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Canadian lubrication technology makes the news

Toronto, ON -- It isn't often you get to read about topics of interest to plant maintenance and engineering profess...


Toronto, ON — It isn’t often you get to read about topics of interest to plant maintenance and engineering professionals in a national daily newspaper. But that was not the case on Saturday, April 15, 2006, when The Globe and Mail featured an article on a Canadian-designed lubrication system in its Focus section (on pg. F7 in case it hasn’t yet gone into the recycling bin).

‘On Track for High Speed’, by William Illsey Atkinson, a frequent contributor to the Globe’s science page, discusses how friction is a big obstacle to faster passenger trains, creating noise, wear and tear and increased cost, and how controlling it is so important.

He quotes Don Eadie, vice-president of technology for Kelsan Technologies of North Vancouver, B.C., a company that has developed methods to control high-speed friction.

Kelsan technology uses solid dry-stick lubricants mounted onboard a train’s locomotives and cars. The Kelsan lubricants, termed LCF for low coefficient of friction, constitute a kind of lip gloss for flanges, says Atkinson.

“Oddly enough,” he concludes, “Kelsan has unwittingly built on an old Canadian tradition. In 1872, Elijah McCoy, a young African-Canadian born to escaped U.S. slaves and educated as an engineer in Scotland, invented an automatic lubricator that saved engine crews from having to make frequent stops to oil their trains’ moving parts. His invention attracted a host of imitators, but none worked as well as the original — a fact now enshrined in a common idiom, the ‘real McCoy’.”

Here’s a link to the article on the Globe’s website (copy and paste it into the address area of your web browser): http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20060415.TRAIN15/TPStory//?pageRequested=3