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Author Topic: Business idea (Off-Topic, but looking for feedback)  (Read 4157 times)
Rassah
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February 27, 2012, 04:21:33 AM
 #1

Anyone remember this crazy thing? https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=50362.0

I mentioned I was going to post another legitimate business idea that also costs about $350,000 to start, but have been putting it off for months. Well, finally, here it is. It isn't Bitcoin related, though if I do start it, manufacturing will cost millions and will be done globally, and I'll obviously push Bitcoin for payments at every opportunity. In the mean time, I am NOT LOOKING FOR DONATIONS, but I AM looking for criticism. If you any of you guys know any SA goons, call them over as well. I need this thing ripped apart, mercilessly, as much as possible before I take it to a venture capitalist meeting. ATLAS and the rest, feel free to take note on how a business plan gets developed.
(I also have a second business idea that uses this same tech that I'll want some feedback on, but I'll let this one get some feedback first)

Quote
Elevator Pitch

The internet is a great network for delivering digital goods, but we don’t quite have such a system for physical goods. We do have major distribution centers that physical goods reroute through, like data through a hub, but the roads, the “wires” that deliver those goods, are horribly inefficient. My idea is for Maglev-based, on-demand, super-fast, fully automated transport lines between major distribution centers of major retailers. The initial market will be a large retailer, like Wal-Mart, but once the lines are expanded throughout a larger region, using Wal-Mart’s automated centers the system could supplement or replace any goods delivery system for any outside client, even personal package delivery, by having packages bounce from hub to hub. This system will be much faster than any other delivery system (Maglev trains travel at over 350mph), is fully automated, not subject to driver fatigue or delays, is very cheap to power and maintain, and can be much smaller and cheaper to build than roads and current train lines.

Specifics

My idea involves my new patented Maglev technology, which allows trains to move on special tracks very quickly without contact and very few moving parts. I got my idea after learning more in depth about Wal-Mart’s fully automated distribution centers, which, with my IT background, reminded me of a digital network, with the centers working like network hubs. My idea is to supplement those hubs with “wires” for physical goods, using the Maglev platform. It would work like a conveyor system between distribution centers that can quickly transport merchandise across the country, relaying it from center to center. The distribution centers are already fully automated and can move packages within the center from one train to another. The Maglev system itself is fully automated and very efficient. Due to that, this idea can be a paradigm shift from the idea that we need bigger and bigger trucks, trains, and ships to transport cargo efficiently. Instead, using this system it would be possible to use small, individual train cars that carry boxes ranging from a refrigerator to a car, and are sent out onto the automated track only when needed, with only the amount that is needed. The initial development could be in central USA, where two distribution centers are separated by a large amount of desert or other cheap land.

Maglev Technology

The MAGLEV system to be used is one invented by my grandfather Dr. Tozoni (Patent No. 8047138). It uses permanent magnets on the train cars, and steel and aluminum rails. The system is entirely mechanically self-stabilizing, requiring no electronic or computer components. Due to the mechanical simplicity of this system, all of this system’s parameters can be calculated mathematically, and thus it can be customized to any requirements using computer software before construction even begins. I have been able to use a computer program to calculate costs for this design. A single train car able to lift 10 tons will cost approximately $89,000. A single mile of rail will cost approximately $5,000,000. This cost is comparable to a new transport truck (estimated cost of around $80,000), and is cheaper than road construction (one mile of road can cost as much as $15mil). A small scale test model will cost $370,000 to develop. Once constructed, the train cars are fully automated, able to move at speeds of up to 350Mph, and adjust speeds without any outside input. The power required for this train is lower than that of wheeled trains, and this system uses regenerative braking, providing for even more power savings.

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Phinnaeus Gage
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February 27, 2012, 04:31:45 AM
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I love the idea, Rassah.

Since you allowed us to play SA Advocate--EPA!

~Bruno~
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February 27, 2012, 04:54:04 AM
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Very, very ambitious project. I doubt it would succeed, even if a big corporation tried it.

- Is this actually a problem? How much money can a Wall-Mart store save by using your system instead of their current system?
- Getting approval for this from governments will be a nightmare, especially with automated vehicles. Every town you have to go through will object to your rails.
- Why hasn't anyone done this already if it's so good?
- Your scheme is more like traditional rail than road transport. But traditional rail traffic has been declining (AFAIK). If businesses decreasingly value traditional rail's improved economy and speed, your system may not appeal to them.

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February 27, 2012, 05:01:21 AM
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Very, very ambitions project. I doubt it would succeed, even if a big corporation tried it.

- Is this actually a problem? How much money can a Wall-Mart store save by using your system instead of their current system?
- Getting approval for this from governments will be a nightmare, especially with automated vehicles. Every town you have to go through will object to your rails.
- Why hasn't anyone done this already if it's so good?
- Your scheme is more like traditional rail than road transport. But traditional rail traffic has been declining (AFAIK). If businesses decreasingly value traditional rail's improved economy and speed, your system may not appeal to them.
Not only that, but the corporation(s) that implement such a thing would be paying to develop the networks themselves, instead of the governments building superhighway systems for them - since such a thing is so specialized, and wouldn't be useable for everyone.

I would like to see more Maglev based rail transport in the US though.

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February 27, 2012, 05:08:46 AM
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...since such a thing is so specialized, and wouldn't be useable for everyone.

Hence, a perfect governmental subsidized project.
Rassah
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February 27, 2012, 05:16:49 AM
 #6

Very, very ambitions project. I doubt it would succeed, even if a big corporation tried it.

Agreed. It's one hell of a long shot.


Quote
- Is this actually a problem? How much money can a Wall-Mart store save by using your system instead of their current system?

The construction will cost A LOT, but once it's running, the following issues will be eliminated:
High cost of gas
trucking taxes (heavy trucks ruin highways, and thus have to pay extra taxes)
truck driver salaries and benefits
most maintenance costs (there are two moving parts on this whole system)
issues with traffic congestion and driver fatigue, with this thing being able to send stuff 24/7
waiting to fully load a truck before sending it out so as not to waste space
100 mile trip will take 20 minutes instead of 1 hour 50 minutes.

The costs for running this thing is essentially just the electricity to move frictionless aerodynamic platforms around. So, initial cost will be HUGE ($500mil to $1bil for 100 miles of track), but once the infrastructure is built, it'll be cheaper than anything else available by a longshot.

Quote
- Getting approval for this from governments will be a nightmare, especially with automated vehicles. Every town you have to go through will object to your rails.

My hope is to ask to use the empty space between highways to build the rails, and push this as "green technology" that will help reduce traffic. There will no doubt be resistance, but hopefully more people will support it due to those two aspects. Also, regarding automation, the automaton of the trains is literally physically built into the tracks. To make the train move faster, track components are built a bit further apart, and to make it slow down, they are built closer together. There is nothing to control, and nothing to fail, and if one of the trains stops on the tracks, it will short out the entire system, causing all the trains to stop until they are manually restarted. Also, the rails will be enclosed in cages to keep out people and animals. It will require a lot of explanation and marketing to get people to accept this though.

Quote
- Why hasn't anyone done this already if it's so good?

There are now three types of maglev systems out there, the German electromagnetic one (currently built in Shanghai), Japanese superconducting one, and this one. The other two require sophisticated electronics to keep them stable, thus they weigh A LOT, and cost a lot, too (Shanghai one is about $40mil per mile). The one I want to use is brand new, and was only finished being designed a few years ago. We just got the patent in November. So, in sort, all he previously known maglev systems were prohibitively expensive and complicated.

Quote
- Your scheme is more like traditional rail than road transport. But traditional rail traffic has been declining (AFAIK). If businesses decreasingly value traditional rail's improved economy and speed, your system may not appeal to them.

Agreed. Competing with traditional rail, or eve a modified smaller version of one, will be a challenge. The main differences between my system and traditional rail is much greater speed (350mph vs 60mph), and each train car being self powered as opposed to a single engine pulling as much as it can. My thought is that the huge speed and service-on-demand will be the thing that sets it apart, allowing you to stick a package on a train in one location, and have it bounce around the "hubs" at great speeds, transporting just that one package quickly over great distances. Traditional rail is not able to do this at all due to heavily relying on scheduled transportation and bundling of as much cargo as possible, and trucking is only able to do this slowly and at great cost, by having a separate truck deliver just the one package.

Rassah
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February 27, 2012, 05:18:55 AM
 #7

Not only that, but the corporation(s) that implement such a thing would be paying to develop the networks themselves, instead of the governments building superhighway systems for them - since such a thing is so specialized, and wouldn't be useable for everyone.

My thought is to have this built separately from Walmart, as just my own business (like private rail), and sell the use of it to Walmart or the distribution hub owner. Since this system will be "green" and help reduce truck wear on highways, I am hoping to have it in part funded by government grants, as well as private investors. Once it's built, I can either continue to own and run it privately, renting it's use to Walmart, UPS, FedEx or anyone else who needs to bounce packages around, or sell it to Walmart. The grand idea of this is that some day you'll be able to stop by your local big-box mart or drop-off center, drop off a UPS package, and have it be delivered from NY to LA in about a half a day, or order something from Amazon and pick it up near your house that same afternoon.

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February 27, 2012, 05:28:41 AM
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Also, more specifics on the technology please. My understanding is that permanent magnet based Maglev systems have not been utilized because of the excessive size and weight of the magnets themselves not being economical for use in such an application. How are you solving this?

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Rassah
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February 27, 2012, 05:49:50 AM
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Also, more specifics on the technology please. My understanding is that permanent magnet based Maglev systems have not been utilized because of the excessive size and weight of the magnets themselves not being economical for use in such an application. How are you solving this?

Permanent magnets are actually much smaller and lighter for the same amount of magnetic strength compared to other magnets. Electromagnets require a lot of wire windings around them to create magnetism, and as you increase their power, you generate more heat in the windings, requiring thicker wires. For comparison, a twelve inch diameter electromagnet used in the German maglev electromagnet produces the same amount of attraction as a 3 inch neodymium permanent magnet. Superconducting magnets are even more difficult to compare size-wise, since aside from the windings they also require liquid nitrogen cooling systems (storage tanks, pipes, etc).
The reason permanent magnets have not been used is because, until recently, the only method anyone knew of was the Halbach array. This system works by having the magnets positioned in such a way that they produce repulsive forces in the metallic sheet they glide over. Because repulsive forces from self-generated currents are MUCH weaker than pure attraction of steel to magnet, that system does indeed require huge magnets. Worse, because there is a limit to how fast you can generate those currents in the steel sheet, the halbach maglev is very limited in speed (60mph I think). Going too fast will either result in it overrunning the repulsive currents and falling off, or results is huge vibrations.

This system is a completely new design that hasn't even been thought of by anyone before. In fact, people have been attempting to figure out a way to make a permanent magnet and steel rail system stable for about 40 years, and after constantly failing, abandoned the idea and assumed it was impossible. This system was invented and perfected by my grandfather, who has degrees in both mechanical engineering and electrical engineering, over the course of about 15 years, and uses plain permanent magnets to attract to steel rails, generating opposing currents in the aluminum screens as magnetic insulators. As long as the system is moving above 20mph, it's completely stable as if it's on steel wheels. If you'd like, I can explain the principles of how the system works in detail.

Here's a cutaway view of the rails btw, showing the bottom side corner of the train from the front:

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February 27, 2012, 05:56:36 AM
 #10

aluminum will enable a field.

Where are you using Alum ?

Sorry.. just found the diagram..

Very very very very very very very very expensive..

does this use lenz's law ?

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Rassah
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February 27, 2012, 05:58:40 AM
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aluminum will enable a field.

Where are you using Alum ?

Sorry.. just found the diagram..

Very very very very very very very very expensive..

does this use lenz's law ?

Aluminum is wrapped around the outside and inside of the [ and ] shaped steel rails in the picture above.

It is indeed very very very very expensive, but still cheaper than asphalt believe it or not. The costs I have estimated are based on actual full production estimates I got from a manufacturing company that was ready to build it for us, until our funding got yanked.

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February 27, 2012, 06:01:18 AM
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aluminum will enable a field.

Where are you using Alum ?

Aluminum is wrapped around the outside and inside of the [ and ] shaped steel rails in the picture above.

Lenz's law ?  Are you using it, familiar with it


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Rassah
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February 27, 2012, 06:05:31 AM
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aluminum will enable a field.

Where are you using Alum ?

Aluminum is wrapped around the outside and inside of the [ and ] shaped steel rails in the picture above.

Lenz's law ?  Are you using it, familiar with it


Not sure about lenz's law. Lorentz force, yes. As magnets pass by the steel rails, they generate a current in the steel, which creates eddy currents in the aluminum screens. Those opposing currents "squeeze" the magnetic flux in the steel rails into the rails themselves, not allowing them to escape around the steel, and thus supersaturate the steel rails.

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February 27, 2012, 06:06:53 AM
 #14

aluminum will enable a field.

Where are you using Alum ?

Aluminum is wrapped around the outside and inside of the [ and ] shaped steel rails in the picture above.

Lenz's law ?  Are you using it, familiar with it


Not sure about lenz's law. Lorentz force, yes. As magnets pass by the steel rails, they generate a current in the steel, which creates eddy currents in the aluminum screens. Those opposing currents "squeeze" the magnetic flux in the steel rails into the rails themselves, not allowing them to escape around the steel, and thus supersaturate the steel rails.
I get it. This is thinking outside the box, and I salute the man that was able to put it into action and down on paper.

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February 27, 2012, 06:07:51 AM
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Sorry, checked the paper, yeah, Lentz's law is used.

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February 27, 2012, 06:08:50 AM
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aluminum will enable a field.

Where are you using Alum ?

Aluminum is wrapped around the outside and inside of the [ and ] shaped steel rails in the picture above.

Lenz's law ?  Are you using it, familiar with it


Not sure about lenz's law. Lorentz force, yes. As magnets pass by the steel rails, they generate a current in the steel, which creates eddy currents in the aluminum screens. Those opposing currents "squeeze" the magnetic flux in the steel rails into the rails themselves, not allowing them to escape around the steel, and thus supersaturate the steel rails.

The poles induced on the aluminum would be a problem and counteract the effect your looking for.

I dont think aluminum is the missing link your looking for

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February 27, 2012, 06:09:07 AM
 #17

Living in China I have taken the (AFAIA) only commercial Maglev commuter train (it goes between the airport and the city in Shanghai).

The cost of that rather short line was so expensive that no other Maglev line has been constructed here (and the other high speed trains run nearly as smoothly and not that much slower).

The cost is not due to the trains but the tracks (the accuracy required for Maglev tracks is much greater than for other high speed trains).

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Rassah
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February 27, 2012, 06:12:48 AM
 #18

One question, are we helping you do your homework?

No. This is actually something I have been trying to pursue for a while now (Actually, a different business idea I'll post after this one), but which I've taken a hiatus from for the last year or so. I now found a new avenue to pursue it through, and just want feedback on the idea before I go there.

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These guys are stuck on the German electromagnetic system as if it's the holy grail or something. We tried dealing with them, but, um, screw those guys Sad

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February 27, 2012, 06:16:18 AM
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As magnets pass by the steel rails, they generate a current in the steel, which creates eddy currents in the aluminum screens. Those opposing currents "squeeze" the magnetic flux in the steel rails into the rails themselves, not allowing them to escape around the steel, and thus supersaturate the steel rails.

The poles induced on the aluminum would be a problem and counteract the effect your looking for.

I dont think aluminum is the missing link your looking for

Out of curiosity, what effect did you think we are looking for?
The effect we are looking for in this system is just to supersaturate the steel. Since the steel rails are made of thin stacked sheets a mm or so in thickness, each sheet conducts it's own electric current.

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February 27, 2012, 06:23:19 AM
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One question, are we helping you do your homework?

No. This is actually something I have been trying to pursue for a while now (Actually, a different business idea I'll post after this one), but which I've taken a hiatus from for the last year or so. I now found a new avenue to pursue it through, and just want feedback on the idea before I go there.

Quote

These guys are stuck on the German electromagnetic system as if it's the holy grail or something. We tried dealing with them, but, um, screw those guys Sad

Ok, but industrial regulations the DOT and unions are going to kill you before you ever get off the ground. Have you done any of this research?
Pessimist! Leave him be!

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