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U.S. company buys western Canadian distribution businesses

Applied Industrial Technologies, headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, and Dynavest Corporation of Saskatoon, Sask., have signed a letter of intent for Applied to acquire certain distribution businesses o...


Applied Industrial Technologies, headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, and Dynavest Corporation of Saskatoon, Sask., have signed a letter of intent for Applied to acquire certain distribution businesses operating in western Canada as Bearing & Transmission (B&T), HyPower and All Agro Parts. The all-cash, asset purchase is expected to close in March.

The acquisition gives Applied its first physical presence outside the United States. The facilities, located in five provinces, include 24 bearing and power transmission systems service centres under the B&T identity, 15 fluid power service centres under the HyPower name, one central warehouse and three All Agro distribution centres serving specialized agricultural markets.

Together, these service centres employ about 350 people in a market stretching from Vancouver Island in British Columbia to Thunder Bay in Ontario and generate annual sales of approximately $107 million. No significant changes are expected to management, facilities or employment levels.

“B&T, HyPower and All Agro are respected within Canadian industry for their high quality of product, service and expertise,” said John C. Dannemiller, Applied chairman and CEO. “Our plan is for these to remain Canadian businesses run by Canadians with long tenure and keen insight into the needs of the local marketplace.”

“Once we decided to sell these businesses, Applied quickly emerged as the most logical and appealing partner,” said Brian Eidem, Dynavest chairman and CEO. “Applied operates with a strong sense of values, a commitment to Canadian management, expertise in systems and logistics, and a track record of extraordinary success in bearings, drive systems and fluid power technologies,” he said.

Dynavest vice-president Earl Eidem added, “We have worked well with Applied in the past few years in supplying the western Canadian facilities of some multi-national, shared customers. This co-operation has forged a strong day-to-day relationship.”

Dynavest is a privately held company. B&T, founded in 1948, distributes bearings, mechanical power transmission and specialty products to industrial customers in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. HyPower, founded in 1970, is a fluid power distributor with locations in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. All Agro, founded in 1997, supplies agricultural dealers and manufacturers in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

With 400 locations throughout the United States and Puerto Rico, Applied Industrial Technologies is a distributor of industrial products, including bearings and seals, power transmission and fluid power components, and general maintenance products and related specialty items. The company also provides mechanical, rubber and fluid power shop services.

NEW ALLOYS LEAD TOUGH LIVES IN THE FAST LANE

Designed for toughness and durability, high-precision, silicon-rich aluminum alloy components are the result of a pioneering British process that has created a new generation of super-alloys. These components can withstand tremendous extremes of heat, pressure and physical stress without wear or tear. Also, they have the ability to endure high temperatures without appreciable expansion, making them well-suited for use as packages and heat-sinks for high-performance electronics in modern aircraft and space vehicles.

Silicon-aluminum alloys have been in use for several years, but only recently has the development of a spray-forming technique in the United Kingdom enabled metallurgists to manufacture versions of the alloy containing up to 70% of silicon by weight. Until now, such silicon-rich aluminum alloys could not be made because conventional casting or powder-metallurgy techniques cause coarse silicon particles to form in the alloy, making it too brittle for use. Oxide contamination also occurs, creating weak points in the alloy.

Called the Osprey Process, this new technique enables alloys to be tailor-made for specific applications, using different proportions of silicon and aluminum to produce materials with exceptionally low rates of expansion. The result is a family of spray-formed alloys that are light in weight, highly conductive, inexpensive to make, easily machinable, environmentally sound, high in thermal conductivity and low in thermal expansion. Together, these properties make the super-alloys a premier choice as mounts and housings for critical, heat-producing electronic components.

The heat produced by these modern electronics packages can cause housings made with existing materials to expand, putting excessive stresses on microchip components and their carriers and connectors. These stresses lead to premature failure, sometimes causing serious damage to critical core equipment, resulting in costly repairs and delays.

For further information on this spray-forming technology, contact Dr. R. Gwynne Brooks, Osprey Metals, Red Jacket Works, Millands, Neath, West Glamorgan, United Kingdom, SA11 1NJ; tel. 011-44-1639-634121; fax 011-44-1539-630100; e-mail: gwyn.brooks@ospreymetals.co.uk.

MAINTENANCE WRITER RECEIVES PEMAC AWARD

In recognition of his dedication to the maintenance profession, the Plant Engineering and Maintenance Association of Canada (PEMAC) has presented Steve Gahbauer with its Sergio Guy Memorial Award. Gahbauer, an editor and writer of maintenance articles, received the honour during a PEMAC dinner meeting. “I am both elated and humbled, and I am touched by the board’s choice,” said Gahbauer. “I could not have received a better gift for my 70th birthday.” He celebrated his birthday on Nov. 30, 1999.

The annual award recognizes an individual’s outstanding contribution to the maintenance profession. For Gahbauer, that contribution has included many years of service on PEMAC’s board of directors, plus many articles and presentations on a variety of maintenance topics for Plant Management & Engineering magazine and later the Plant newspaper. “The award is intended for people who have made a major contribution to the field of plant engineering and maintenance,” said William Davison, president of PEMAC. (Editor’s note: Gahbauer joined PM&E as Engineering Editor of when I was its Editor in the early 1980s. It was clear then, as now, that his technical writing abilities and attention to detail were exceptional. He has been a strong supporter of PEMAC for many years, serving four years as the association’s executive director, and well deserves this acknowledgment for his commitment to his editorial profession and to the maintenance community.)

Last year’s recipient, the first to receive the award, was Dr. A.K.S. Jardine, a professor in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, faculty of Applied Science and Engineering, University of Toronto. Jardine is a prolific author of maintenance books and articles, as well as the co-inventor of two professional maintenance software systems.

NIAGARA COLLEGE OPENS INTEGRATED MANUFACTURING CAMPUS TO MEET DEMAND FOR SKILLED PERSONNELNiagara College has opened the doors of the Centre for Integrated Manufacturing Training and Applied Research (CIMTAR), a resource for manufacturers and students interested in pursuing high-tech manufacturing careers.

Funded in part by the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade – Strategic Skills Investment fund and donations from local employers, the centre offers academic programs and services related to the mechanical, manufacturing and quality engineering technician and technology courses, precision metal-cutting apprenticeship, return to work courses, customized employee upgrading courses and applied research for the manufacturing sector.

Established to address specific skill shortages in the manufacturing industry, CIMTAR will provide expert level integrated manufacturing system training for students in a number of disciplines, and will develop and pilot new models of integrated curriculum in skills training, apprenticeship, post-secondary and post-graduate programs. “Job creation is one of our government’s
top priorities,” said Ontario Economic Development and Trade Minister Al Palladini. “This partnership between Niagara College and the private sector will help us meet the increasing demand for highly skilled personnel.”

The centre, located at the college’s new Glendale campus, features five integrated equipment labs, including one for motion control which uses five PLC trainers to teach students how to design, plan, assemble, align and test mechanical components.

“CIMTAR delivers access to the latest technology and a skilled workforce that manufacturers require to compete and succeed,” stated Brian Moukperian, director of Integrated Manufacturing and Skills Training. “Until now, there’s been no other educational institution supporting the application of this technology.”

For more information on CIMTAR, visit the web site at: cimtar.niagarac.on.ca, or contact Niagara College at (905) 641-2252, ext. 4431; fax (905) 988-4304; or e-mail Robert Birrell at: bbirrell@niagarac.on.ca.

REPORT DETAILS DEVASTATING TOLL TAKEN BY WORKPLACE FATALITIES IN B.C.

The Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) of British Columbia wants to increase awareness of fatal accidents in the workplace and encourage action to prevent them. To this end, it has released a 10-year study of work-related fatalities, Lost Lives: Work-related deaths in B.C., which makes concrete recommendations about what employers, workers, families, friends and the WCB can do to eliminate workplace deaths.

The report reveals that in the 10-year period from 1989 to 1998, work-related accidents and disease in British Columbia claimed the lives of 1,482 workers, an average of 148 people each year. The rate was highest in the charter air services industry, where the rate for the 10-year period was 21.5, compared to 9.3 for the logging industry, 1.3 for sawmills and 1.04 for all industries. (The rate is based on the number of deaths that occur for every 10,000 person- years-of-employment. For example, the death rate of 8.0 in the mining industry means that for every 10,000 people working full time in a one-year period, eight people have died from a work-related accident or disease.)

In actual number of lives lost to workplace deaths, 10 industries accounted for 61% (909) of the 1,482 work-related deaths in B.C. from 1989 to 1998. Industries with the highest number of work-related deaths were: logging (252), trucking (126), building construction (104), heavy manufacturing (94), road building and related (86), fishing (59), mining, not coal (53), charter air services (49), sawmills (45) and farming (41).

Accidents involving motor vehicles and industrial vehicles were the most common single-incident deaths, comprising 35% of all deaths. Struck-by accidents, where a worker is hit by a moving object, made up 21% of deaths, while aircraft accidents comprised 11% of all workplace fatalities. According to the accident pyramid theory outlined in the report, for every one workplace death there are 29 injuries requiring medical treatment, 300 minor injuries, 1,500 near misses and 20,000 unsafe actions.

“For every life lost, there are thousands of incidents that could also have resulted in death except for a twist of fate,” said WCB Prevention vice-president, Roberta Ellis. “The difference between a near miss and a death is often very slim.” The report puts a human face on the statistics by telling the tragic stories in the words of those who have lost a family member. This makes a significant impact, according to B.C. Federation of Labour president Jim Sinclair, who said, “The statistics and stories presented in the report paint a grave picture of the thousands of workers and families who have suffered the devastating emotional and economic hardships of a workplace death.”

Although less dramatic and far less visible than workplace accidents, workplace diseases are responsible for more than one-quarter of all reported work-related deaths. They are called “slow killers” because workers usually succumb to illness long after they are exposed to hazardous substances. The impact is not felt as strongly by co-workers because many of the workers have retired or left the workplace before they die.

Of the 379 workers who died from a work-related disease between 1989 and 1998, 72% were as a result of lung diseases. Asbestosis or mesothelioma, diseases that develop after exposure to asbestos fibres, accounted for 52% of this figure. A further 20% of deaths were due to silicosis, a chronic lung disease that causes scarring and stiffening of the lungs. Although these workers were exposed to hazardous substances before safe handling practices were in place, workplace illness remains a problem. Hazardous substances, such as wood dust, heavy metals, paint and solvents, and other causes, continue to pose a significant danger. In addition, workplace diseases such as heart disease, cancer and infectious diseases continue to claim lives in some professions.

The reality of deaths in the workplace is balanced by the tremendous improvements seen in health and safety in recent years. “Thanks to the efforts of employers, workers, employers’ associations and unions working together with the WCB, workplaces are safer than ever before,” said Ellis. “Proper training, protective equipment and stricter rules concerning hazardous substances are all helping.” She cautioned, however, that there is still much work to do. “We must have the commitment and the concentrated effort of every employer and worker in the province to improve workplace safety,” she said.

Copies of the report can be obtained at no charge through the B.C. WCB Films and Posters Section at (604) 276-3068, toll-free 1-800-661-2112, local 3068. An Internet version of the report is available on the WCB web site located at: www.worksafebc.ca.

MANUFACTURING SHOWS IN MARCH HIGHLIGHT MOTION CONTROL

Bigger and better than before, the Motion Hall will return to the 48th annual National Design Engineering Show and 10th annual National Manufacturing Week, Mar. 13-16, 2000, located at McCormick Place, Chicago, Ill. The one location for power transmission, motion control and fluid power products in North America, the Motion Hall will open at 9:30 a.m. each day, a half-hour earlier than the other show floors. It will also house the Cyber Caf, where attendees can enjoy a cup of coffee and source critical manufacturing business information.

The Motion Hall, sponsored by various companies, including Parker Hannifin, Norgren and SEW Eurodrive, will feature power transmission, motion control, fluid power, motors and drives, and mechatronics. In addition, the Hall is sponsored by the Power Transmission Distributors Association, the Small Motors & Motion Association, the Fluid Power Society and the American Institute of Motion Engineers.

The sixth annual Motion Control Forum, scheduled for 1:30-4:00 p.m., Wed. Mar. 15, will bring together 10 top technical executives from the largest motion control companies to discuss the technical issues facing them today. The Forum will be followed by a question and answer session.

National Manufacturing Week comprises four separate shows: National Industrial Automation Show, National Industrial Enterprise IT Show, National Plant Engineering Show, and National Design Engineering Show. Last year, the event attracted 52,228 industry buyers and buying teams from over 6,000 companies.

One of the more popular shows is the National Plant Engineering MRO & Management Show & Conference, which last year enjoyed an attendance of 21,236 industry professionals, who gave it a 98% satisfaction rating. The show spans the entire spectrum from maintenance and repair to operations and systems solutions. More than 700 companies will be displaying products and services to help maximize plant productivity and profitability. At least 50 product categories, including CMMS/software-based management, energy management, fluid handling, HVAC and refrigeration, environmental control, industrial packaging and power transmission, will be showcased in over 16
5,000 sq ft of exhibits.

The conference program includes more than 120 sessions that together make a “How to Succeed Guide for the Changing Manufacturing World.” Conferees can select from these sessions to create their own customized course schedule. A sampling of topics geared toward plant personnel include: Maintenance Excellence for the New Millennium; Green Manufacturing; Unconventional Wisdom for the New Millennium–Achieving Total Quality; Lean Manufacturing Can Save You Millions; Zero Downtime How to Get there; and Maintenance Management: What it Takes to Have a Successful Program.

For details, call Reed Exhibition Companies at 1-800-840-0678; fax (203) 840-9678; e-mail: inquiry.nmw@reedexpo.com; web site: www.manufacturingweek.com.

BSA OFFERS SPECIALIST EDUCATION FOR BEARING TECHNICIANS

Technicians who work with bearings are being encouraged to upgrade their skills, so that they may be more valuable to the companies which employ them. Offering options for industry education in its Certified Bearing Specialist (CBS) program and In-House Training Guide, the Bearing Specialists Association (BSA) launched the program last year as a service to members and non-members alike.

“Industry education has always been a key benefit of BSA membership,” said BSA president Bruce Hill, COO of Minnesota Bearing Company. “A knowledgeable staff trained by industry experts is a value-added benefit to every company’s customer base. Bearing professionals do far more than sell and ship: they are problem-solvers, educators and innovators. Today’s competitive marketplace has made it more important than ever to offer the customer the added benefit of industry training.”

The industry’s only certification program, the CBS program has as its objective the worldwide certification of outside and inside sales personnel as bearing specialists, which it defines as persons with excellent knowledge in the selection, application and analysis of bearings. Candidates for the program include service and applications engineers, field service technicians, bearing technical support specialists, sales reps and account managers. The program is open to all BSA members and non-member industry representatives who have successfully completed BSA’s In-House Training Guide, been actively employed full-time in the bearing industry for at least two years, and agree to meet the policies for the use of the CBS designation and logo.

Preparation for the certification examination consists of self-study using the Bearing Specialist Study Guide, or guided study using instructors to conduct review seminars. Sample test items have been incorporated in the Study Guide. The exam is administered by the National Institute for Certification Engineering Technologies (NICET), which offers testing contacts in each of the Canadian provinces, in addition to 131 test centres throughout the United States.

For further information on the CBS program, call the BSA office at (630) 858-3838; fax (630) 790-3095; e-mail: info@bsahome.org; web site; www.bsahome.org.