens and roll of 8mm film that took a photo of every document copied on the machine. During routine service of the machine that "part" would be changed by the Xerox tech if the copy meter reading indicated it needed changing. Since back then all Xerox equipment was leased all parts belonged to Xerox.

It was a very successful intelligence operation and was never discovered. It provided huge amounts of highly secret information, especially the identities, locations of and information gathered by agents of the USSR. Being a Xerox tech is a real fly on the wall job as you have access to offices of all levels of corporations and governments.

Here in Canada the fact that I had a clearance in the past was handy for Xerox because it made it easy to clear me for access to one particularly sensitive military installation at CFB Esquimalt in Victoria. Esquimalt was/is responsible for monitoring the underwater hydrophone network called SOSUS. Since the end of the cold war it has been declassified also. The Canadian Forces Base at Esquimalt monitored the Strait of Jaun de Fuca which was the primary entrance for submarines into Puget Sound. I had responsibility for the Xerox equipment there as well as on the Canadian Frigates based on the west coast.

macona
11-21-2011, 03:30 PM
Why did they care what you gave away when the management gave the mouse, GUI, the office intranet and the WYSIWUG display and printer output (basically all the Macintosh computer tech.) to Steve Jobs.


Not quite. Apple bought access to it though a stock deal:

http://www.mac-history.net/the-history-of-the-apple-macintosh/rich-neighbour-with-open-doors-apple-and-xerox-parc

Evan, Hughes invented the Argon laser in '64.

Evan
11-21-2011, 05:15 PM
Could well be but Xerox did something significant relating to the argon laser. I was told that Xerox had invented it at PARC. Perhaps it was making it last for hundreds of hours. They were pretty cool toys back in 1981. It could be tuned up to about 0.2 watts.

Re that link:


However, this marvelous machine (computer) was not freely available on the market. Approximately 1500 units had been produced, 1000 of which Xerox employed in-house; the rest went to universities and public authorities.

Heh. "public authorities" means the Pentagon. I toured PARC extensively in the late 70s. What a cool place! I sure would have liked working there.

That article has a very large glaring error and that is the complete omission of the role that Alan Kay played in the transfer of Xerox technology to Apple. Alan Kay was one of the founding members of PARC and after some years basically walked off with everything to become an Apple Fellow.


(Alan Kay) One of the founders of the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, (PARC) he led one of the several groups that together developed modern workstations (and the forerunners of the Macintosh), Smalltalk, the overlapping window interface, Desktop Publishing, the Ethernet, Laser printing, and network "client-servers."

http://edge.org/memberbio/alan_kay

macona
11-21-2011, 05:51 PM
Xerox was the one to put them in the laser printers. Thats where the abundance of the ALC 60X argon heads and the gold box power supplies came from. They were all the rage before the high power DPSS lasers killed the argon market. I still have a good sized argon head in my garage. Someday I will come up with a power supply for it. I think it needs 200vdc @ 10amps constant current plus filament power.

The old 60X's would do about 200mw multimode at the expense of lifetime and a risk of blowing the power supplies. The "gold box" power supplies did not like to run past 9 amps tube current.