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It's been seven years coming: Bosch Rexroth Canada has completed a comprehensive engineered hydraulic and controls solution to revamp the locks on the St. Lawrence Seaway’s Welland Canal, a project Manufacturing AUTOMATION has been following for years.The St. Lawrence Seaway is one of the world’s busiest inland waterways, connecting the Midwest with the Atlantic Ocean, and the Welland Canal allows safe passage around Niagara Falls. There is a 100-metre height difference between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie, and that difference is overcome by eight locks over a distance of 44 kilometers.The original electromechanical drives, gears, chains and steel cables that controlled the locks were 70 years old, and in 2002, the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. (SLSMC) realized it needed to upgrade all the locks. The SLSMC had Bosch Rexroth Canada undertake a two-year pilot project to help upgrade the hydraulic systems and the controls on two of the eleven locks that make up the Welland Canal as the new technology was more cost efficient than replacing the traditional technology. When the pilot project was successfully completed, the SLSMC contracted Bosch Rexroth to upgrade the remaining nine locks over five years. Bosch Rexroth has now completed the entire project within the planned timeframe and has met the project’s requirements."The SLSMC didn’t just buy hardware and software from Bosch Rexroth," says Wayne Scutt, contract manager with Bosch Rexroth Canada. "They got our expertise as well. We worked together to solve problems and find new answers when something didn’t go according to plan." The expertise came not only from Bosch Rexroth Canada, but also from the Netherlands and Germany, where Bosch Rexroth has experience equipping locks with the latest technology.Bosch Rexroth Canada used the latest design technology, including Autodesk Inventor, to create three-dimensional previews of all parts for the SLSMC. That allowed all the parties involved to communicate well throughout the process, as well as optimize access for maintenance.Over the course of the project, Bosch Rexroth supplied approximately 73,000 litres of oil, 360 electrical panels made up of PLC, motor control, operator and terminal stations, 130 hydraulic cylinders and more than 40 hydraulic power units. The Bosch Rexroth team spent from April to December of each year designing and programming the PLC, HMI, electrical and hydraulics, then was on site from January to March for start up, commissioning and installation support. Bosch Rexroth worked closely with both the SLSMC and the site contractor to ensure each and ever lock was operating at peak performance within the predetermined timeframe."The key was planning ahead," says Tom Vermelfoort, Engineering Manager of Bosch Rexroth Canada’s Automation Business Unit. "We spent a great deal of time perfecting the electrical control design process to come up with a concept that was modular and can be used year after year. By planning ahead, we were able to ensure the installations went as smoothly as possible in the tight time frame required by the SLSMC."The new Bosch Rexroth solution uses hydraulic cylinders to provide drive and control to the locks without any additional mechanical elements. The SLSMC operators can constantly monitor essential parameters through the PLC, helping them fine tune positioning accuracy, speed and power.The project was completed in March 2009, and today the locks are not only running smoothly, but also with less downtime, and potentially providing a longer shipping season. And, after seven successful years of partnership, the relationship between Rexroth and SLSMC will continue on into the future. The companies have embarked on starting maintenance programs for the hydraulics and controls, providing additional training to the SLSMC employees to ensure the equipment stays running at its peak performance for another 70 years. www.boschrexroth.ca
Linamar Corp. has been awarded a multi-year driveline-module supply contract with a major European auto manufacturer that the company estimates will be worth more than $200 million annually once the program reaches full production. The company, based in Guelph, Ont., is scheduled to start of production in 2011, with full production hitting its stride in 2014."This is a transformational business win for our European group testament to the dedication and focus of our team to realize our globalization and diversification strategies," said Linamar CEO Linda Hasenfratz. "It is also a huge win for our new driveline systems businesses, which are levering off a global focus on AWD systems."This contract is a boon for the Canadian parts giant, which was hit by the collapse of General Motors earlier in the month. Linamar said in a press release at that time that it had limited its exposure to GM's bankruptcy. "We feel that we are in a strong position to weather the situation given steps we have taken over the past months to minimize our exposure", Hasenfratz said in early June.Linamar is a global manufacturing company of highly engineered products, and its powertrain and driveline-focused divisions are leaders in the collaborative design, development and manufacture of precision metallic components, modules and systems for vehicle and power generation markets.
SICK has published a 116-page, illustrated guide that contains safety requirements and guidelines for North America, highlighting Canadian standards. The document, Guidelines for Safe Machinery: Six Steps to a Safe Machine, is designed for manufacturers, systems engineers, designers and all individuals who are responsible for machine safety to illustrate various methods of selecting and using protective devices. (For Manufacturing AUTOMATION's extensive coverage of these standards, visit our Machine Safety portal.)The requirements for the protection of machinery and people change more and more with the increasing use of automation. The guide is designed to keep end users and machine builders up-to-date. It briefly outlines laws, regulations and standards for the U.S., Canada and Mexico and then details six steps to designing a safe machine, including risk assessment, safe machine design, engineering controls, administrative measures, machine validation and operation.The guide is not a product catalog, but rather provides a comprehensive look at application examples, technical information, possible solutions, as well as where to go for additional resources. "The safety guide was developed based on SICK’s extensive expert knowledge, application expertise and 60 years of experience," the company says.The guide available to download free by visiting www.sickusa.com/safetyguide.
The 6th annual RoboGames were held last weekend in San Francisco, and for the fourth year in a row, Canada's own Ziggy–one of the robotic combatants in the super-heavyweight division for 'bots weighing 340 pounds–took home the gold."No matter what your favourite robot sport is, the best bots in the world come to San Francisco every June," the organization says of the 400 non-sentient athletes competing in all events.""The stands are filled with people watching 340 pound robots shoot flames and smash into each other and androids cart-wheeling down the soccer field."Ziggy battled it out in one of the most competitive combat categories. (View all RoboGames winners.) In its battle history, Ziggy had been proven capable of lobbing similarly heavy, 300-plus-pound opponents three metres with its "megaflipper." Last week, the Canadian bionic brute further proved its might against U.S.-made Juggernaut by tossing it around like an empty pop can–and promptly made a mockery of its name. The audience groaned and cheered with each slam and metallic crunch.Watch Ziggy battle Juggernaut"[YouTube]Watch Ziggy win"[YouTube]This year,"Ziggy was sporting a newly improved pneumatic flipper weapon (managed by electronics from"Nuvation, which provides project-based chip, board and software design services for the embedded systems industry). This results in unwanted (but totally cool) free-flying lessons for its opponents. As well, Ziggy's external armor and "megaflipper" assembly are built from military-grade titanium, and at full power, the flipper can launch an opponent to the arena ceiling.Ziggy's Ottawa-based creator, Mark Demers, who works at high-performance tunable laser manufacturer Santur Corp., has excelled in his sales and marketing career and has in turn made a name for himself and"CM Robotics"with his RoboGames champ.He also leads a team of designers at Ottawa-based"OptaMotive"that says they will bring a pure battery electric vehicle to compete in the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE alternative class. OptaMotive is bolstered by members who have experience in robotics, autonomous control, vehicle design, race engineering, control systems and battery engineering.So overall, the event saw 620 engineers from 18 countries compete in 51 events, putting their"army of remote-controlled and autonomous combat robots–along with walking humanoids, soccer 'bots, sumo 'bots and even androids that do kung-fu–to the test.
Manufacturing AUTOMATION has a new online look and a new editor–and we want everyone to know.First off, we've undergone"a complete website redesign, which incorporates all of Advanced Manufacturing's content with Manufacturing AUTOMATION in a slick, intuitive content hub. What won't change is our commitment in bringing you latest industrial automation technologies, trends, news and products. Among the new features to help us do deliver on that promise, we have:• Specific Editorial PortalsAt the top of the site, you can navigate through a series of tailored "portals," or sections, to find content more suited to you. These include Machine Safety, Sensors, Education and Lean Manufacturing. As well, relevant products will be displayed on in portal (where appropriate), resulting in fewer clicks to find what you need.• Comments SectionsYou can now add your own two cents to every story published online in the comments section at the bottom of each story. Your feedback will help shape the site and our future coverage–so don't be shy.• News BulletinsNews will be updated daily, so bookmark our home page and keep up to date with our news bulletin, at the top of the page under "Latest News." It also allows readers to flip through the most recent items.• Enhanced SearchSearch the entire site with a handy text field on the upper-right-hand corner every page.• Easy-to-Browse Product SectionsWith more than 20 product categories–with updates added daily–find what you need is easier than ever.• And more...So take a look. Browse around. If you notice something out of the ordinary, let us know by emailing us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .As well, editor Mary Del Ciancio went on maternity leave in early June, so taking her place for the next year is acting editor André Voshart. You can contact him with any questions, comments or queries you may have at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or follow him on Twitter at Twitter.com/AutomationMag.
Beckhoff Automation reported that its North American Automation UpDate seminar series was "a resounding success," with more than 61 attendees at a Toronto seminar in early June. Six primary product developers and specialists from Beckhoff’s headquarters in Verl, Germany, presented the latest technological advances and best practices. Among the topic discussed were open motion control technology using Beckhoff’s AX5000 EtherCAT servo drives and TwinCAT; CX embedded PCs; embedded PC benchmarking and performance with motion control applications; visualization solutions; Beckhoff embedded software status and performance update; and Intel Core Duo technology for state-of-the-art hardware platforms."Automation UpDate has been established not only as a European phenom, but also a North American one," said Graham Harris, president of Beckhoff Automation. "Especially when the business climate continues to be treacherous, it’s Beckhoff’s job now more than ever to introduce innovative new technologies, such as EtherCAT, to our customers and help them succeed today and well into the future.""On top of Toronto, the seminar traveled to Anaheim, Calif.; San Jose, Calif.; and Milwaukee. In addition, the seminars featured guest speakers from leading technology companies that utilize Beckhoff innovations, including Chris Choi from Bolton, Ont.-based Husky Injection Molding Systems (profiled last year in Advanced Manufacturing) and Alex Kvyatkovski from Accurpress, which has a manufacturing location in Surrey, B.C. Other speakers included reps from Belco Packaging Systems, MarquipWardUnited, and Messer Cutting Systems.For those interested in what was covered, you can download the presentations and videos from Beckhoff’s FTP site (please use Internet Explorer).For questions about this and future seminars, contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
E-T-A Circuit Breakers recently announced that its ESX10-T Electronic Circuit Protector now has CSA Approval C22.2 and Class I, Division 2 Hazardous Location Certification - Group A, B, C, and D - in Richmond Hill, Ont.The hazardous location approvals will allow the ESX10-T to be used in applications such as mining, petro/chemical, pharmaceutical and food and beverage industries where selective disconnection is vital and where an integral safety technology exists, such as a safety PLC or similar system.The electronic circuit protector combines purely electronic trip characteristics and active current limitation to allow selective disconnection of loads connected to 24 VDC power supplies. Selective load protection prevents complete shutdown of the system by quickly disconnecting the faulty path when an overload or short circuit occurs.Active current limitation allows the ESX10-T to respond much faster to overload or short circuit conditions than the power supply. It limits the highest possible current to 1.3 to 1.8 times the rated the capacity, and is capable of switching on capacitive loads up to 20,000 uF - with disconnection only in the event of an overload or short circuit. Upon detection of an overload or short circuit in the load circuit, the power-MOSFET switching output of the ESX10-T interrupts the current flow at 1.1 times rated current after three seconds. Failure and status indication are provided by a multi-colour LED and status output signal.For more information, visit www.e-t-a.com.
Taking both health and fuel concerns into account when designing public transit routes has the potential to halve exposure to emissions
The problem of congestion could be relieved through collaborative driving, without changing existing capacities, said Jan Huissoon, of the University of Waterloo, in the AUTO21 Advanced Technology Session on Dynamic Collaborative Driving at the APMA-AUTO21 annual conference.
Don Walker compared the current auto industry to living in a tornado. "It's unbelievable what's happening," the co-CEO of Magna International told attendees at the APMA-AUTO21 conference, particularly when you see the impact on the supplier community. It's staggering to see the number who haven't survived, he added, thanks to the consumer credit crunch, rising oil prices, the banking crisis and the liquidity crisis.
India's economy is booming and has great strengths to offer, said Deep Kapuria, chairman of the Hi-Tech Group and chairman of Globalization and India Brand Building with the Automotive Component Manufacturers Association.
The success of electric transportation depends on battery technology. That was the message panelists shared with attendees during the Electrification of the Vehicle session at the APMA-AUTO21 conference.
An integrated design strategy can lead to more effective market penetration, said Luigi Ferrara, with George Brown College, presenting at the APMA-AUTO21 conference. The discussion took place as part of the AUTO21 Innovation Panel: Bringing Research to Market, and Ferrara discussed the process behind Magna's clek booster seat, released in 2006.
Manufacturers can reduce their energy costs by up to seven percent through a new program offered by the APMA.
Technology is growing at an ever-increasing pace, and collaboration is key to keeping up with this, Gerry Fedchun, president of the APMA, said while kicking off the APMA-AUTO 21 conference.

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