MRO Magazine

Recognizing its past, PTDA looks to future goals

The Power Transmission Distributors Association (PTDA) recently celebrated its 40th anniversary by honouring its founders and past leaders at the association's annual convention in Waikoloa, Hawaii. F...

December 1, 2000 | By MRO Magazine

The Power Transmission Distributors Association (PTDA) recently celebrated its 40th anniversary by honouring its founders and past leaders at the association’s annual convention in Waikoloa, Hawaii. Formed in 1960 as the Mechanical Power Transmission Equipment Distributors Association, PTDA now represents over 260 PT/MC distributor firms with more than 3,200 locations throughout North America and 20 other countries. It also includes 200 allied manufacturer members that supply the PT/MC industry.

Dedicated to providing information, education and business tools to help its member firms compete effectively and profitably in the industrial marketplace, the association is a valuable forum and vehicle for the development of the PT/MC distribution market channel.

During the ceremonies, all past PTDA presidents (representing distribution firms) and allied chairs (representing manufacturing firms) were saluted with a special award that recognized their contributions to the association and the PT/MC industry. Seventeen past leaders, many of whom remain active in PTDA, were present to receive the honour. “As we celebrate PTDA’s 40th anniversary of serving the power transmission/motion control industry, we owe a debt of gratitude to these visionaries,” said PTDA executive vice-president Mary Sue Lyon. “Thanks to their leadership, PTDA remains a vibrant, dynamic organization, poised to carry on in its mission to strengthen members to be successful, profitable and competitive in a changing market environment.”

The original allied manufacturer members include Emerson Power Transmission, Ithaca, N.Y. (original member, Browning Manufacturing); Warner Electric, South Beloit, Ill. (original members, Formsprag and Gerbing Manufacturing); The Gates Rubber Co, Denver, Colo.; Jeffrey Chain, Morristown, Tenn. (original member, The Jeffrey Manufacturing Co.); Martin Sprocket & Gear Inc., Arlington, Tex.; and Union Gear & Sprocket, Quincy, Mass.


Also at the annual convention, the association announced its officers, board of directors and Allied Council for 2001. Kevin McCloskey, vice president of Dodge-Newark Supply Co. (Fairfield, N.J.), has been elected to succeed Penny Omns of Vancouver-based BC Bearing Engineers as PTDA’s president in the coming year.

While enjoying the Hawaiian surroundings, the PTDA nevertheless kept up a busy schedule during its convention. Its Educational & Scholastic Foundation launched a task force to develop uniform standards for facilitating e-commerce in the PT/MC industry. Additional projects included the definition of fields for dynamic product information exchange, such as order status and available inventory. A future project will see the development of document guidelines for relaying product information between trading partners.

Also announced during the annual meeting was the PTDA Industrial Distribution Quality System (IDQS), which is similar to the ISO quality system in many criteria, but is tailored specifically to industrial distribution. This system allows companies to meet increasing certification demands from customers and affordably improve internal quality initiatives. Created by a task force of quality specialists from PTDA member firms, the IDQS focuses on management, quality system input, internal operations and quality system output elements that are meaningful in the PT/MC industry.

A photographic profile of some of the Canadians attending the PTDA conference appears on page 42.


The Advanced Design and Manufacturing Institute (ADMI), a joint virtual institute of four leading Ontario universities (University of Toronto, McMaster University, University of Waterloo and the University of Western Ontario) has announced the establishment of a Masters degree program in Design and Manufacturing.

Endorsed by Materials & Manufacturing Ontario and Ontario industry, this program is designed to provide practicing engineers the enhanced knowledge, tools and technology, as well as business and management skills, necessary to keep them and the companies for which they work at the forefront of their profession.

This program was developed in collaboration with industry and Materials and Manufacturing Ontario (MMO) and features four-day weekend modules, allowing practicing engineers to obtain a post-graduate degree while working at their current job. Each course consists of two four-day sessions, and the completion of 10 courses is required for the degree. Students are expected to take 24 to 30 months to complete the program at an estimated cost of $25,000. Applications can be made now for courses which will begin in March 2001. To receive announcements from ADMI, send e-mail and mailing address, as well as telephone number, to


A fast procedure for changing the electrode holder in the cooling system of glass-making furnaces has been developed by FIC (UK) in the United Kingdom. Designed to improve plant maintenance, the range of electrode holders includes a system in which the cooling circuit is replaceable within a few minutes without the need to turn off the water coolant or to remove the electrode, holder hose or the tube assembly.

Electrodes form the critical electronic/refractory junction for current flow in joule effect melting systems. As a result, their performance and maintenance is crucial to the trouble-free operation and long life of all electric furnaces and boosters.

The electrode holders provide both a means of oxidation protection and facilities for in-operation adjustment. The conditions under which they have to be serviced are particularly demanding and traditionally have caused a number of problems. These include periodic faults in the cooling system due to blockage or weld failure, induced cracking of electrode blocks due to direct cooling of the holder wall and hence adjacent refractories, and the failure of purge gas.

The holder design is a result of research carried out by the company that showed that an air gap between the cooling circuit and outer wall is equally effective in avoiding direct cooling of the wall and is as effective as the insulating material in preventing thermal shock of the block. In this design the replaceable cooling circuit comprises a two-part male/female tapered assembly. A special surface coating inhibits oxidation between the components. A release plate is incorporated to facilitate further easy withdrawal of the assembly, enabling the cooling circuit to be replaced in fewer than 10 minutes by only one person and three tools.

The design is not recommended for direct replacement in existing installations as the major hole in the block (117 mm) is larger than that of regular assemblies (92 mm). These holders have been in service for more than three years without any failures on installations of up to 2,500 kVA. For more information, contact FIC (UK) Ltd., Merlin Works, Cuxhaven Way, Long Rock Industrial Estate, Penzance, Cornwall, United Kingdom, TR20 8HX; tel. 011-44-1736-366962, fax 011-44-1736-351198.


At the Small Motors & Motion Association SMMA 2000 Fall Technical Conference, held recently in Chicago, papers were presented on recent and future engineering developments in the motors and drives industry.

The keynote address was given by Professor Ian Boldea, who teaches electrical engineering at the University Politechnica of Timisoara in Romania. An author of more than 12 books and holder of numerous patents, Professor Boldea has been a visiting professor at the University of Kentucky, University of Glasgow (Scotland) and the University of Aalborg (Denmark). The title of his address was “Sub 100 kW AC Electric Machines and Drives: Present Status and Beyond the Year 2000.”

In recognition of SMMA’s 25th anniversary in 2000, presentations reviewed past developments and previewed the next 10 to 25 years. Other presentations included m
anufacturing, design, applications and new technologies for motors and drives. For more information, contact SMMA at (508) 655-4409, fax (508) 651-3920 or e-mail


Fifty percent of the bearing distributors in a recent survey identified “enhance business image” as their number one e-business priority. They made that choice over “increased channel efficiency” (17%), “gain new business” (11%), “add value to current sales” (8%) and “increase current business” (4%). In a companion survey, bearing industry manufacturers also prioritized “enhance business image” first (41%) and overwhelmingly identified “add value to current sales” (17%) over the remaining priorities.

The results are part of the Bearing Specialists Association’s (BSA) first quarterly e-commerce survey of distributors and manufacturers. Forty-eight percent of distributors and 45% of manufacturers contacted completed the survey. The survey will be repeated on a quarterly basis to generate an annual state of e-business survey.

For more information about BSA or its programs, contact the BSA office at (630) 858-3838, fax (630) 790-3095; e-mail; web site


Logistics 2000, a materials handling, distribution and storage exhibition held recently at the International Centre in Toronto, drew over 3,100 attendees. The show, was produced by Southex Exhibitions.MRO


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