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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.
Salmon Arm, B.C.-based Technology Brewing Corp., an automation solutions provider, has been named as a SICK sales channel partner to the wood products industry throughout North America. SICK is a leading manufacturer of sensors, safety systems, machine vision and automatic identification products for factory and logistics automation.Technology Brewing Corp. will support original equipment manufacturers in the wood industry, including lumber, engineered wood and panel-board; and will also target the furniture and millwork equipment markets in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Sensor, safety, machine vision and automatic identification solutions from SICK are ideal for a range of wood processing applications, such as bucking, curve sawing, edging, trimming, automatic grading and both chop and rip optimization. Wood processing optimization increases yields, speeds up processing times, improves quality and allows mills to be more profitable, the company says.www.techbrew.comwww.sickusa.com
Edmonton-based McCoy Corp. will consolidate production of two trailer manufacturing plants into its Penticton, B.C., facility. After a full review of all options, the company will suspend production at its Edmonton plant until further notice. New orders and orders already in progress will not be affected by the suspension. The Penticton facility will begin to produce both the Scona and "Peerless" product brands early in the third quarter. "The shutdown of the Edmonton plant is an indication of how the global economic slowdown has effected the trailer manufacturing segment of McCoy," said Jim Rakievich, president and CEO of McCoy. "Demand for trailer products not only in Western Canada, but across North America, has been reduced substantially. This decision will not impact the quality or service that our customers have come to expect from either the Scona or Peerless products."Our commitment to design specialized, custom trailers and chassis for both the infrastructure and global energy markets remains as strong as ever." Established in 1914, McCoy is a leading worldwide manufacturer of tubular make-up power tongs, for both land and offshore rig applications; is the second largest global supplier of make/break machines used for assembling downhole tool strings and testing pipe connections; and also manufactures consumable replacement parts (dies and inserts) used in rig equipment. McCoy also builds mobile products including vacuum tanks, hydrovac systems, pick up and lay-down machines, and custom heavy duty trailers, crane dollies and oilfield chassis. www.mccoycorporation.ca
The Government of Canada announced plans to procure new land combat vehicles, with Canadian firms potentially participating in the manufacturing and assembly of vehicles as well as the engineering and support services over the next 25 years.Defence Minister Peter MacKay made the announcement at CFB Gagetown in Oromocto, N.B., after word of the new funding leaked out on Tuesday.The Family of Land Combat Vehicles (FLCV) projects, valued at approximately $5 billion, including an estimated $1 billion to upgrade the current fleet of Light Armoured Vehicles (LAV) III, will deliver the next generation of land combat vehicles, providing the Army with a flexible, multi-purpose capability that will enable the Canadian Forces to respond effectively and successfully to the full spectrum of military operations.As part of this initiative, the current fleet of LAV III vehicles will be upgraded and three new fleets of land combat vehicles will be acquired, including Close Combat Vehicles (CCV), Tactical Armoured Patrol Vehicles (TAPV), and the Force Mobility Enhancement (FME) vehicles."These vehicles will provide the Army with the modern and robust equipment needed to fulfill its role in today's increasingly dangerous operating environment," added Lieutenant-General Leslie. "They will also ensure that we are ready to take on the challenges of the future."All FLCV projects are now entering the definition phase, which analyses procurement strategies and specific requirements. As part of this phase, the Government of Canada will partner with General Dynamics Land Systems - Canada to develop a solution for the upgrade of the LAV IIIs. When this contract is awarded, it will generate significant early economic benefits to the country, including sustaining employmentThe four projects will deliver significant economic benefits across Canada, with Canadian firms potentially participating in the manufacturing and assembly of vehicles. Contract awards for the acquisition of all four fleets are expected for 2011. Specific acquisition costs will be determined as the procurement process proceeds.In commenting on the planned announcement, Industry Minister Tony Clement said, "The Government of Canada remains committed to capitalizing on its major purchases to generate the greatest amount of economic benefit to Canadian industry and the economy at large. Canada's Industrial and Regional Benefits Policy is in place to ensure that prime contractors generate long-term and significant economic activity in Canada."www.gdlscanada.comwww.forces.gc.ca
Rockwell Automation is offering downloadable application development software free of charge to allow users to create, modify and monitor application programs for Allen-Bradley MicroLogix controllers. Designed for the Allen-Bradley MicroLogix 1000 and MicroLogix 1100 programmable controllers, the Rockwell Software RSLogix Micro Starter Lite software streamlines users’ overall development and deployment processes.The software provides users of MicroLogix 1100 controllers with the ability to modify application programs while machinery is operating. The MicroLogix 1000 and MicroLogix 1100 controllers share a common architecture and are compatible with the Allen-Bradley PanelView family of operator interface devices. This programming software allows users to easily integrate Rockwell Automation controllers, drives and operator interface products into their existing process architecture."The RSLogix Micro Starter Lite software allows users of MicroLogix 1000 and MicroLogix 1100 controllers to fully maximize the efficiency and performance of their machines," said Paul Gieschen, marketing director for components products at Rockwell Automation. "The software helps our customers reduce costs and increase uptime, especially in today’s global economy where innovation and efficiency are critical."Please visit www.ab.com/programmablecontrol/plc/micrologix/downloads.html to download the free RSLogix Micro Starter Lite software. The software is available in English and Chinese languages.
SICK, a leading manufacturer of sensors, safety systems, machine vision and automatic identification products for factory and logistics automation, has joined the PROFIBUS/PROFINET Trade Association (PTO) North America. The PTO is dedicated to showing industry the beneficial results of using fieldbuses, specifically PROFIBUS and PROFINET, and assisting device manufacturers throughout North America in the development and marketing of PROFIBUS and PROFINET products. As a member of the PTO, SICK is dedicated to reducing the overall cost of customers’ machines and processes by enabling them to build a less complex system with better diagnostic functionality and reduced wiring over the entire machine or process. As a result, customers are able to start up/commission a system faster and at reduced costs. The PTO will serve as a valuable resource as SICK continues to launch a wide range of PROFIBUS/PROFINET capable products to its customers.The PTO is the non-profit, member-supported automation organization for communication solutions. Covering North America, PTO is one of 25 regional associations that make up PI (PROFIBUS and PROFINET International). Members of the PTO include vendors of hardware, software and systems as well as end users and operators, scientific institutes, universities, distributors, and system integrators.www.sickusa.com
Canadian Standards Association (CSA) officially announced its brand-new "CSA Standards" corporate identity that includes a new, modern corporate logo and a refreshed website that has been redesigned "to be more dynamic and easier to navigate."This new comes on the heels of release of the draft of CSA Z142 Code for Power Press Operation: Health, Safety, and Guarding Requirements, now available for public review. The closing date for comments is July 14, 2009. (Download a PDF copy here.) This standard covers the occupational health and safety requirements for all classes of power presses that are fitted with a ram (plunger or slide) and dies for the purpose of blanking, cutting, trimming, drawing, punching, forming (bending), stamping, assembling, or processing metal and other materials.The freeform shape of the new logo is inspired by the stylized letters C, S and A, and is a fresh and modern reflection of the leading standards developer. The new corporate logo has a core that is fluid and dynamic, bounded by a square with dual cornered edges signifying strength, spirit and ingenuity. Blue is used to signify CSA's legacy and green is intended to symbolize humanity and sustainability. The new logo reflects the organization's overall vision of a better, safer more sustainable world where standards work for people and business."Our new logo visually represents the evolution that is taking place within CSA Standards as we continue to transition from a traditional standards developer to an energetic standards-based solutions provider for North America and the global marketplace," says president Suzanne Kiraly."We have created a new identity that embraces our core values of being caring, respectful, credible, professional and trustworthy. It is truly indicative of our heritage and of an organization that is expanding to build its future; a future that values being forward thinking, innovative, fast and thorough, dynamic and proactive."For more than 90 years, CSA has been recognized as a leader in developing consensus-based standards. Today, CSA Standards is growing and moving beyond its traditional standards development role and increasing its global presence by working towards providing standards-based solutions that include innovative training products, application tools and advisory services. The familiar CSA mark that appears on billions of products worldwide will not change. The new corporate identity for CSA Standards is not applicable to CSA Group or its other divisions; CSA International, and OnSpeX. CSA Group and its other divisions will undergo a similar corporate brand recognition and corporate identity review in the coming months.www.csa.ca
The Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE) praised the Ontario Government’s announcement it is creating a new $250-million fund to drive start-up investment in green technology companies and other high-tech businesses. The investment reportedly begins in July."The move is in response to the challenges emerging technology companies are experiencing in raising venture capital due to tightening credit markets. The long-term goal of the fund is to create a dynamic, vibrant venture capital community that will help Ontario companies grow and compete globally."Starting in July, the Emerging Technologies Fund will invest the money together with qualified venture capital funds and private sector investors. The fund will match small to medium private sector investments up to $5 million and receive an interest in the companies it supports. The goal is for the fund to be self-sustaining through return on investment.""The Emerging Technologies Fund supports the kind of investment that drives innovation, secures jobs today and creates jobs tomorrow," says John Wilkinson, Minister of Research and Innovation. "We’re committed to supporting clean tech and other emerging technology companies in Ontario. Ontarians are looking to us to support investment in new technology, especially in this challenging global credit environment."""OSPE supports this initiative; the speed with which the Ministry intends to make the funds available; and the requirement of a significant presence in Ontario as a criteria for eligibility as this will support immediate development and economic stimulation in the Province," adds Annette Bergeron, P.Eng., MBA, president and chair of OSPE. "I am also the Chair of OSPE’s Research and Innovation Task Force and we are planning an information session later this year to make engineers aware of the funding available, how to access it, and to share stories from engineers who have accessed the funds.""The fund is targeted at companies working in clean technology, life sciences, digital media and information communication technology. Eligible companies must have a significant corporate footprint in Ontario. www.ospe.on.ca
The"Government of Ontario"is helping the wood furniture manufacturing industry increase its market competitiveness and protect jobs.As part of the"Rural Economic Development Program, the province is investing $705,500 to help the sector form a strategic alliance that will allow it to incorporate leading edge technology so it can further increase market appeal for Ontario-made, quality wood furniture.The project will, among many things, develop an information and supply chain management system, including software development, graphics, web portal development; provide training for partners, retailers and sales people; allow partners to connect with each other and with customers to enhance their manufacturing techniques and productivity; and help retain up to 270 rural furniture manufacturing jobs.Since 2003, the Rural Economic Development Program has invested $74.8 million in 229 community-based projects in three priority areas: improved access to health care services, revitalized communities and downtowns and enhanced skills training.www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/rural/red/index.html
PLCopen is launching a new initiative in the motion control working group to extend the specifications to fluid power, which kicked off in Frankfurt, Germany, at the end of June. The initial goal is to optimizing programming and integration of fluid power devices and systems by defining function blocks employing PLCopen standardization and modular methodology.PLCopen is a non-profit industry organization dedicated to improving the programming efficiency of control and automation engineer s by providing information, training, and fostering communications between users, vendors, educators and othersFor the basic function blocks, a five-steps process will be used:1. Review current V1.0 Motion Function Blocks2. Identify those usable by fluid power in current form3. Define fluid power extensions to current format needed to make remainder usable4. Identify additional base functionality unique to fluid power5. Define Function Blocks unique to fluid power "For algorithmic and application levels, there can be guidelines and best practice descriptions that will facilitate implementation of more elemental components. "The primary goal, the organization says, is to level restrictions to market response and provide integrators with the option to apply the best technology to a given problem without regard to specific technology constructs. Standardized interfaces will allow cross-pollination from electrical and fluid power resource pools and drive best of breed solution configuration. "As a rough timetable the initial idea is the following: • Evaluate current Function Blocks - 2 months• Proposals for extensions - 6 months• First proposal of set of Function Blocks for Fluid Power within 1 year "www.plcopen-na.org
Surrey, B.C.-based Vanguard Plastics Ltd. has announced the creation of VPL Enterprises Ltd., a new company formed from the amalgamation of Vanguard Plastics Ltd. and its two wholly owned B.C.-based subsidiaries – Premo Plastics Engineering Ltd. in Victoria and Primex Manufacturing Ltd. in Langley. The manufacturing operations of the three companies will be relocated to the Langley facility. VPL will continue to market the products of the three companies under their trademark names.The creation of VPL is a strategic move to streamline the logistics of the three companies. This involves centralizing and combining administration, service, sales, warehousing and production, thereby simplifying processes and optimizing efficiencies."We are very enthusiastic about the creation of VPL Enterprises," says president Bob Smart. "The combination of business units adds financial and operating strength for both our customers and ourselves. Moving all of the brands under one umbrella eliminates duplication and allows for maximum manufacturing efficiency."Products manufactured by VPL can be found internationally in numerous industries including residential and commercial construction, retail, home renovation, pharmaceuticals and aerial firefighting.www.vplenterprises.com
The Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation honored Navid Zargari from Rockwell Automation in Cambridge, Ont., as Innovator of the Year. The award celebrates inventors who have played a significant role in developing a commercially successful product or service based on a breakthrough technology.In May, he was recognized at the Premier’s Innovation Awards ceremony in Toronto and received a $200,000 grant.A manager of medium voltage development at Rockwell Automation, Zargari was a major contributor in developing the transformerless medium voltage motor drive, "a technology that is helping increase energy efficiency and reliability to achieve sustainability in industries, such as oil and gas, power utilities, mining and cement, and water/wastewater," the company says.Zargari, along with Bin Wu of Toronto’s Ryerson University and Steve Rizzo and Yuan Xiao of Rockwell Automation, co-invented the integrated DC choke for the Allen-Bradley PowerFlex 7000 medium voltage (up to 34,000 horsepower/22.5 MW) drive.The patented, integrated DC choke helps eliminate the need for an isolation transformer to mitigate common mode voltages in the PowerFlex 7000 medium voltage drive. "This helps companies reduce manufacturing costs by 20 to 25 percent per drive," the company says. "The DC choke also helps improve sustainability by increasing drive efficiency by nearly 40 percent and creates a smaller footprint than the previous generation of medium voltage drives by decreasing the size and weight by nearly 30 percent.""Navid led the research, development and technology transfer as the senior design engineer on the PowerFlex 7000 project team," says Rizzo, manager of medium voltage drives. "His groundbreaking work has helped us grow medium voltage sales significantly with growth rates in the double digits year over year."The $200,000 grant will be used toward preliminary technology development and a feasibility study for wind energy conversion systems.www.ab.com/mvb/drivetodrive.html
The 2009 Power Transmission Distributors Association Canadian Conference brought together the power transmission/motion control manufacturers and distributors for an insiders’ focus on Canadian industry trends.Held last month at the Sheraton Fallsview Hotel and Conference Center in Niagara Falls, Ont., participants left the conference with a heightened understanding of the drivers of the Canadian economy and associated opportunities for power transmission/motion control."The conference was kicked off by Jayson Myers, president of the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, who set the stage with an enlightening Canadian economic forecast. He reiterated the importance of manufacturing in Canada – manufacturing is the single largest business sector in Canada, accounting for 14 percent of Canada’s GDP – and provided an in-depth economic overview."He also emphasized new market and business opportunities for Canadian manufacturers and distributors."According to his presentation, Canadian companies will continue to be challenged by the tightening of the U.S. credit market and high levels of risk and uncertainty, but there are a number of opportunities for companies that build a strategy around differentiation. Organizations that continue to innovate and explore new markets, while focusing on what customers value and eliminating waste, have an advantage as the economy stabilizes." "Following Myers’ analysis of the domestic and global indicators affecting Canada, conference attendees attended in-depth market briefings on: • infrastructure with Martin Doble, global managing director, Hatch Engineering;• mining with Tim Gallant, Iron Ore Company of Canada;• hydroelectricity with Rick Everdell, project director, Niagara Tunnel Project, Ontario Power Generation; and •" aerospace and industrial engine manufacturing with Kevin Sodhi, commodities management global purchasing and Antonio Colum.www.ptda.org
The NPE2009 international plastics exposition ended last week after exhibiting a high level of strength that contrasted with the current economic malaise and promised a better business climate to come, it was announced today by SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association. Attendee registrants at the Chicago-based show came from 101 countries, with those from Canada and Mexico making up the largest national groups.Also concluded was an unprecedented array of co-located events and special programs, including conferences totaling more than 1,000 presentations, moldmaking and rapid product development trade shows, multi-exhibitor pavilions for emerging and specialized technologies, and other content. Registrations for the conference sessions totaled 3,213.There was an inaugural event focusing on rapid product development, including a full-day presentation on rapid manufacturing technologies by 3D Systems. They also examined energy efficiency, displaying new systems for monitoring and controlling the amount of electricity used in a manufacturing plant. Plastics professionals from nearly 19,000 companies came to NPE2009 during the past week to discover innovations, make connections, plan purchasing, and – often enough – close deals on the spot. The trade show portion of the event had 1,851 exhibiting companies on 977,660 sq.ft. (88,000 sq.m) of paid space. The preliminary total of visitor registrations by the close of the show on June 26 was 44,000.While this registration figure was about 30 percent below the corresponding number for NPE2006, the number of companies represented by registrants was down only 17 percent."""" ""Over and over during NPE week, exhibitors and attendees rated NPE2009 a success as a showplace for innovation and a marketplace for doing business," Carteaux said. "With very difficult economic times and travel reductions caused by concerns about the H1N1 pandemic, it came as no surprise that attendee delegations were smaller than in 2006, but those company representatives that did come to NPE2009 were typically significant players with real purchasing power."He took note of the unique makeup of NPE2009. "SPI, along with its co-locating partners, created an event of great range and technical depth, with events and programs designed to address the interests and concerns of the entire plastics value chain, including suppliers of equipment and materials, moldmakers, designers, processors, OEMs, and other end-use companies," said Carteaux. "This strategy has contributed to the excitement and vitality of NPE2009, and we intend to improve upon and extend it as we plan for NPE2012."The international character of NPE continued to be prominent at NPE2009. Among exhibitors, one-third came directly from outside the United States. Of these, China accounted for the largest group, followed by Canada." There were 29 "country" delegations–that is, organized groups of attendees from various countries.www.npe.orgwww.plasticsindustry.org
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

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