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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
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.

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