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Volume 69, No. 05 June 2010

TRACKING GROWTH Marport’s sonar systems take on the world HIGHLIGHTS Link your Kanban with ERP Crisis? Hire an interim troubleshooter G-Plus flexes its R&D Super-size forklift handles big stuff

9 11 12 13

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TEMPERATURE SENSORS SWITCHES • Temperature setting range:

-4 to 284F (-20 to 140C)

ProSense electronic pressure and vacuum sensors are a solid-state solution to problems with mechanical switches

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range of -40 to 302°F • Starting at $29 THERMOWELLS • For ProSense 10mm RTD probes • Starting at $28

PROXIMITY SENSORS Proximity sensors with voltage or current analog outputs measure distance to an object, starting at $93.25 • 8 mm models measure up to 4 mm distance • 12 mm models measure up to 6 mm distance • 18 mm models measure up to 10 mm distance • 30 mm models measure up to 20 mm distance

PSD25 PRESSURE SWITCHES • Available in 145, 1450 and 5800 psi ranges • Simple setup using rotating adjustment dials • No moving parts in sensing technology ensure long-term stability without setpoint drift • No calibration required • LEDs indicate switching and operating status • Dual switching DC output via micro connector • Vibration and shock-resistant

CURRENT SENSORS Switches and transmitters sense up to 2,000A, starting at $63

• Output options include 4-20mA or 0-10 VDC • Solid or split-core models for easy retrofit • Panel-mount or DIN rail adapter available for easy installation • 5-year warranty

PTD25 PRESSURE TRANSMITTERS • Pressure models available in 15, 30, 100, 500, 1,000 and 3,000 psi ranges, or 0 to 100 inches water column, with 4-20 mA or 0-10V output options • Vacuum models measure up to 29 inches Hg, with 20-4 mA or 10-0V output options • Ceramic sensing element provides high burst/overpressure protection • Analog output via micro connector • Flexible film circuit results in compact size with excellent shock and vibration resistance • Robust stainless steel housing

SIGNAL CONDITIONERS Convert, isolate and transmit your process signals, starting at $89

• DC selectable model with 3-way isolation for $119 offers multiple input/output ranges • 4-20mA isolated signal conditioner for $89 • Thermocouple/mV isolated model for $119 • RTD Input signal conditioner for $119

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Taking the lead in climate-friendly technology


he massive oil eruption in the Gulf of Mexico is helping us to reflect more seriously on our insatiable need for fossil fuels. Having 116 million US gallons (and counting) of raw crude heading for a US coastline tends to sharpen the focus, thus US president Barak Obama declares he is serious about a cleaner energy future, and we can assume, based on Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper’s view of environmental matters, that he will second the motion, whatever it may be. In other words, this is a good time for innovators and manufacturers to explore more fully the opportunities in climate friendly, clean energy technologies. The worldwide industry is expected to be the third largest within a decade. Based on our geography and resources, this should be an area in which we excel on a global scale. A Conference Board of Canada report released in March agrees except it notes Canadian research, policies and businesses have not focused on new opportunities, nor are they doing a good job of maintaining existing ones. However, the report suggests it’s not too late to take a global leadership role in some areas. For example, Canadian innovators are developing some interesting photovoltaic (PV) technologies for solar power applications. Rarely a week goes by without an announcement from Calgary firm Sustainable Energy Technologies about its low-voltage power inverters that connect solar power systems to the grid. These devices allow solar panels set up in non-traditional parallel arrays to handle rapid power fluctuations and maintain a continuous connection. Sustainable Energy is one of several companies investing in Ontario where the Liberal government is betting clean energy will help solve its power capacity problems, address some of its pressing emissions issues, and add some depth to its diminished manufacturing base. Aside from some of his goofier notions about energy conservation (such as recommending taxpayers do their laundry at 3 a.m. when rates are low, or not use their air conditioners during the day when it’s hottest) Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty may have this clean energy thing right. Samsung says it’s investing $7 billion in wind and solar projects in the province and take advantage of a high, guaranteed rate for adding power to the grid, all of which will require locally sourced manufactured parts and components, and services. Bigger picture, this is just the kind of environment that will help Canadian companies become leaders in global markets. And that must be the goal. Canada’s domestic markets are too small to sustain world-leading technologies. Ontario’s clean energy policy will allow innovators to operate in a domestic lab to refine their products so they can take them to much larger, growing global markets. The Ontario example demonstrates the importance of government and business integrating their efforts, and there’s a pay-back in additional real GDP. The Conference Board notes Alberta, which will have invested $6.1 billion in clean technology between 2010 and 2014, will add about $5 billion in GDP, while Ontario with a $2 billion investment, will add $2 billion. These benefits do not include what may be tallied through domestic and export sales. We may never be completely free of fossil fuels, but cleaner energy technologies are the future and Canadian companies are ideally positioned to be a part of it. Joe Terrett, Editor





9 IT for industry An new asset management system closes the gap between Kanban and ERP.


10 revenue growth Marport invests heavily in R&D to achieve 5,234% fiveyear growth. 11 Contingency Planning Interim management can take the heat off during a crisis.


12 fabricated plastics Small Quebec plastics firm turns customization capabilities into big opportunities.


13 materials handling Combilift introduces a 25-ton forklift for those really big lifting jobs. 14 maintenance How to keep hydraulic systems clean by controlling contaminants.

safety CSA introduces new guidelines for protecting workers in tight spaces.

tech tip Starting up your chiller? Make sure the motor is in top running order. 15 think lean Tips that will help you sustain lean culture and gains.


16 exporting A detailed marketing plan will aid successful entry into new global markets.

steel industry The Canadian Steel Producers Association says steel manufacturing is making a comeback.


4 Industry View 8 PLANT Pulse 6 Labour Relations 9 Plantware 17 Product Showcase 17 Events 18 Postscript


Comments? E-mail

Vol. 69, No. 05, June, 2010 Editor: Joe Terrett 416-764-1546 Features Editor: Noelle Stapinsky 416-764-1449 Contributing Editors: Ron Richardson, Steve Gahbauer Art Director: Kathy Smith 416-764-1542 Junior Web Producer: Jessica Mirabelli 416-764-1316 Director of Sales, Marketing and Customer Service: Laura Goodwin 416-764-1492 District Sales Manager: Dean Walter 416-764-1776 Advertising Representative: Jason Lofkrantz 416-764-1521

Canadian PLANT Fax: 416-764-1742 Circulation Manager: Celia Ramnarine 416-764-1451 Production Manager: Jennifer Reinhardt 416-764-3842 Executive Publisher of the Industrial Group, BPPG: Tim Dimopoulos 416-764-1499 Rogers Media Inc. President and CEO: Anthony P. Viner Rogers Publishing Limited President and CEO: Brian Segal Senior Vice-President Business & Professional Publishing: John Milne Senior Vice-Presidents: Marc Blondeau, Michael Fox Vice-Presidents: Immee Chee Wah, Patrick Renard Editorial Advisory Board: Robert Hattin, Edson Packaging Machinery • Ron Harper, Cogent Power • Greg MacDonald, Wentworth International Services • Roy Verstraete, Anchor Danly Subscription Department: For subscriptions services e-mail: 416-932-5071 Fax 416-932-1620 Outside Toronto 1-866-236-0608

Mail: Canadian PLANT, Circulation Dept. 7th Floor, One Mount Pleasant Road, Toronto ON M4Y 2Y5 Subscriber Services: To subscribe, renew your subscription or to change your address or information, please visit us at Mail Preferences: Occasionally we make our subscriber list available to reputable companies whose products or services may be of interest to you. If you do not want your name to be made available, please contact us at or update your profile at www. Canadian PLANT—established 1941, is published by Rogers Publishing Limited, a division of Rogers Media Inc., One Mount Pleasant Road, Toronto, Ontario, M4Y 2Y5. Montreal Office: 1200 avenue McGill College, Bureau 800, Montreal, Quebec, H3B 4G7. Subscription Price: Canada $69.00 per year, Outside Canada $141.00 US per year, Single Copy Canada $5.50. Plant is published 8 times per year except for occasional combined, expanded or premium issues, which count as two subscription issues. Printed in Canada, contents of this publication are protected by copyright and must not be reprinted in whole or in part without permission of the publisher. Publications Mail Agreement #40070230. Return undeliverable items to: Canadian PLANT Circulation department., 8th Floor, One Mount Pleasant Road, Toronto ON M4Y 2Y5. U.S. periodicals registration no. 0010-881 at Lewiston, N.Y. US Postmaster: Send address changes to Rogers Media, PO Box 4541,

Buffalo, New York, 14240, USA Performance claims for products listed in this issue are made by contributing manufacturers and agencies. No responsibility for the accuracy of these performance claims can be assumed on the part of Canadian PLANT or Rogers Media and its agents or distributors. Contents copyright© 2010 by Rogers Publishing Limited, may not be reprinted without permission. Canadian PLANT receives unsolicited materials (including letters to the editor, press releases, promotional items and images) from time to time. Canadian PLANT, its affiliates and assignees may use, reproduce, publish, re-publish, distribute, store and archive such unsolicited submissions in whole or in part in any form or medium whatsoever, without compensation of any sort. This statement does not apply to materials/pitches submitted by freelance writers, photographers or illustrators in accordance with known industry practices. Our environmental policy is available at www. We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Periodical Fund (CPF) for our publishing activities.


ISSN 1922-5261

Canadian PLANT 3


>> Industry View

>> Feedback Who needs the HST? I got quite a chuckle after reading the article by Roslyn Kunin (PLANT, May 2010 Postscript column, Why BC and Ontario need the HST). What facet of the Ontario Liberal government is paying for this nonsense? If I buy a piece of equipment for $200,000, I am exempt from paying 8% pst on the purchase. After July 1, I will have to take another $16,000 out of our cash flow, and then do the paperwork just to get back what I haven't had to pay as the “benefits” of HST kick in. What about the tie-up of cash that will take place every time I fill up my company vehicles or pay my plant hydro bill? And I’m supposed to be happy for the privilege of reclaiming the 40-cent portion of my photocopier paper purchases! What about larger clients that have a gross sales figure of over $10 million dollars that now purchase equipment from me who were exempt from the 8% pst? They won’t be able to collect ANY of that portion back after July 1. Do you not think that’s going to affect their purchasing decisions, in addition to their “spend no money” philosophies of the past year and a half? Brian Heltcher J&J Machine Works, North Bay, Ont. We’d like to hear from you. Send feedback to joe.terrett@ with your name, address and phone number. Letters will be edited.

UOIT EcoCAR team at the GM Desert Proving Grounds in Yuma, Ariz. Kneeling from left: Gavin Clark, Mike Maduro, Shawn Sandham and Mark Balgobin. Standing: Pierre Hinse, Lesley McLelland, Joe Brennan and Hugues Marceau. Behind the car: Hugo Provencher, Helen Qin and Dr. Greg Rohrauer, faculty advisor.  PHOTO: UOIT

UOIT engineers score in EcoCAR challenge OSHAWA, Ont.: The University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) in Oshawa, Ont. has made it into the top group of teams competing for automotive engineering design honours in the EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge competition. The university’s team of student engineers is up against 15 other North American universities (two of them Canadian) in a competition sponsored by GM and the US Department of Energy to design the most environment-friendly electric vehicle that maintains the performance standards expected by consumers. After 10 days of tests at the General Motors Proving Grounds in Yuma, Ariz., the UOIT team’s all-electric car emerged with top honours in two categories: performance when changing lanes at high speed; and dynamic consumer acceptability based on handling, noise and vibration. In the next stage of competition in San Diego, Calif., the UOIT ranked fourth for the

car’s electrical and mechanical systems and sixth place overall. The competition continues through the spring of 2011.

Agri-paper project gets $400,000 boost LA SALLE, MAN.: A consortium led by Prairie Pulp and Paper that’s assessing the potential of producing paper products from agricultural crop byproducts has received a $400,000 investment from the federal and Manitoba governments. The consortium, which includes Bannatyne Financial, the Manitoba Straw Producers Co-op Ltd., the Manitoba government and SNC Lavalin Engineering, is employing an agricultural pulping process to produce letter-sized paper for computer printers, fax machines and photocopiers. Winnipeg-based Prairie Pulp and Paper has just finished testing the first 3,000 sheets of prototype paper with commercial paper buyers across North America “and they were very well received,” says Jeff Golfman, president and co-founder of Prairie Pulp and Paper. “The

Leader in Sealless Pump Technology Viking Series UMD Heavy Duty Universal Mag Drive® Rotary Gear Pumps

support of the provincial and federal governments will enable us to make the next leap to produce up to 200,000 sheets of paper for further testing with potential future customers.” The consortium’s long-term goal is to build North America’s first commercial scale nonwood pulp and paper mill in rural Manitoba, which would require a capital investment of approximately $600 million. The mill would produce 200,000 tonnes of paper annually, creating employment for 300 to 500 people. The provincial and federal governments have so far invested $575,000 in Prairie Pulp and Paper through various programs.

A zero-emissions electric vehicle for carbon free snack delivery. PHOTO: FRITO LAY

Frito Lay delivery goes electric MISSISSAUGA, Ont.: Frito Lay Canada is doing its bit to eliminate unnecessary carbon emissions with an electrifying move on the distribution side. The manufacturer of potato chips and other snack foods, a division of PepsiCo Canada, is adding six zero-emission electric vehicles to its delivery fleet at major distribution centres across the country: three in Brampton,

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Ont.; one in Ottawa; one in Surrey, BC and one in Laval, Que. The vehicles, made by Smith Electric Vehicles, a manufacturer based in Kansas City, Mo., each has a 60 kilometre per day range that Frito Lay says meets the needs of its routes. The trucks will be powered by electricity from the grid, offset by renewable energy credits. When the batteries reach the end of their lifespans (three to five years) they’ll be returned to Smith Electric for recycling.

Chemistry industry claims 87% emissions reduction OTTAWA: Chemistry Industry Association of Canada members have reduced their emissions by 87% since 1992, according to a new report released by the Ottawa-based association representing 50 chemicals companies. Reducing Emissions 17 tracks the environmental performance of members’ manufacturing operations and their adherence to the association’s Responsible Care ethical standards. Highlights include: • 99.5% reduction of emissions to water since 1992. • 94% reduction of releases of known and probable carcinogens. • 98% elimination of emissions from 14 high-priority substances targeted by Canada’s Chemicals Management Plan. • 38% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions since 2000, despite increased production. • 66% decrease of ozone-depleting discharges by since 2000. Visit for a copy of the report.

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Brian Vaughan, president of Tricut Tool Inc. in London, Ont., shares some Canadian PLANT culture with the Terra-Cotta Warriors in Xian China.

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Appear in PLANT Off-Site and win $50! Have a photo taken of you reading PLANT in a remote, interesting or exotic location. Send photos with name, title, company, address and phone number to Off-Site, Canadian PLANT, One Mount Pleasant Rd., Toronto, Ont. M4Y 2Y5. Sorry, we can’t return them. Digital photos should be 5x7 inches and 300 dpi. Send them to

5/31/10 3:06:39 PM

June 2010

Energy Savings. Cost Savings. Together at Last.

Introducing DR Series

The built-in encoder is fully integrated into the motor, reducing the cost and complexity of encoder engineering as well as its footprint.

SEW-Eurodrives’s new DR Series of AC motors have been engineered from the ground up to meet motor demands of the 21st century: like high efficiency performance that complies with international standards; a compact footprint that saves space; a modular design that allows for three different brake sizes to be used with a single motor size; and a simple, integrated encoder that can be easily retrofitted. What’s more, these new motors can be integrated into SEW gearmotors, used as stand-alone motors or in decentralized control architectures. The DR Series also comes in two energy efficient options: DRE (energy-efficiency) and DRP (premium efficiency).

Driving the world

Toronto (905) 791-1553

Montreal (514) 367-1124

Vancouver (604) 946-5535

>> CAREERS Lignol Energy Corp. has realigned executive responsibilities. Raymond Ma, who was overseeing Lignol’s advanced integrated pilot plant and engineering package, has been promoted to senior vicepresident, engineering and process development. Consulting engineer Chris Moser has been recruited as vice-president, process development and David Turner is reassuming the CFO role. Lignol is an Ottawa-based manufacturer of biorefining technologies.


>> Labour Relations

Government auto stake could leverage benefits Minority public ownership stabilizes the “companies in the face of volatile market and financial swings... ”

CVTech Group Inc., a manufacturer of power transmission products and supplier of services to the electric power market based in Drummondville, Que., has announced the retirement of Guy Aubert as vice-president, energy segment. Replacing him is Alain Gagné, previously vice-president of operations for the energy segment. AirTest Technologies, a sensor manufacturer based in Delta, BC, has appointed Paul Kacir CEO of its newly formed subsidiary ClairTec Inc. The Phoenix-based company will develop, manufacture and sell a proprietary breakthrough gas sensor to original equipment manufacturers. Kacir was previously vice-president, general counsel and corporate secretary of First Solar Inc., a manufacturer of photovoltaic solar panels.

>> BULLETINS Viterra Inc., a Calgary-based provider of ingredients to food manufacturers, is acquiring 21st Century Grain Processing, a Kansas City, Mo.-based processor of oats, wheat, and custom-coated grains, for US $90.5 million. The company operates an oat mill in South Sioux City, Neb. and a facility that mills wheat near Amarillo, Tex. Johnson Controls’ Canadian subsidiary, a supplier of automotive batteries, has agreed to purchase 3.4% of the issued and outstanding common shares of Azure Dynamics Corp. for $6.3 million. Azure is a manufacturer of hybrid electric and powertrain systems for commercial vehicles based in Oak Park, Mich. Day4 Energy Inc., a Burnaby, BC supplier of solar electric products, has started construction of a turnkey 1.8-megawatt ground mounted photovoltaic power plant in Niedereschach-Fischbach, Germany. The project is being built for an unnamed private investor group. The plant is expected to use approximately 9,800 48MC Day4 modules. Restructuring firm Newlook Industries Corp., based in King City, Ont., is acquiring for $2.8 million the Fanotech Manufacturing Group, which consists of Fanotech Enviro Inc., Fanotech Waste Equipment Inc. and Fanocor Enterprises Inc. Fanotech manufactures waste handling products such as transfer station compactors, trailers, mobile equipment and garbage disposal bins, and operates from two facilities in Bracebridge and Huntsville, Ont. Newlook intends to develop a waste-to-energy business.

By Ken Lewenza


eneral Motors’ recent announcement that it has fully repaid the loans it received from the US, Canadian and Ontario governments years ahead of schedule and with interest, was another positive sign of the auto industry’s gradual recovery. And it affirms that the strategy our governments followed during last year’s economic meltdown was the right one. Some commentators at the time argued governments should have let the companies languish, but inaction would have resulted in the collapse of GM and Chrysler, the loss of tens of thousands of crucial jobs and billions of dollars in additional expense for governments. It turns out the government involvement was a good investment, not a “bailout” and its legacy is the communities that have been strengthened by the preservation of key plants and jobs of taxpaying Canadians, including tens of thousands of spin-off jobs. GM’s loan repayment and the profits now being reported by both GM and Chrysler have whetted the appetites of some observers for government to dispose of its remaining stake in the two companies. But the loans GM received were a small share of the total amount of government support that went to the firm; the rest was in the form of equity. The US, Canadian and Ontario governments are also major

Jobless are struggling A study conducted for the CAW that tracked a random sample of laid off workers in Kitchener, Brampton and Toronto shows only 24% had found employment, and of those jobs just 39% were in manufacturing. Link to CAW Worker Adjustment Tracking Project at

equity owners of Chrysler. What should be done with those shares in the long run, as the companies gradually regain their footing? By disposing of its shares and exiting the industry, government would be leaving all the decisions up to the profit-maximizing judgments of auto industry executives and the investors they work for. Underlying this view is the notion that private investors know how to run the industry better than government. But “private knows best” is not a valid assumption to make. If private investors are indeed more capable of making rational, efficient decisions, how did we end up in last year’s crisis? Government participation in the future actions of these companies, through a continuing equity stake, would help ensure they act in everyone’s best long-term interests rather than continuing to pursue short-term profits regardless of the economic and social consequences. The global auto industry offers many examples of the beneficial role minority public ownership plays in stabilizing automakers where they are based. Volkswagen is arguably the most successful automaker in the world today and is owned in part by the state government in Lower Saxony, where the company has its origins. That stake has been used to leverage a continuing commitment from VW to maintain a strong German presence, despite the country’s high labour costs. Government officials don’t get involved in day-to-day decision-making but the company knows it has a responsibility to German society.

Global lessons Public investment is also important in the French, Korean and Japanese auto industries. In each case, the companies operate on a global scale and make decisions that are often painful or controversial. Minority public ownership stabilizes the companies in the face of volatile market and financial swings, and cements their “home-field advantage” in the countries where they were founded. Canada is the only G-8 economy that does not have a single, home-grown domestically based automotive company. Over the years we’ve managed to attract foreign investment and leverage those investments into spin-off jobs and a state-of-the-art supply base, but last year’s dramatic events have finally given Canadians a direct ownership stake in a critical industrial sector. Rather than selling it off at the first opportunity, we should learn from the experience of other countries. A continuing public ownership stake would help us maximize the industry’s Canadian presence for years to come. That’s not just good for automotive communities, it’s also good for Canadian taxpayers, who will attain the biggest payoff for the money they’ve invested. Ken Lewenza is the president of the Canadian Auto Workers Union, which represents 225,000 workers across the country in 17 different sectors of the economy. E-mail Comments? E-mail com.

6 Canadian PLANT

June 2010

When it comes to forest management we choose our partners responsibly.


The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is one of the fastest growing and most respected forest certification systems in the world. We prefer suppliers certified to FSC’s high standards. It helps us make sure the fiber in our tissue The mark of responsible forestry

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products comes from sources that are managed with consideration for people, wildlife and the environment.

View the Understanding FSC Webinar now at ®/*Trademarks of Kimberly-Clark Worldwide, Inc. or its affiliates. Marques deposees de Kimberly-Clark Worldwide, Inc. ou de ses filiales. ©2010 KCWW. K01773 K4407-10-01

Reduce Today Respect Tomorrow

>> Economy


8 Canadian PLANT

G7 DEBT BURDEN 2010 general G7 debt-to-GDP ratio, % 250

70.7 67.7

65.5 I

III 2005


III 2006

Net Gross

III 2007


III 2008


III I 2009 2010





thousands 17,400

150 17,000 100 50 0










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n Ca


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Statistics Canada reports Canadian industries operated at 74.2% of their production capacity in the first quarter, up from 71.3% in the previous quarter. Manufacturing drove the increase with a 4.3% gain to 75 per cent. This surge follows gains of 3% and 2.2% in the previous two quarters. Leading 20 of the 21 industries showing growth were transportation equipment, primary metal, chemicals and machinery.

Canada has an edge among the G7 anada’s economic prospects continue to brighten with RBC Economics predicting GDP growth of 3.6% this year, and CIBC World Markets Inc. proclaiming Canada should lead other G7 nations over the next five to 10 years thanks to the economy’s strong fundamentals. Avery Shenfeld, CIBC's chief economist, cites in a CIBC report the abundance of resources, a steady financial system, favourable demographics, lower levels of government debt and the healthier state of corporate balance sheets as giving Canada an edge. Canada’s current federal deficit is 3% of GDP (5% including the provinces), which pales next to doubledigit deficit-to-GDP ratios for the US and the UK. If each country aimed to stabilize its debt-to-GDP ratio at 45%, Shenfield said Canada would require a retrenchment of less than 3% of GDP, while others would need fiscal cuts several times larger. “That doesn’t mean Canada won’t see a huge fiscal drag in 2011—we estimate that the swing from stimulus to restraint represents 2% of GDP headwind in that year,” said Shenfeld. “But thereafter, the pain will be much lighter here than elsewhere.” Canada’s economic growth will be driven by mediumterm trends in population and productivity. He said an economically active population fuelled by immigration is still set to grow faster than the populations of the US or Europe. An output boost is expected as businesses invest in productivity enhancing capital equipment. Corporate Canada is carrying less debt than US companies, leaving it more room to finance those plans. RBC’s Economic Outlook forecasts the 3.6% GDP growth after a first quarter surge of 6.1 per cent. “Looking ahead, positive signs in the job market indicate that the recovery will continue in the near term, as private investment increases following a sharp decline during the recession and core inflation remains on target,” said Craig Wright, the bank’s chief economist. Statistics Canada labour stats for May show jobs increased from April by 25,000—the fifth consecutive gain, while unemployment was unchanged at 8.1 per


With less gross and much less net debt compared to other G7 nations, Canada is well-positioned to outpace them over the next five years, according to a CIBC report.

cent. Growth came from sectors other than manufacturing, which increased just 0.2 per cent. And the number of manufacturing jobs is down 29,000 from a year ago, a drop of 1.6 per cent. However, Manpower Canada, a staffing services firm based in Toronto, reports a positive hiring climate in the coming quarter, according to responses to its most recent employment outlook survey from 1,900 employers across several industry sectors. Twenty-two per cent plan to increase their payrolls, 69% will maintain current staff levels and 6% anticipate cutbacks. Manpower says the 10% net employment outlook means employers anticipate a positive hiring climate. That’s up 3% from the previous quarter and up 11% from the same time last year. Mining (19%) and construction (15%) report the most favourable results. Manufacturers of durable goods anticipate a positive climate with a net outlook of 12%, an 8% improvement from the previous quarter. Manufacturers of non-durable goods have more modest expectations with a 5% outlook, the same as the previous quarter. PLANT, with files from Canadian Press Comments? E-mail


% 86 84 82 80 78 76 74 72 70 68 66 64

16,800 16,600







J M 2010

May employment was up 25,000 jobs from April, the fifth consecutive monthly increase, although the unemployment rate continued at 8.1 per cent. Manufacturing didn’t contribute much to the May job stats with growth of just 0.2 per cent. Ontario led the provinces with 18,000 jobs followed by Alberta with 15,000, Newfoundland and Labrador with 7,600 and Nova Scotia with 3,500. Job losses were reported in BC (10,000) and PEI (1,900). Little change was reported in the remaining provinces.


$ billions 45

seasonally adjusted

43 41 39



37 35 33 31

Imports Exports

29 27


J 2007

J 2008

J 2009

M 2010

Lower prices sent imports and exports into decline, but volumes for both rose for a third consecutive month, according to the Statistics Canada international merchandise trade report for April. The monthly export total was $32.9 billion, down from $3.3 billion in March, but volumes grew 0.4 per cent. Imports declined by $700 million to $32.8 billion, while volumes increased 0.2 per cent. Exports to the US were up 0.7% but down 5.5% to other countries. Imports from the US were up 0.9%, but declined 7% from other nations.

June 2010

IT for Industry << Technology

Kanban links with


Asset management system closes the communication gap

Checking inventory using RFID technology. PHOTO: iSTOCKPHOTO

By Noelle Stapinsky, Features Editor


anban has always been an integral part of lean manufacturing, streamlining production processes, shop-floor operations and inventory control. As the system evolved from the traditional, painfully manual, cards (or other objects) used to signal the need for an item to electronic kanban that uses radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, manufacturers got improved clarity and a more reliable way to track information as it progressed through their facilities. There’s just one problem. “It sort of stopped there,” says Dave Suffecool, director of Seeburger Inc.’s solutions architects, an Atlanta-based supplier of global business integration solutions. “It never really got to the point that it was integrated into enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems and making sure that the replenishment orders were going out [automatically].” With RFID technology already employed, the information stream is there, but getting the ekanban system and the ERP system to communicate would eliminate manual data entry, and allow full integration of inventory and production planning. Seeburger’s end-to-end eKanban Asset Management makes such integration possible. It’s the first to combine hands-free RFID consumption monitoring, ERP calculation of inventory based on production, and an electronic data interchange (EDI) for both production line and vendor inventory replenishments. Seeburger’s new ekanban module and business integration server (BIS) connects RFID equipment, ERP and warehouse management systems (WMS) to automate goods receiving, and allow real-time production line consumption visibility, automatic inventory updating and warehouse and vendor replenishment based on ERP pull signals.

If the ERP and kanban aren’t reporting the same required order, operators can put it on hold until it’s been validated. For instance, if an ERP system hits its reorder point and the quantity is 1,000 pieces, but the operator sees ekanban signals throughout the facility and knows there’s a special project, he can boost the order to 2,000 pieces. Once an order is validated, the system automatically signals suppliers using EDI/B2B messaging, improving visibility of supplier bulk shipments and eliminating the need for suppliers to log onto a portal to monitor pull signals. The first implementation was at a Bosch Group automotive production site in Germany where the Seeburger system is being used to direct parts to the appropriate assembly lines. “The implementation took a couple of months. Bosch was able to save so much production time by getting more accurate inventory reports and reducing inventory levels, that its return on investment (ROI) was between one and two months,” says Suffecool. Seeburger has also completed a pilot project with a consumer electronics company in Asia. The system can be customized to any industry operation— from retail suppliers to manufacturers—and integrate with whatever RFID technology used by the facilities. What’s the price of taking lean manufacturing and inventory replenishment to the next level? Suffecool says excluding RFID, the full software with all the modules, ERP integration and the consulting services to get it up and running (depending on the size of the system) ranges from $300,000 to $500,000. But if it’s a pilot project for a single store or point of entry, “we’re talking half that price.”

>> Plantware Smarter plant floor display Arista Corp. expands functionality beyond what a typical LCD message board can deliver on the plant floor with its large-screen BoxPC100T marquee. It displays anything from day-to-day operational visual communications to sudden changes in routine, urgent emergency notices, current notable internet news items and graphics. Arista, a manufacturer of industrial computers based in Fremont, Calif., says the unit can be controlled through your network or the internet, across the building or across the country. Integrated monitor mounting brackets on both sides (100 mm VESA Mounting Standard, front and back) allow the installation of backto-back high visibility dual monitor installation. The system, which will support XP Pro, Xpe, WinCE and Linux, includes: optional 1x2.5-in. IDE HDD, optional Compact Flash; PS/2 Keyboard and Mouse connectors; USB 2.0; and gigabit LAN.

Save on multi-camera apps DALSA Corp.’s new GEVA (or GigE Vision Appliance) expands the performance platform for a host of industrial inspection tasks. Compatible with the full range of DALSA Genie and Spyder3 cameras, GEVA cuts the costs of multi-camera vision applications, such as the final inspection of large assemblies. The Waterloo, Ont. manufacturer of machine vision systems says the high bandwidth GigE camera ports are compatible with a wide range of mono or colour, area and line scan GigE cameras, which can be mixed to suit the application needs. And you can lower system costs by using commercially available network technologies for camera expansion.

Noelle Stapinsky is the features editor of Canadian PLANT and Canadian E-mail Comments? E-mail

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Validating inventory The information flows automatically from the RFID system for validation and reformatting to meet ERP requirements. “If a kanban card is showing that something is being moved through the process that was never put in inventory, the system will do a validity check,” says Suffecool. “And if an ekanban bin holds 100 [parts or components], then all of a sudden it’s saying there are 1,000 in the bin, it validates that as well.” Once inventory passes all validity checks, the information is passed to the ERP system, which sends a status report saying it has accepted the information and passes the validated information back to the kanban system. “So there’s a two-way communication to make sure the two systems are synchronized,” says Suffecool. But sometimes, the kanban and the ERP can be at odds with each other. The kanban system may indicate it’s time to reorder something, but instead of an operator manually placing the order, that information is passed to the ERP, which has its own reorder point quantities.

Canadian PLANT 9 7PLNT15928.indd 1

3/20/07 12:32:48 PM


>> Revenue Growth

Marport invests in growth R&D builds its advanced sonar software and systems business By Noelle Stapinsky, Features Editor


ife at sea is in Newfoundland native Karl Kenny’s blood: fishing the deep blue Atlantic has been the livelihood of his family for centuries. Blessed with steady sea legs, he attended naval college and got his underwater experience serving as a Canadian Navy officer on a submarine where sonar is the only way to navigate and communicate. So this entrepreneur knew a great opportunity when he saw one and acquired an Icelandic company established in 1996 called Marport to develop and manufacture acoustic sensing and communication instruments, and software. Marport president and CEO Kenny set up a corporate structure called Marport Canada in 2003 with only four employees. Headquartered in Newfoundland, the company and its subsidiaries are Canadian owned and controlled. Since its Canadian inception, the company has rapidly expanded, employing more than 100 people, with a revenue growth in the last five years of 5,234 per cent. Such aggressive growth has earned it the number five spot on PROFIT magazine’s annual ranking of Canada’s fastest growing companies. The PROFIT 100, now in its 22nd year, ranks 200 companies—the top 100 and the “next 100”—by their five-year revenue growth rates, which are calculated using a base-year revenue of at least $200,000. This year’s top 100 averaged an impressive 1,753 per cent growth rate. The St. John’s-based Marport specializes in products for commercial fisheries, underwater defence, offshore energy and ocean science markets. It builds instruments and sensor systems that attach to fishing nets for monitoring and measuring hydro-dynamic performance. For the underwater defence sector it

supplies technology for applications such as harbour and port security, and antisubmarine warfare. Global competition in this technology sector is robust, but what sets Marport apart is the versatility of its software. According to Kenny, the marine industry has been centered on hardware. “A traditional piece of equipment is designed for one application and it pretty much has a single function,” says Kenny. “You can’t change its functionality, upgrade it or Marport president and CEO Karl Kenny and David Shea, lead engineer on the Unmanned reprogram it dynamically. So you’re basiUnderwater Vehicle (UUV) project, checking out a dismantled unit. PHOTO: MARPORT cally limited to a single function because it’s locked down by the nature of the design and architecture.” take $5 to $10 dollars to turn it into a commercial sucConventional hardware used in the marine industry cess.” would be equivalent to having one computer for e-mail, Most companies know that long-term success hinges one for the internet, and one for word processing. on a continuous stream of products, yet many continue “You buy a computer, but the value of your computer to develop only one at a time. is what you create with it, the software on it and the “In my humble opinion, by doing that they’re failing content that you use, not the hardware,” says Kenny. to embrace the compatibility, standardization, modular“As far as I’m concerned hardware is passé.” ization and commonality of actually building a product platform,” says Kenny. “Instead of doing a single one-off type of product over and over again, companies should Revolutionary technology be developing families of products that share common What Marport has done—as simple as it might sound— components and technology.” is disruptive in the marine electronics industry because Marport’s product platform has allowed it to get to its Software Defined Sonar (SDS) platform has a softmarket quickly because it’s able to build new products ware centric architecture that allows the implementain months rather than years. tion of future-proof, multi-function, multi-frequency and With over a dozen patents pending and a couple about multi-protocol sonar systems, customized according to to be issued in the next two months, Marport’s shop user operation requirements. floor mantra is: innovate or die. Developing revolutionary technology is one thing, getThe company is investing about 20% of annual reveting it to market is quite another. nue into R&D, which Kenny acknowledges is quite high. “[Commercialization] is where a lot of companies “We have to move hard and fast to get these products fail to make the grade,” says Kenny. “If you’re going to out there and compete against competitors who are as spend one dollar on developing a product, it’s going to hungry as we are for market share. To do that you have to keep writing the cheques.” Marport has R&D facilities in St. John’s, NL, Ottawa—where it has a joint R&D centre with General Dynamics—and in France, which handles its embedded systems. It also has a 40,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Cornwall, Ont. Currently, it supplies to 60% of the world’s major industrial fishing companies and it recently signed a multi-million dollar contract with General Dynamics to develop next generation underwater defense products. Other defense companies include: L3, the Canadian Navy, US Navy and the Royal Swedish Navy. Fishing and defense are its two largest markets, but it’s also looking at leveraging its products into offshore energy and ocean science. Kenny, who never gives up a chance to go salmon fishing in Labrador every July, says this kind of work is actually kind of relaxing. With such innovation and R&D at his fingertips, he must have some unique lures in his tackle box, but as he says, “a good fisherman never tells his secrets.” Noelle Stapinsky is the features editor of Canadian PLANT and Canadian E-mail Comments? E-mail com.

10 Canadian PLANT

June 2010

Contingency Planning << Management

Need emergency back-up?

By Uwe Manski


anaging a business through continuing economic or market upheavals while contending with daily competitive pressures means few manufacturers are finding the time for contingency planning. Yet serious challenges arise unexpectedly such as declining profitability, difficulties securing financing, plunging cash flow or even the sudden illness of a key manager. Management teams need to prepare comprehensive contingency plans but those without the time or resources to do so have another option: an interim manager with specialized business experience to devise practical solutions for pending or immediate emergencies. Take ZYZ Manufacturing (company and executive names have been changed), which found itself in a precarious financial situation when Hugo, the owner, learned cash flow was rapidly deteriorating as a result of aging accounts. Lacking someone internally with sufficient experience to address the situation, he hired an external interim manager with extensive experience in collections and troubled accounts receivable. She launched a review of the company’s credit policies and determined that while ZYZ had established credit limits for new customers, there were no aging limits for accounts. As a result, there were a dozen accounts with payments outstanding for more than 60 days.

ZYZ instituted a focused collection process on all accounts over 45 days and within a month $160,000 was collected. New policies for credit and aging limits were established and the management team was trained to implement the new system with a few simple processes for monitoring aging accounts receivable and related cash flow. Health issues can also create a disruptive internal crisis. When the general manager of ABA Manufacturing (company name changed) needed emergency heart surgery, no one within the management team had the expertise to fill in while he was on medical leave. An interim management firm provided an executive with extensive experience in the manufacturing sector.

Crisis managed Within two days of the executive’s surgery, the interim manager joined ABA full-time, assuming all of the general manager’s duties. He took control of the company’s multinational manufacturing and sales operations, managed the accounting team, worked with department heads to ensure that production targets and customer commitments would be achieved, and provided strategic leadership and guidance to the other members of the management team. Interim managers may work individually, or, when complex operational and financial challenges are involved, as a team of specialists, each with a specific discipline, to develop integrated solutions. Thus, when ABA had to negotiate several important overseas contracts, the interim management firm also supplied a tax specialist with transfer pricing expertise to assist with the tax-efficient arrangements. When the general manager returned to work three months later, the contracts

Consider an interim manager to help with an immediate or pending crisis were in place, ABA had met production targets and customer commitments, and finances were in line with forecasts. Serious financial challenges are among the most common reasons business leaders seek interim management assistance. A company may need additional capital to manage through a period of low or no cash flow. Yet businesses in these situations are often unable to access the needed financing from traditional lenders. In such cases, an interim manager will identify the best alternatives to preserve the value of the company, negotiate with lenders and creditors and implement remedial strategies. In other cases, a company’s performance may be trending downward and the internal management team may be unable to identify or control the causes. At ZYZ the interim manager implemented protective measures to reverse the trend and identified additional areas within the organization that presented opportunities to enhance performance and profitability, including numerous enhancements to the billing process. When business doesn’t quite go according to plan, interim management offers a back-up that will help guide an enterprise back on its path to success.

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Canadian PLANT 11


>> Fabricated Plastics

G-Plus gets more with flexible


Small Quebec plastics firm turns customization capabilities into big opportunities By Noelle Stapinsky, Features Editor


ining operations use a lot of steel for structural and other elements where the damp, subterranean work areas make weight and corrosion issues central to part and component design. Developing fabricated plastics as alternatives for mining and other industries is the territory a small Quebec plastics fabricator has staked out for itself with an annual investment in R&D and a commitment to innovation. G-Plus Industrial Plastics Inc., which started out as a small operation in Northern Quebec in 1995, has developed a wide range of fabricated plastics that offer a lighter, corrosion-free alternative to steel parts and components that will save mines and companies in other industries capital and maintenance costs. Its 10,000 square-foot facility is in Rouyn-Noranda, Que., a mining hot spot since the 1920s where the largest gold deposit in Canada was discovered. The company, owned and operated by husband and wife Dan Gagnon (president) and Nina Dion (general manager), brings in about $2 million annually and employs 19 people who develop and produce a range of fabricated plastic solutions. They include raise buckets for transporting equipment underground, guards for conveyor systems and other machinery, explosives boxes, tanks, filters, chutes, gutters and ventilation ducting. And up to 5% of its annual earnings go into inten-

sive R&D efforts. The breadth of its capabilities is evident even in the company name—if you say G-Plus in French [J’ai plus] it means, “I have more”. “We can make conveyor guards that are double the size and only half the weight of steel,” says Stephan Tapp, GPlus’s marketing development manager. And for many industrial operations, maintaining steel is often laborious—it must be repainted to cover scratches and rust-proofed or replaced. Plastic is lighter, improves a tool’s life span and requires little maintenance. G-Plus uses fibre-reinforced plastic (FRP) for guarding products. It also stocks HDP, UHMW, HMW, polycarbonate, Teflon and nylon—transforming the sheets and rods in many different ways. Tapp likens it to working with wood, but instead of using nails and screws, the plastic is welded, a technique that’s not new but difficult to master. Raise buckets used to transport equipment in underground mining operations are made with UHMW because it’s half the weight of steel and the price point is about the same. “Steel raise buckets only last about a year. And we used to guarantee our [UHMW] raise buckets for a full year until we realized that the first ones we sold 15 years ago were still working,” laughs Tapp. In the beginning, one of the company’s biggest challenges was convincing min-

ing operations to try its plastic alternatives. It has persevered and now supplies to many operations in Quebec, northern Ontario and even as far as Singapore.

Custom flexibility About 90% of the product line is customized for company’s like Xstrata Zinc. The mill industry customer needed to upgrade guarding at a plant that had been closed for several years. G-Plus worked with Xstrata to establish safeguarding for more than 30 conveyor systems, 170 flotation cells and replaced many pump guards. For a manufacturing application, a Pennsylvania company approached GPlus at a trade show seeking guarding for mills and hoist brake assemblies. The company also distributes a unique piece of mining equipment called the Spoutnik. In the grittier days of mining, the ore passes that moved the mineral into position to be lifted to the surface would sometimes get blocked. Breaking up the obstruction involved some poor bloke climbing up a ladder with explosives. Serge Dion—Nina’s father—invented the Spoutnik, a one-time use, compressed air powered system that positions the explosives and blasts blockages safely. G-Plus’s innovative efforts were recognized with innovation and export awards from its local chamber of commerce, and the company was recently awarded $160,158 in funding from the

G-Plus guards limit access to moving parts on conveyor belts.  PHOTO: G-PLUS

federal government. This funding that comes through the Canada Economic Development Business and regional growth program, will be used to buy new equipment and help G-Plus implement a commercialization strategy to expand its customer base. “We just purchased an automated router table to make custom sizes for our conveyor guards,” says Tapp. “With this machine, we’ll be able to adapt to any situation.” The company also has a new office in Sudbury, Ont. and plans to add 2,000 square feet to its Quebec location to handle an expected upswing business. For a small Quebec firm, G-Plus’s innovative culture and diverse abilities put it in a good position for global expansion in a variety of markets, a strategy that will certainly get it “more,” as the company name suggests. Noelle Stapinsky is the features editor of Canadian PLANT and Canadian E-mail noelle. Comments? E-mail joe.terrett@plant.

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12 Canadian PLANT

June 2010

Materials Handling << Operations

Harness 25 tons of lift with a C25,000 Combilift debuts super-sized forklift and a double-stacking container carrier By Joe Terrett, Editor


n the manufacturing, forestry and construction sectors, thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s inevitably a lot of big stuff to move around. Combilift Ltd., the Irish long-load handling specialist, has rolled out the first of its new 25-ton forklifts designed to handle big jobs such as fabricated structures, large-diameter pipes, timber or even modular data centres. Its C25,000 model is one of two new products recently unveiled at Combiliftâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s headquarters and plant in County Monaghan, Ireland to journalists representing trade publications (PLANT among them) flown in at its own expense from 30 of its 50 world markets. This truck, the largest in Combiliftâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s line-up, is powered by a 170 hp John Deere 6068 HF engine and measures 5 by 5 metres, with a 3.2-metre-high cab. One of the unique features of its trucks is three-wheel, four-way manoeuvrability. It allows an operator to pick up a load, back up, turn the wheels 90 degrees and head out, thus eliminating the need for the wide turning arc other forklifts require. However, putting proportionate single wheels on the C25,000 would have resulted in an unworkable platform height, so Combiliftâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s engineers put double wheels on the front and back ends to keep the height of the 2,600-millimetre platform to 1,150 millimetres. The fork section is 120 by 300 by 2,600 millimetres. Manually adjusting the forks, which have a 4-metre reach and outside spread of 2,400 millimetres, would also be a challenge so the trucks sport hydraulic fork positioners. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The mast moves in and out like a regular Combilift, and can handle a 20-foot container,â&#x20AC;? said Martin McVicar, managing director and one of Combiliftâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s founders and owners, at the truckâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s debut.

Moving data centres The first one off the line is in operation at the BladeRoom Groupâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s plant in Cinderford, Gloucestershire, in the UK. The company makes modular data centres that save energy keeping computer servers cool. The C25,000 will be used to move around the 18-ton, fully fitted 14- by 4.2-metre units. The company is using it instead of costly overhead gantry cranes or a gigantic counterbalance truck, deemed too big for the manufacturing area. Whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the cost of one of these supersized trucks? McVicar puts the Canadian price at about $500,000. For specs link to En/PRODUCTINFORMATION.aspx and click on â&#x20AC;&#x153;C-Series.â&#x20AC;? Combiliftâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s other new product for dis-

A C25,000, big enough to move a pre-engineered modular data centre.

The Combi-Stacker Carrier demonstrating its doublestacking capabilities. PHOTOS: COMBILIFT

tributors, shippers or haulers with lowish through-put is a Combi-Staddle Carrier for quick loading or unloading of 20- to 45-foot containers. The demonstration model was a fourwheel version (Combilift also makes a three-wheel version) customized for Aggreko plc, which makes and rents temporary power units and temperature control products for the global market. The company, looking for an alternative to a costly system of cranes and trailers, determined a conventional reach stacker

capable of doing the job would have an unladen weight of 70 tons. That would place too much pressure on the plant floor in Dumbarton, Scotland, which would require costly reinforcement. Comibilift said Aggrekoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s CombiStraddle Carrier, a third of the price of a reach stacker ($200,000 Canadian, said McVicar), is four-times lighter, even when itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s used to carry two generators at its 35-tonne capacity. Aggreko moves 115 units weekly. Taking one from production to loading for

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dispatch takes less than three minutes. The operatorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s cab at ground level provides a 360-degree view. During the demonstration, the Combilift vehicle quickly and easily positioned itself over the trailer to hook up and lift a 20-foot container. Its telescopic design allowed the vehicle to move the container inside a warehouse space for double stacking. Bottom line, Aggreko eliminates the pile-up of trailers on site waiting to be loaded and unloaded, stuffing/unstuffing will be much safer at ground-level and McVicar estimates the company will save about 100,000 euros a year. Comments? E-mail joe.terrett@plant.

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Canadian PLANT 13 Safety_Tags 1-3V.indd 1

4/14/09 3:03:33 PM


>> Maintenance

systems clean Keeping hydraulic

>> Safety

tips for controlling contaminants Demonstrating a confined-space rescue. 

By Steve Gahbauer, contributing editor PHOTO: NOELLE STAPINSKY

Protecting workers in tight spaces CSA introduces new guidelines for worker safety By Noelle Stapinsky, Features Editor


hen the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) announced a new national standard for working in confined spaces, I looked at the three cubicle walls closing in around me, my chair crammed between a filing cabinet and a “space-saving” Ikea closet, and the stacks of paper just waiting to bury me alive. Of course, there are much more dangerous workspaces. Every day in Canada, even the most skilled workers in extremely confined spaces can become trapped, injured or subjected to toxins. A Canadian first, the CSA has defined confined environments in a new national standard as “a workspace that is fully or partially enclosed; not designed or intended for continuous human occupancy and has limited or restricted access…” Z1006 Management of Work in Confined Spaces is meant to help managers, workers and rescuers identify potential risks and create action plans to prevent accidents and coordinating rescue procedures. “More than 60% of confined space fatalities are rescue workers,” says Suzanne Kiraly, the newly appointed president of CSA Standards. “Industry statistics say that 80% of those accidents could be avoided.” Almost all industries require workers to enter cramped spaces, such as shipping containers, pump stations, boilers, chemical tanks and underground tunnels. Kiraly recalled an accident in 2006 that involved a worker who entered a water sampling shed at a BC mining site to look for a missing co-worker. He called 911 after finding the man’s body and soon collapsed. Two paramedics responded and also died from a lack of oxygen. “This standard gives fire services, governments, workers and manufacturers one consistent approach,” says Kiraly. “It’s a tool for governments across the country to use or reference in legislation.” Although the Z1006 standard is not mandatory, Jim Armstrong, chief of client services for Safe Workplace Promotion Services Ontario, notes it helps translate the language of regulatory standards, and “we hope workplaces embrace this standard.” Currently, standards and regulations for such workplace safety vary across the country, but Z1006 offers a national regulation. Various federal, provincial and occupational health and safety government agencies funded Z1006’s development by industry experts from various sectors including steel, energy, manufacturing, chemical, petro-chemical, emergency services, pulp and paper, mining, railway and telecommunications. CSA is accepting pre-orders for English versions, with French issues to follow this summer.

14 Canadian PLANT


onitoring and controlling contaminants is key to the management of hydraulic fluids. Air, water, particulates and heat threaten hydraulic equipment in the same way they affect oil and components, raising the risk of failure and reducing machine capacity. In a technical presentation to the Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers (STLE) in Hamilton, Larry Feldcamp, president of Feldcamp Equipment Ltd. in North Bay, Ont., talked about the importance of hydraulic filtration and the need for proper hydraulic tank design. He says to control entrained air, the tank should be divided into a high flow zone and a quiet zone, then allow for a dwell time of 4:1 or 5:1 ratio. A tank for, say, a 50-gallon-per-minute pump flow should thus have a capacity of 200 gallons. The high flow zone should be changed out every three to 10 minutes. This allows the air to dissipate. Locations for hydraulic filtration are critical. Remember that so-called “new oil” out of the drum is 10 to 20 times too contaminated for use in a hydraulic system, hence the need for filtration. Feldcamp says that most hydraulic pump manufacturers don’t like to have suction filters or strainers on the suction lines installed in the system. Strainers have too fine a mesh that can cause clogging and cavitation. Besides, they’re not filters and are typically too fine to act as orifices to the pump. If used at all, they should not be mounted vertically because air will be trapped in the cap. When mounted horizontally, the air is often captured on the underside of

the fine mesh. The best way to mount them is at a 45-degree angle to allow trapped air to get out of the cap and to run along the pleats. Strainer mesh should be open enough for a strainer pressure drop of virtually zero. Using pressure is an effective way to filter hydraulic fluid. A pressure filter protects the valving and actuators in the system against contamination coming from the pump. Unless the valve components are very sensitive, Feldcamp recommends 10- or 20-micron absolute elements with an initial pressure drop at full flow of no more than 25% of the indicator setting. This provides adequate component protection and a reasonable element life. A “no bypass” design filter assures that no contamination gets from the pump to the actuators and valves. Some points to remember: • Do not overfilter; use a 10- or 20-micron element. Call up pressure filters that use easy-to-recycle coreless elements. Dirty elements will affect machine performance. Install the largest possible filter with the greatest dirt-holding ability in the return line of the system. Specify the highest bypass valve available, typically 35 to 75 psi, then call up the visual and electrical indicators and switches with the next-lowest setting, typically 15 to 20 psi below the bypass setting. This gives the operator a warning to change the element when necessary. • There are filters with no bowls, environmentally friendly elements, and designs with nonmetallic elements and reusable bowls. • Filters with water removal capabilities absorb free water in hydraulic oils. Install them on the drain lines of all supercharged pumps and/or valves in the system. • Breathers can have desiccant materials that absorb

>> Tech Tip

Verifying chiller motor conditions


his time of year many plants are starting up their chillers. Common testing for electric motors includes vibration analysis for mechanical components and insulation resistance (Meg-Ohm) testing for winding insulation. However, vibration analysis may miss critical findings due to insulation resistance and the location of bearings and mechanical components. High-voltage tests are frowned upon by a number of hermetic chiller manufacturers, while improper information arising from the interpretation of results and understanding test standards create additional challenges. Modern technologies that combine electrical signature analysis (ESA) and motor circuit analysis (MCA) using the methodology presented in IEEE Std 1415-2006 verifies the condition of a chiller motor. ESA uses the voltage and current information to evaluate the power supply, dynamic condition of the motor’s electrical and mechanical components, and the general condition of the driven equipment. The technology detects broken rotor bars and bearing issues with a high degree of accuracy and also trends conditions for time to failure estimation (TTFE) as part of a predictive maintenance program. Moisture and acids in refrigerants and lubricating oils, and coil movement during start-up wear away the inter-turn and ground wall insulation systems within the machines. The MCA method avoids the issue of high voltage testing,

Plumbing for a chiller system at a manufacturing facility.  PHOTO: iSTOCKPHOTO both for winding shorts and insulation-to-ground fault aggravation, through the use of a series of low voltage techniques that can not only detect faults but also trend degradation and contaminant impact on motor windings. Perform testing while the equipment is de-energized, which allows the evaluation to be done before start-up with each cooling season. While the IEEE Std 43-2000 calls for 5 MegOhms in machines under 1,000 volts and 100 Meg-Ohms in machines over 1,000 volts, hermetic machines typically have much lower readings before start-up. Source: Motor Diagnostics and Motor Health News, with permission.

June 2010

>>Think Lean

Master the art of sustaining lean performance By Richard Kunst


Common threats to manufacturing machinery are air, moisture, machine particles, process chemicals, heat, microbes and atmospheric particulates.  PHOTO: iSTOCKPHOTO

water and water vapour as well as dirt, before these contaminants enter the reservoir. • Various devices are on the market for monitoring filtration systems. They can be useful, but employ them with care. They tell the operator to change the filter element after it’s dirty, while paying no attention to the actual condition of the oil. On-line, full-time monitoring of the condition of hydraulic fluids is the only way to go. Particle counters are expensive and fragile and often do not perform continuous monitoring. It’s better to use dirt contamination and water sensors that monitor both dirt and water levels and water-in-oil levels. They are economical to purchase and run, allow pre-emptive maintenance and are on-line all the time. They’re tough and durable and can be used in both stationary and mobile equipment. • Avoid falling into the trap of hour-based maintenance schedules for filter changes. Many companies change filters every 100 hours, whether the system needs it or not. This is costly and ineffective. Use a dirt and water sensor for better filtration. It saves time and money, and it reduces environmental disposal costs. • Choose filtration that will do the job properly. This means using a number of filters that provide adequate filtration, picking pressure filters that are reasonably fine but don’t quickly clog up, return filters that keep the system cleaner than it needs to be, and employing water removal filters and breathers. Strive for continuous on-line monitoring of dirt and water contamination, and don’t shop around for “will fit” filters. In an article about industrial fluid contaminants and their effects, Mike Johnson, contributing editor for Tribology & Lubrication Technology magazine, a STLE publication, points out a hydraulic system is limited by

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the type and concentration of contaminants, therefore contamination control of sump pumps is necessary to preserve machine function and component health for all mechanical systems. He says without it, few systems could achieve their intended purpose or life cycle. The most common degradation threats to manufacturing machinery are air, moisture, machine particles, process chemicals, heat, microbes, and atmospheric particulates. Common atmospheric dust particles are harder than machine steel surfaces and their abrasive action causes pitting and deforming. In another article on lubricant management, Johnson states the obvious: hydraulic lubricant degradation starts with poor lubricant condition controls. Ingression at vent ports and shaft seals and poor lubricant handling contribute significantly to oil degradation. To minimize it, vent breathers help prevent much of the contamination from air. Replacing lip seals with bearing isolators helps limit ingression across the shaft to housing interfaces, and lubricant prefiltration is a must for high-criticality machines. Sidestream filtration should also be used systematically as a machine preventive maintenance task to improve fluid conditions and protect machine health. Every plant has machines that are operated by hydraulic fluids. Managing them effectively offers countless opportunities to save energy, time and money, and to reduce required maintenance of hydraulic equipment. Steve Gahbauer is an engineer, a Toronto-based freelance writer and the former engineering editor of PLANT. E-mail

ou implemented lean, the results were spectacular and the metrics indicated success, but six months later the enthusiasm has subsided, performance is falling back to old levels and the program is no longer considered a prime initiative. What happened? Shallow lean, which comes from quick results without the sustaining glue. Typical causes include: • Implementing business and manufacturing improvements using lean techniques without understanding the dynamics of your markets, customers and business culture. • Jumping into disconnected lean projects using a few key people but without senior leadership or an overall road map. • Executing without creating customer value propositions, business infrastructure, lean maturity planning, or changing your cultural values to sustain performance. • Deploying short-term results at the expense of long-term cultural transformation. So what’s that sustaining glue? Systemic lean builds a receptive culture with values and an infrastructure that senior management deems to be a leadership priority. It’s about making a personal commitment and having the vision to transform business culture by adopting lean performance characteristics. This is an everyone-in process. Shortcuts are not allowed. New performance goals must be defined and communicated to everyone with results relating to waste reduction, customer value and cycle-time reduction. Practice enterprise lean to make business and manufacturing processes from order processing to shipping free of inefficiencies, waste, and unnecessary time while providing customers with the highest possible value. Waste can comprise more than 30% of an operating budget. Elements of waste include: excessive administration, customer myopia, overproduction, use of resources to cover up problems, extra inventory, transportation and excessive use of indirect staff. Study your customers’ current and future requirements to ensure your business processes, products and services, with their associated value, meet your customers’ changing requirements. What you offer today may not meet solutions in the future. Know and change your capabilities to gain and sustain customer loyalty. The transformation to customer value is a prerequisite for sustaining lean performance. Senior management must lead the charge with a strong vision, long-range implementation plans, and unwavering commitment. Sustaining vision is amplified and transformed into operational values. Applied lean values support customer values and, if successfully practised, cause positive change within the business culture. This journey is not fast or easy, but it is the proven path to sustaining lean performance. Is it worth the effort? Yes. It can add 30% to your bottom line. Richard Kunst is president and CEO of Kunst Solutions Corp., which publishes the Lean Thoughts e-newsletter. Contact him at Comments? E-mail

Comments? E-mail Reduce Water Consumption New handbook from Spraying Systems Co. addresses how to conserve water in spray operations without compromising performance. More than two dozen easy-toimplement suggestions are provided along with several case studies showing how simple changes can lead to saving millions of gallons of water per year. Spraying Systems Co. 1-800-95-SPRAY

Get connected • Regular news updates • Online-only features

• Access to research, reports • Digital edition of Canadian PLANT

Canadian PLANT 15 MAR-2010-LIT.indd 1

2/22/10 1:07:22


>> Exporting

Develop a detailed marketing plan By Mark Drake


n a recent special report, The Economist noted that emerging markets are among the toughest in the world where distribution systems can be hopeless, income streams unpredictable, pollution lung searing, governments infuriating and sometimes failing to provide basic services. “Pirating can squeeze profits, and poverty is ubiquitous.” This fairly accurate description underlines the importance of developing a comprehensive marketing plan. To manage successful entry into a new market the Forum for International Trade Training (FITT) suggests your plan should cover: • The business. Set out a brief summary of the product or service, the organization’s business objectives and the competitive advantages. • Market selection. Draft an outline of the selected market and the reasons for choosing it, including the overall role it will play in the organization’s operations. • Market research. Provide details of the research used to determine the choice of this particular market, including the sources of information. • Market characteristics. This is where the depth of market analysis is revealed and it should include answers

The potential market is huge: populations are already much “bigger than in the developed world… ” to the following questions: What domestic and foreign competitors are already in the market? What are their strengths and weaknesses and approximate market shares? Is there an appropriate niche market opening? Will sales be to industrial businesses or retail consumers? Large or small, public or private? How large is the overall market and what drives the main buying decisions? How different is the new market likely to be from the domestic one (or from other export markets already being serviced), and what challenges will have to be met to satisfy potential demand? Languages, customs, and the importance of relationships are likely to be different. What are the sales and margins likely to be and over what period? When will the operation break even? Have all the extra export-related costs been taken into account? Will prices be set for volume and market penetration, or for margin? Will margins be adequate to bring a reasonable contribution? Will market size allow for economies of scale? What local adaptations (such as technical, packaging or promotional)

1. 2. 3.



will be necessary for your product or service in the new market and have their costs been fully calculated? How will the market be penetrated? Depending on the nature of the product and the market, it may be by direct sales, through agents, representatives or distributors, by an independent trading house or a combination of these. It might even be more interesting to license a local partner, establish a joint marketing venture or set up a local assembly operation. Outline any local standards and potential bureaucratic, customs, tariff, or other barriers that may inhibit progress. Will profits be easily repatriated and is the currency stable? Evaluated anything that could affect the viability of the project. How will the product or service be promoted in the new market? Bill Roadside boards, print advertising, television and radio, the internet, or trade shows? The final plan could well involve a combination of these elements. How will products be delivered and distributed to the country concerned? What is the most cost-effective method and what challenges need to be overcome (such as poor local distribu-


7. 8.

tion networks or infrastructure)? Will local warehousing be necessary? Does the organization have contacts with freight forwarders and customs brokers? Who approves the plan? Who will handle action items from financial approvals to the details of product adaptation or translation of promotional literature? Are the skills available inhouse? Finally, how are results to be quantified, updates introduced and success measured? This may seem a lot of work but it’s worth it. Having outlined some of the challenges in these markets, The Economist says: “Opportunities are equally extraordinary. The potential market is huge: populations are already much bigger than in the developed world and growing much faster.” There’s more at (Emerging Markets), www.fitt. ca (Global Business Environment), the Canadian Marketing Association (www. and the usual government export-related web sites.


Mark Drake is former president of Electrovert Ltd. and of the Canadian Exporters’ Association. E-mail corsley@ Comments? E-mail joe.terrett@plant.


The report found that Canadian steel industry ships about $14 billion worth of products annually.  PHOTO: iSTOCKPHOTO

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Steel demand to pick up: CSPA study


study commissioned by the Canadian Steel Producers Association (CSPA) finds steel manufacturing is making a comeback as the global economy improves. The report, prepared by University of Toronto senior research fellow Peter Warrian, found that steel prices have fallen by about 15% to 20% from their peak in 2008. Meanwhile, a decline in capacity utilization since the recession hit has reduced employment in the industry by 25 per cent. But global steel demand is expected to rebound in 2010, and grow by 6% to 7% per year in 2011 and 2012. Warrian said developing economies require much more steel in the coming years, sparking increased demand. And North American markets could also pick up as economies emerge from the recession and require steel to fulfil investments in new and upgraded infrastructure. Even if demand for auto steel remains flat or declines, other applications could pick up and increase demand by 5 per cent. “The second factor, and potentially the big surprise, may be new uses of steel products in construction. On this basis, the market for flat-rolled steel could be at a tipping point and result in 20% growth over time,” he said. But the study also cautioned that Canadian producers could lose out because of subsidies and alleged dumping by China, which accounts for nearly half of the world’s steel production. “On average, over the last 10 years, China has added twice the size of the Canadian steel industry every year,” Warrian said. The report calls for reinforcement of anti-dumping and countervailing duties to combat the effects of China’s policies. Canadian Press

16 Canadian PLANT

June 2010

Product Showcase << Departments


Indoor sensing control

QS18 sees past reflection WORLD-BEAM QS18 adjustable-field foreground suppression sensors from Banner Engineering detect objects regardless of colour, reflectivity, surface irregularities or background conditions. Banner Engineering, a Minneapolis, Minn.based sensor manufacturer, says the compact QS18’s universal mounting design with a IP67-rated sealed housing makes installation and set-up quick and easy. The sensors operate in diffuse mode, detecting light returned by the background Deflects background light. while ignoring light returned by the object. The concept is similar to that of a polarized retro-reflective sensor; if the sensor can’t see the background, the output switches on indicating that the target object is present. Adjustable cut-off ranges include 15 to 40 mm and 30 to 200 mm. Use the short-range models for detecting thinner objects that are closer to the background.

DS-300 checks in-line flow rates Combine a Dwyer DS-300 capsuhelic differential pressure gauge with in-line flow sensors (Pitot tubes) and you have an economical, off-theshelf flow indicating system. Conventional Pitot tubes sense velocity pressure at only one point in the flowing stream. This means a series of measurements must be taken across the stream to obtain a meaningful average flow rate. The Dwyer flow sensor, with multiple sensing points and built-in averaging capability, eliminates the need to traverse the flowing stream. It inserts in the pipeline through a compression fitting and has instrument shut-off valves on both pressure connections. Valves are fitted with 1/8-in. female NPT connections. Accessories include adapters with 1/4-in. SAE 45

degree flared ends that are compatible with hoses supplied with the Model A-471 portable capsuhelic gauge kit. Standard valves are rated at 200 psig (13.7 bar) and 200 degrees F (93.3 degrees C). Where valves are not required, they can be omitted at reduced cost. Series DS-300 flow sensors are available for pipe sizes from one to 10 in. The DS-300 is distributed by ITM Instruments, an industrial instrument supplier in Ste-AnneDe-Bellevue, Que.

Multiple sensing points.

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Checks enviromental parameters.

They mount in walls or ducts and operate on 24 VAC/DC. Multiple output options include 0-10 V, 4-20 mA and switching. Carlo Gavazzi Automation is a Mississauga, Ont.-based manufacturer of electronic equipment.

LS5 Navigator works in the rough Kollmorgen’s LS5 Navigator, its fifth generation of laser navigation sensors, is tough enough to handle harsh environments. It withstands wide variations in temperature (-30 to 50 degrees C) and relative humidity to (< 95%) as well as mechanical stress such as vibrations and shocks. A new optics system maximizes measurement performance and Laser navigation. consistency, and the sensor is simple to replace because it’s adaptable to different types of communication. LS5 Navigator, in indoor and outdoor versions also works with AutoSurveyor, an easy-to-use software tool for automatic and accurate determination of reflector coordinates. Kollmorgen, based in Wood Dale, Ill., is a supplier of motion systems and components for machine builders.

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Minimize Overspray and Waste 10-06-08 New AutoJet® Model 1550 Modular Spray System from Spraying Systems Co. ensures accurate, precise placement of the liquid being sprayed to minimize waste and quality control problems. This easy-to-use, compact system provides automatic on/off control of spray nozzles and is ideal for coating, lubricating and marking operations.

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The Eagle NRG belt and sprocket reduces noise by as much as 19 dbs and vibration normally associated with synchronous drives by as much as 19 percent.

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ISA Automation Week ISA Oct. 4-7, Houston The International Society of Automation’s (ISA’s) technical automation conference will present techniques and solutions for creating more efficient, productive and economical manufacturing processes. ISA training courses and standards meetings will also be held concurrently. Visit CASEMAKER LIT1.indd   COMSOL Conference 2010 COMSOL Group Oct. 7-9, Boston The COMSOL Group, multiphysics modelling software provider, is hosting this gathering of engineers from a broad spectrum of industries for state-of-the-art multiphysics simulations. Visit

The CGES sensors from Carlo Gavazzi Automation measure indoor CO2, humidity, temperature and air velocity, When CO2 levels rise to an unacceptable level, the auto-calibrating sensors increase the fresh air supply to comply with ASHRAE 62-1989, which recommends a maximum concentration of 1,000 ppm indoors. CGES sensors also control humidity levels in wet climates elevating the workplace’s comfort level and discouraging the growth of mildew, while air velocity and temperature sensors keep indoor air temperatures at comfortable levels and maximize energy efficiency.

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3:42:02 PM

Rousseau Spider® Shelving System Rousseau’s Spider® Shelving System is built tough, easily assembled and adapts to evolving needs. Adding “R” drawers effectively organizes small parts and items and instantly increases storage capacity. Combining mini-racking with shelving is another option that solves storage challenges. Numerous options and accessories make Spider® the most versatile system available. CONTACT INFORMATION:

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Canadian PLANT 17

4:19 PM


>> Postscript

A new focus for environmentalists By Stephen Murgatroyd


hat a difference a year makes. Last year the environmental movement was gearing up for a major breakthrough at the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit, which was positioned as “the last chance” we had to save the planet. But polluters couldn’t agree with the small islands and the developing world so the negotiations fell apart, with a compromise “let’s-look-asif-we-might-save-the-planet” deal being signed off by a few countries at the end

Members of the public are disaffected by all the talk “about the need for a response to climate change … ” of a tough 10 days of negotiations. Now the environmental movement is hoping for a new reality that will culminate in new global climate change talks in Brazil later this year, but the game is up. There will not be a meaningful commitment to climate change mitigation involving all of the leading polluters, especially the US, China, India and Canada. What’s more, the general public in Canada, the US and Britain are all signalling that climate change is

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less of a priority for them now than it was five years ago. So now the environmental movement is going through its own metamorphoses. According to The Guardian (UK), “the economic case for global action to stop the destruction of the natural world is even more powerful than the argument for tackling climate change, a major report for the United Nations will declare this summer”—a fact reinforced by the psycho-

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logical, social and economic impacts of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. One reason for this shift is money. Many of the green organizations meant to be leading the fight to protect nature are busy securing funds from those who are also destroying the environment through mining and exploration. Sierra Club—the biggest green group in the US—was approached in 2008 by the maker of Clorox bleach, which said if the club endorsed its new range of “green” household cleaners, it would get a percentage of the sales. The club’s Corporate Accountability Committee said the deal created a blatant conflict of interest—but took it anyway. Money talks and it’s saying biodiversity and environmental impacts of pollution, deforestation, land use changes and other matters are more important than climate change.

Lack of action



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A second reason is public opinion. People are becoming disaffected by all the talk about the need for a response to climate change, lack of action and the costs of the actions that need to be taken. In the US, public support for action on climate change is down from 46% of the population to 36% in just one year. A third reason is political reality. Climate change as a policy strategy in the US and Canada is stuck and likely to be so for some time. However, major changes are taking place with respect to conservation, water, land use and air quality on both sides of the US-Canada divide and serious attention to conservation and clean up can be expected following the BP spill. Environmental groups are already gearing up to lobby on these issues, dusting off old policies and approaches from the early 1990s. Both the US and Canada are more likely to enact legislation on these issues than on transformative changes required to “stop” climate change. The final reason is the science of climate change remains problematic. While some would argue that the core science demonstrating the climate is changing due largely to the actions of people remains unchanged, the skeptics have gained sufficient ground over the last year to plant large trees of doubt. Worse, data from real world observations (as opposed to data from climate change models) provide opportunities for varying interpretations of the current state of the planet. For all these reasons, deforestation, water and land use will be the new focus for environmentalists, and that’s not a bad thing. Stephen Murgatroyd, based in Edmonton, is a management consultant and writer for the Calgary-based Troy Media. E-mail stephen.murgatroyd@troymedia. com. Comments? E-mail joe.terrett@plant.

18 Canadian PLANT

June 2010

How To Keep Your Electronics Cool When hot weather causes the electronics inside a control cabinet to fail, there is a panic to get the machinery up and running again. There are several cooling options out there and it’s important to know the facts. line up of coolers that are prone to bad behavior


Opening the panel door and aiming a fan at the circuit boards is a bad idea. • It is an OSHA violation that presents a shock hazard to personnel • The fan blows hot, humid, dirty air at the electronics • The cooling effect is minimal • It is likely to fail again since the environment is still hot

Reliable and mainten

These coolers are prone to failure in dirty, industrial environments when dust and dirt clogs the filter. • It takes almost a day to install • Vibration from machinery causes refrigerant leaks and component failures • Compressor life expectancy is typically 2.5 years of continuous operation • It requires a floor drain for the condensation • Average cost to replace a bad compressor is $750

These have serious limitations. On hot summer days when the temperatures of the room and inside of the enclosure are about equal, there’s not enough difference for effective heat exchange. • They fail when dust and dirt clogs the filter • The cooling capacity is limited due to ambient conditions

The “plastic box cooler” from a competitor uses an inaccurate mechanical thermostat that’s designed for liquids. This thermostat has a poor ability to react quickly to changes in air temperature. It costs up to 85% more to operate than EXAIR’s ETC Cabinet Cooler® System with the same SCFM rating and Btu/hr. output. • Electronics can overheat before it turns on • It runs far longer than necessary before shutting off • Increased cycle time wastes compressed air

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Spray Analysis

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Change the Way You Spray to Lower Operating Costs

1. PulsaJet® automatic spray nozzles provide extremely versatile performance, eliminating downtime for nozzle changeout. Flow rate can be adjusted to match changing line speeds or for different spray applications without changing pressure, spray angle or drop size. 2. AutoJet® Model 2250 spray controllers automatically adjust spray performance based on operating conditions to optimize performance. Manual labor is minimized and waste, chemical, water and energy use are reduced. 3. Motor-driven AA190 Tank Cleaners provide high-impact cleaning and remove stubborn residue. Automated tank cleaning eliminates manual labor and efficient operation eliminates overuse of chemicals and water and reduces energy and wastewater disposal costs.

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Minimize waste with automatic on/off control AutoJet Model 1550 Modular Spray System provides better on/off control of nozzles than manual operation or other devices like solenoid valves. Accurate placement of the sprayed liquid minimizes waste

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Volume 69, No. 05 June 2010 HIGHLIGHTS Link your Kanban with ERP 9 Crisis? Hire an interim troubleshooter 11 G-Plus flexes its R...