Manufacturing AUTOMATION's editorial advisory board discusses the future of manufacturing in Canada during our annual roundtable meeting.
inda Hasenfratz, CEO of the Linamar Corporation, describes how the company is facing the current economic challenges head on during the APMA-AUTO21 conference in Hamilton, Ont.
After reviewing several locations, Everbrite Solar plans to locate its state-of-the-art ultra-high efficiency photovoltaic manufacturing facility in Kingston, Ont. The Toronto-based company is raising $500 million to invest in a highly specialized, robot-controlled manufacturing facility using leading-edge technology in the realm of "thin-film" solar module production.The planned plant will have an annual output of thin-film modules capable of generating 150 MW of clean solar power, and the company says it could generate more than 1,200 direct, indirect and induced "green collar" jobs in the Kingston area."With this next-generation optical and coating technology and mechanized production process," said Everbrite Solar president and CEO Karl Scherre, "generating clean solar power will, at last, be cost-competitive with electricity produced from the burning of fossil fuels."Within just the past three years, solar panel technology has improved in leaps and bounds. Traditional PV modules, composed of solid crystalline material, are being replaced in the market by modules constructed by depositing extremely thin layers of photosensitive materials onto a low-cost backing, such as glass, stainless steel or plastic. These thin-film modules are less costly and more efficient than their predecessors. Since the first generation of thin-film modules became available, researchers have been experimenting with different materials to increase the spectrum of light available for conversion to electricity, and the efficiency of the modules.Everbrite Solar’s "revolutionary" technology surpasses traditional thin-film modules by dramatically increasing the efficiency of the module, lowering costs significantly and eliminating the environmental hazards associated with the earlier generations.The facility isn’t all that’s new: The company will also seek a collaborative research agreement with Queen's University to engage a multi-disciplinary team of researchers "to help ensure that Everbrite continues to be at the forefront of photovoltaic technology." They intend to invest up to $25 million to build an experimental thin-film manufacturing facility to which the Queen's researchers will have access for their studies."Queen's participation in Everbrite Solar’s Kingston research and development community will ensure that the ultra-high efficiency thin-film modules produced by Everbrite will continue to improve and be best in class for quality, efficiency and production costs," Scherre said.By using a broader spectrum of light and thereby producing electricity for more hours daily–even on cloudy days–these modules are ideally suited to the Canadian climate. Demand for solar panels is expected to increase exponentially, and Everbrite is confident that the company will be in a strong position to capitalize on what is expected to be a $50 billion market by 2012."Here in Ontario, having a stable and home-grown supply of solar panels will help the province achieve its goal of shifting more of its electricity production to renewable sources of energy and make Ontario a leader in the field of solar power generation," Scherre said.
Parker Hannifin combined its Motion & Control and Fluid Connectors operations in Canada into one division, the Parker Canada Division. As one united division, the alignment creates both product and technology synergies that will now be easier to capitalize on, which will result in better value and improved service for the customer.The Parker Canada Division has offices in Milton and Grimsby, Ont., Calgary and Montreal. Tony Wyszkowski will become general manager of the new division, with responsibility for hydraulic, pneumatic, electromechanical, fluid connector, filtration and climate-control products and technologies. Previously, he was general manager of the Fluid Connectors Canada Division."This consolidated focus will expedite our growth in Canada by efficiently leveraging the value of Parker within our markets, and at the same time providing an aligned concentration to each of our customers, and potential customers," commented Steve Klepack, vice-president of operations for Parker’s fluid connector group.With annual sales exceeding $10 billion in fiscal year 2009, Parker Hannifin is the world’s leading diversified manufacturer of motion and control technologies and systems, providing precision-engineered solutions for a wide variety of commercial, mobile, industrial and aerospace markets. The company employs approximately 52,000 people in 48 countries around the
GE and FANUC announced that the two companies have agreed to dissolve the GE Fanuc Automation Corp. joint venture. This agreement would allow each company to refocus its investments to grow its existing businesses and pursue its respective core industry expertise. GE and FANUC expect the transaction to be completed by the end of this year, subject to satisfactory customary closing conditions.Established in 1986 by the joint investments of GE and FANUC, GE Fanuc Automation Corp. grew to become a leading high-performance technology company that serves a vast array of industries around the world including the energy, water, consumer packaged goods, government & defense, and telecommunications industries. It delivered hardware and software solutions, services, automation and embedded computing systems; as well as CNC products.
Honeywell has completed the acquisition of the RMG Group (RMG Regel + Messtechnik GmbH and all of its subsidiaries) for approximately US$400 million. The acquisition strengthens Honeywell’s position in the clean energy industry, specifically natural gas." Based in Kassel, Germany, RMG is a leader in natural gas measuring and control products, services and integrated solutions. RMG will be part of Honeywell Process Solutions, a business within Honeywell’s Automation and Control Solutions group. HPS provides automation and control systems, safety systems, simulation technology, wireless technology and integrated facility and process security systems for industrial process manufacturers. RMG aligns strongly with Honeywell’s extensive portfolio of field instrumentation and control solutions."This acquisition brings great value to both Honeywell and RMG customers in the natural gas production supply chain," said Norm Gilsdorf, president of Honeywell Process Solutions. "The integration of RMG products into the Honeywell portfolio enables us to provide more comprehensive solutions that can reduce installed, operating and engineering costs and improve our customers’ performance. In addition, the deal provides significant opportunity to grow within our existing customer bases in both mature and emerging markets around the world."
Manufacturing still matters. That’s the message from organizers of the Canadian Manufacturing Technology Show 2009 (CMTS), where more than 500 manufacturers and distributors prepare to convene at the Direct Energy Centre in Toronto, October 19 to 22, 2009.The event – where Manufacturing AUTOMATION will also be in attendance – will unveil the latest trends in manufacturing innovations and demonstrate how new technological developments can help Canadian manufacturers reinvent themselves on the heels of a recession."Manufacturing is essential to restoring a stagnant economy," said Mark Tomlinson, executive director and general manager of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), which is organizing the four-day event. "Not only is this sector providing good-paying jobs, but it’s also helping to develop the innovations that will keep Canada globally competitive.""That’s not to say the industry is without its challenges," adds Tomlinson. With manufacturing sales hitting record lows across almost all sectors and in all provinces, show organizers are sending out a strong message that Canadian manufacturers need to rethink business strategies and embrace diversification in order to survive."Businesses have to adapt, whether that means collaborating with other companies to create larger corporations capable of tackling tough markets, or transitioning traditional manufacturing processes to take advantage of emerging trends in the energy, aerospace and medical industries," he said, emphasizing that CMTS 2009 conference sessions will provide participants with valuable insight into these opportunities.CMTS is Canada’s definitive showcase for the latest machine tools, automation technologies, metal forming, measurement technologies, tooling solutions, production methods and management strategies. From three-dimensional visualization techniques, nanotechnology and robotics to smart grids, green technologies and rapid prototyping, it provides an in-depth look at technological innovation and the resources businesses need to improve – or reinvent – their manufacturing processes. Highlights include:• A keynote address by Linda Hasenfratz, CEO of Linamar Corp. (Monday, October 19, 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.). A seasoned automotive professional who has played a vital role in growing Linamar sales from $800 million to more than $2.3 billion over the past seven years, Hasenfratz will take a hard look at the future of the automotive industry and its supplier base. She will provide valuable insight into current opportunities in green mobility, and how to adapt automotive processes to take advantage of emerging opportunities in the energy and medical fields.• The CMTS Town Hall Experience (Tuesday, October 20, 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.), an interactive panel discussion on North America’s growing energy manufacturing supply chain featuring representatives from the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA), the Organization of CANDU Industries (OCI), and the Canadian Solar Industry. Attendees will learn everything they need to know about the expanding energy industry, and how to use their own equipment, capabilities and expertise to tap into this growing market.• Small and Medium Sized Manufacturers’ Success Stories – Transitioning to New Industries (Wednesday, October 21, 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.). A panel of representatives who have successfully transitioned their manufacturing operations into new industries shares their experiences and offers valuable lessons learned.• Automation Rendez-Vous 2009 (October 20-21). A technical two-day conference showcasing industrial process improvement technologies, partnership best practices and emerging technologies. Keynote Dick Morley, a consultant with R. Morley Inc. and father of the Programmable Logic Controller (PLC), kicks off the event, Wednesday, October 21, 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m., with an engaging look at "black holes, nanotechnology and chocolate." Morley will demonstrate how emerging technologies, coupled with greater awareness of green benefits and the ongoing advance of the Internet, are shaping a new era in manufacturing where Control, Communications and Automation come together." Exhibitor Showcase, featuring Automaton Cell Live in the Factory Automation Zone, Innovations 2009 and Green Solutions 2009. More than 300 exhibits will be on display, in five key areas: Machine Tools, Metal Forming, Factory Automation, Tooling Supplies and Service, and Measurement Technology and Quality Assurance. New this year, Automation Cell Live offers a firsthand look at industry applications from FANUC Robotics and Lincoln Electric in a smaller footprint than a factory floor, enabling attendees to evaluate and compare advanced equipment on the spot. Also new is Green Solutions 2009, a comprehensive display of vendors offering green solutions for the manufacturing industry and its processes. Other highlights include a look at additional technological innovations at the forefront of Canadian manufacturing, such as 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.For program details, please visit or call (416) 491-7565.
Electrovaya Inc. has announced that Ontario's Premier Dalton McGuinty, along with members of his caucus at a visit of their Toronto-based facilities, will invest up to $16.7 million to support battery research and pre-commercialization activities. "Ontario has the skilled workforce, the positive investment climate and the commitment to innovation to transform new ideas into jobs for Ontario families," McGuinty said. "Together we can develop new and sustainable products that we can market to the world." "We're proud to support a globally competitive technology that creates jobs in right here in Mississauga. By putting more electric vehicles on our roads we can help reduce emissions and protect our sensitive environment for future generations," said Mississauga South MPP Charles Sousa. Sankar Das Gupta, CEO of Electrovaya, said, "The support from the Government of Ontario allows us to accelerate our growth plans and bring our technology to market sooner. We are excited to be adding to our team and increasing our innovation and technology capabilities in Mississauga."
The Government of Canada has announced a contribution to CVD Diamond Corp. from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP) to support an innovative research and development project that will assist in developing technology to improve manufacturing processes that reduce costs and improve efficiency."Our government is committed to building a competitive advantage for the Canadian private sector and supports these leading-edge technology solutions," said MP Joe Preston. "The Government of Canada is investing in science and technology to create jobs, strengthen the economy and improve Canadians' quality of life."This $143,984 contribution will support the London-based company in researching, developing and commercializing state-of-the-art diamond-coating technologies for milling ends and other cutting tools."Investing in science and technology is critical for developing highly skilled people and improving the long-term competitiveness of Canadian firms," said NRC president Pierre Coulombe. "That's why NRC-IRAP is helping innovative Canadian businesses such as CVD Diamond grow stronger, faster and bigger."CVD Diamond's products are used for machining a wide range of materials, including graphite, composites, carbon fibre, fiberglass, ceramics and abrasive aluminum alloys."NRC-IRAP is playing an important role in the success of the company," said Joe Brennan, president and CEO of CVD Diamond. "The financial support we are receiving from NRC-IRAP will help us continue to innovate high-tech solutions for the global marketplace."
Kepware Technologies, a leader in communications for automation, has released its next generation of KEPServerEX, Version 5, available now for OEMs, channel partners and end users. Kepware’s "next-generation communication platform" delivers a new architecture and new features and benefits while retaining a similar look, feel and compatibility with earlier versions of the KEPServerEX. The new architecture is designed for portability – able to be delivered on other than Microsoft run-time environments. It is designed to achieve Microsoft Vista and Server 2008 Logo Compliance. It offers a split Management (configuration) vs. Run-time operation, enabling management at the user level and operation as a service, with the added bonus of Microsoft Terminal Services multi-user support. Finally, KEPServerEX V5 delivers a new licensing and Customer Support model, designed to maximize end user value and packaging flexibility.KEPServerEX is now delivered in the form of vertical suites, "maximizing" cost savings by bundling the most common protocols used in a vertical market under one very cost effective solution." The new suites are IT and Infrastructure Suite (SNMP, Ping, System Monitor, Modbus and UCON drivers); Building Automation Suite (BACnet, Modbus, UCON drivers); Power Distribution Suite (DNP, Modbus, UCON drivers); Oil and Gas Suite (ROC, ROC Plus, Modbus and Modbus like RTU protocols, UCON drivers); and the Manufacturing Suite (a collection of over 100 protocols typically found in manufacturing environments). Protocols may still be purchased separately." All protocols in an installation are supported by one instance of KEPServerEX, one OPC Interface and one Tag Namespace, delivering easy configuration, common diagnostics and the lowest long-term Total Cost of Ownership."This is the next generation of communications technology," explained Tony Paine, executive vice-president and CTO of Kepware Technologies. "Version 5 is the greatest single development effort we have ever undertaken and this is the foundation for many new and powerful features. This will be the platform for our public release of OPC-UA technology. Upcoming releases will deliver Tunneling and Remote Administration. This release also opens up the ability for Kepware to support many more platforms, from Linux to deeply embedded operating systems such as VxWorks, to be used by our many OEM partners.""Kepware has evolved from a supplier of third party drivers to a technology partner capable of delivering the complete communications architecture to their partners and customers. As demonstrated by this next generation product, Kepware’s focus has allowed them to push the envelope of technology while building on years of experience to deliver new features and benefits," explains Craig Resnick, industry analyst for the ARC Advisory Group. "Kepware has demonstrated a deep and continued commitment to delivering value and quality to their customers."
Bosch Rexroth Canada is offering a free Hydraulic Power Press Safety seminar on September 10, 2009. (Bosch Rexroth's future Canadian events are listed in our Calendar.) The seminar will demonstrate how to achieve hydraulic press worker safety that meets exacting regulatory standards, without compromising productivity or cost-effectiveness.Specific regulations, including the Canadian Standards Association Z142-02 Power Press Safety Standard, will be examined in the context of how they apply to individual users’ hydraulic press operations."Bosch Rexroth has a great deal of experience meeting very strict and complex hydraulic press safety standards in Europe over the last couple of decades, which were the basis for the Canadian standards," explains seminar presenter Steve Storoni, industrial hydraulics engineering manager at Bosch Rexroth. "That has given our organization a solid foundation of specialized knowledge in terms of meeting requirements and codes, which we will share with our audience."Specialized safety techniques presented to seminar attendees will include the government-mandated Pre-Start Health and Safety Review procedures and high-level (trended) condition monitoring, including maintenance solutions designed for safe press systems.The seminar will focus on applying specialized systems, principles, techniques, and components to maximize hydraulic press safety and regulatory compliance. Attendees will learn how devices and equipment such as drive and control systems, energy-saving drives, safety circuits and aluminum framing can contribute to a safer environment for press applications.Because safety goals must be met within an environment that also demands high productivity, uptime, and cost-effectiveness, the Bosch Rexroth seminar will emphasize techniques to create safe, compliant machines and processes while maintaining production efficiency.The Hydraulic Power Press Safety seminar is intended for managers, plant engineers, maintenance specialists, machine builder design engineers, PSR consultants which implement solutions, integrators, and end-users in any industry that uses large hydraulic power presses, including automotive, commercial goods, and others.Presentations will be accompanied by simulations of press operations, and attendees are invited to bring schematics for evaluation and discussion as time permits. The seminar takes place from 9 AM to 3 PM, with breakfast and lunch included. Hydraulic press safety is just one of many topics covered in the 2009 Bosch Rexroth seminar series. Other topics include Safe Motion, Hydraulic Maintenance, Lean Manufacturing Principles, and Tier 4 Emissions.To learn more about the Bosch Rexroth 2009 Seminar Series, and to register for the Hydraulic Power Press Safety event, visit
Adept Technology Inc., a provider of intelligent vision-guided robotics, has received a $2.5-million order for vision-guided robots from a leading international consumer electronics manufacturer. The order is expected to be fulfilled and recognized as revenue this first fiscal quarter of 2010.The company selected Adept as to provide high-speed vision-guided robot systems for precision handling and assembly operations. Adept says it has been serving the consumer electronics industry with high-precision mechanisms and controls in both standard and cleanroom configurations for more than 20 years."The mechanisms involved in this order will be installed in Asia as part of a major capacity expansion program," said Hai Chang, managing director of Asia operations for Adept. "With the significant impact of the global downturn on the semiconductor and electronics industries and Asian manufacturing output, we are cautiously optimistic that this recent business and other positive signs in the sector point towards the start of a steady recovery. We are greatly pleased to have this opportunity to continue to serve and support this important global customer and their manufacturing operations."
The Government of Canada recognized Cambridge-based Upland Technologies Inc., which manufactures products for the automotive industry, as a Canadian Innovation Leader. Atlantic Industries, which develops a wide range of innovative products for use in construction, transportation, public works, and the environment, was also honoured."The Government of Canada believes that investments in science and technology are investments in Canada's future," said State Minister (Science and Technology) Gary Goodyear. "Our ideas, innovation and inventiveness ensure our long-term economic competitiveness. Today, I am proud to recognize Atlantic Industries and Upland Technologies, successful Canadian firms, as Canadian Innovation Leaders."Upland Technologies brings over 150 years combined experience in the tube and sheet metal forming industries. The company has developed a full suite of machines offered to auto manufacturers. The company's muffler lines are capable of producing mufflers with very low emission leakage rates. The company is now engaged in designing new specialized machines that will be able to manufacture hydro-formed automotive vehicle parts.A Canadian Innovation Leader is a small- or medium-sized enterprise (SME) that demonstrates specific advances in research and development within its industrial sector. The National Research Council of Canada (NRC) created the Canadian Innovation Leader Certificate Program to recognize Canadian firms that have successfully developed and applied innovative technologies."We are proud to recognize Atlantic Industries Limited and Upland Technologies Inc. as Canadian Innovation Leaders," said NRC president Pierre Coulombe. "Supporting small and medium-sized Canadian firms demonstrates the Government of Canada's commitment to encouraging S&T investments, which is crucial for improving the long-term competitiveness of Canadian firms and developing highly-skilled people to support small- and medium-sized business growth.""Upland Technologies relied on innovation and technology to differentiate itself from other competitors and to place itself in a competitive position globally," said Upland president Mohamed Gharib. "Established in 2000, Upland today is the global leader in muffler making technology and is well positioned to take advantage of the changing landscape of global manufacturing."
Sixty Canadian leaders from more than 35 biotechnology companies and organizations across Canada presented their technologies as the largest Canadian presence at the sixth annual World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioprocesses in Montreal. Their technologies offer alternatives to energy production from non-fossil-fuel sources, and manufacturing options for cosmetic products, pesticides, construction materials and auto parts.Canadian firms demonstrated strong leadership in biofuels, presenting advances in technologies varying from renewable energy production from waste sources; to technologies to increase the ability of common crops and plants to be used for energy; and genomic advances in new crops, like switch grass, for use in energy production. Canadian leadership was also clear in the discussion of use of biotech for pharmaceutical and cosmetic use."Industrial biotechnology is entering its growth stage and is offering workable solutions to address climate change concerns by producing transportation fuels and green chemicals from a range of cellulosic feedstocks," explained Ross MacLachlan, a keynote plenary participant at the summit, and president and CEO of Burnaby, B.C.-based Lignol Energy Corp., a biofuels and biochemicals company. "Industrial biotechnology offers a viable alternative for the Canadian forestry industry seeking value added and sustainable solutions to tackle changes within the industry, such as the damage caused by the mountain pine beetle, and it also offers new jobs and industrial development opportunities in economies such as Quebec.""One of the continued challenges for biofuels production is of course the availability of enough raw material (feedstock) to supply energy producers," said Peter Matthewman, president and CEO of Performance Plants Inc. in Kingston, Ont. "Technologies that allow us to grow biomass feedstocks, like miscanthus, faster to meet these needs will be the real value for future energy development."As the industry explored new technologies, they also discussed the best global policy and business enlivenments necessary to transition the economy."Canada has a real leadership opportunity here to be a leader in climate change discussions by creating viable business solutions," said Peter Brenders, president and CEO of BIOTECanada. "The challenge for our regulators is to step up and start actively working to be leaders by facilitating implementation of important new technologies such as novel crops."
Ontario's target is to become a world leader in building and driving electric cars.The Government of Ontario aims to have one out of every 20 vehicles driven in Ontario to be electrically powered by 2020 – and it's using rebates of between $4,000 and $10,000 do to it. If they reached those targets, it would put Ontarians into cleaner, more efficient vehicles, and expand the electric vehicle market for manufacturers. Expanding the use of electric vehicles, the government says, will help create and sustain jobs in the auto sector and put Ontario at the forefront of the new green economy in North America."Electric vehicles are the way to go in Ontario," Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty echos in a statement on Wednesday. "This plan helps get more people behind the wheel of a green vehicle to create jobs, reduce smog and equip Ontario for the 21st century."Representatives for auto and car-part manufacturers, such as Magna International and electric-vehicle maker ZENN Motor Co. (read a case study here), recently spoke at the APMA-AUTO21 conference about this technology being the wave of the future. The province seems to agree. As a result of the plan announced today, buyers of plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicles will receive:• Rebates of between $4,000 and $10,000 for plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicles purchased after July 1, 2010.• Green vehicle licence plates that would allow drivers to use less-congested High Occupancy Vehicle (carpool) lanes, even if there is only one person in the vehicle; and access public charging facilities and parking at Ontario government and GO Transit lots."The automotive sector is helping to build a greener economy by developing and producing electric vehicles," Transportation Minister Jim Bradley said. "Our plan to help consumers buy green vehicles will benefit our economy and improve our environment."Ontario will also add 500 electric vehicles to the Ontario Public Service fleet.As well, starting today, the people of Ontario can vote on the design of the new green licence plates.

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