Manufacturing AUTOMATION

Automation Rendez-vous to emphasize need for networking to survive

September 9, 2009
By Manufacturing AUTOMATION

It’s time for Canadian manufacturers to “take a leap of faith,” say industry experts and organizers of Automation Rendez-vous 2009. A two-day technical conference co-located with the Canadian Manufacturing Technology Show 2009, Automation Rendez-vous 2009 will be held at the Direct Energy Centre in Toronto from October 20-21.

“This has been a very scary and unpredictable economic time, but it’s also an opportunity to look around, really examine how we operate, and uncover ways to be stronger together,” says Shelley Fellows, Vice-President, Operations at Windsor, Ontario-based Radix Inc., and a panelist – along with Sylvain Rodier, President of Brossard, Quebec-based” IMAC Inc. – who will kick off the conference with a look at collaborative partnerships as a way to survive in a tough economy.

“The old model of ‘everyone is in it for themselves and if you’re not a customer, you’re a competitor,’ isn’t enough anymore,” says Fellows. “By banding together with other companies who understand our business and have complementary skills, and by working together in a collaborative and trusting manner, we can be more successful in meeting the needs of our customers.”

Fellows will share her company’s experience as one of four companies forming the CAPX Team, a collaboration of custom automation companies located in the Windsor/Essex county area that was facilitated by the National Research Council’s (NRC) Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) program and includes Radix, Landau Gage Inc., Ro-matt International Inc. and NextDimension Inc. Through a strategic alliance, the companies are aiming to cost-effectively expand their current customer base as well as tap into new markets outside of the automotive industry, such as aerospace, energy, and food and beverage.


“You can forge into new areas and get your toes wet, but sometimes you need a larger presence behind you to show customers you can be counted on,” says Fellows, noting that customers no longer want to deal with two to four companies individually, but prefer a single point of contact like the one made possible by CAPX.

“This is the first time we are bringing Automation Rendez-vous 2009 to Ontario to run alongside the Canadian Manufacturing Technology Show,” says Mark Tomlinson, Executive Director and General Manager of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), organizers of both the Automation Rendez-vous 2009 conference and CMTS 2009. Noting that the conference originated in Quebec, he explained: “With its strong focus on advanced technologies and automation, and emphasis on networking opportunities, it is the perfect vehicle to promote collaboration within our industrial sector.”

The opening panel discussion featuring the CAPX Team, along with a similar alliance in Montreal called REAI – headed by IMAC Inc.’s Sylvain Rodier – is slated for October 20 from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and will be moderated by Jean-Claude Brisson of NRC-IRAP.

Additional conference highlights include:

· “Black Holes, Nanotechnology and Chocolate,” a keynote presentation by Dick Morley, best known as the father of the programmable logic controller (PLC) and the founder of R. Morley Inc. (RMI), October 21, 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.” Morley will explore the physics of the black hole as the key to understanding our changing world, especially in the burgeoning international engineering environment, and will explain how developing a culture of innovation, designing value without adding cost, and strengthening relationships are critical to establishing the right foundation for success.

· A series of 24 concurrent technical presentations, with topics ranging from robotics, machine vision and just-in-time delivery, to ways to increase automation safety, boost productivity and eliminate the manufacturing bottleneck. Attendees will learn more about the latest innovations in Canadian manufacturing, including digital techniques that help to reduce the likelihood of mistakes early on in the manufacturing process, three-dimensional vision equipment that is being used to lower production costs, and high-speed inspection systems that are helping to avoid costly labelling mistakes in the food and beverage industry.

· Rendez-vous Resource Centre, a focused networking area featuring table top exhibits as a cost-effective way for vendors to meet with manufacturers looking for innovative industrial solutions. Featured vendors include Centerline Windsor Ltd., Corporation SPG Data 3D, and WAT Solutions.

“As Canadian businesses seek to survive the challenges of the recent economic downturn, more focus is being placed on diversification and expanding market share, and one way to do that is through collaboration,” says SME’s Tomlinson. “The Automation Rendez-vous conference provides an excellent forum for Canadian businesses to explore best practices, discover the latest in technology and leverage new connections as they look to streamline manufacturing processes, cut costs and speed time to market.”

The industries represented at Automation Rendez-vous 2009 include: automotive, aerospace, aeronautics, agri food, solar energy, construction, consumer products, medical, pharmaceutical and lumber. The conference is being held by SME in collaboration with the National Research Council, the Industrial Research Centre of Quebec, and the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME) association.

Media are invited to attend all Automation Rendez-vous 2009 sessions and exhibits. For program details, please visit

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