Panel Builder System Integrator

September 5, 2019

In 1969 when forklift manufacturer BT developed a stacker crane, they had no idea what the future might hold for their new product.

The original concept was a manual crane with hydraulic drives and lift that could reach to 10 meters. The first production model was used by the company to support its own forklift production line. Eight of the original models were sold.

Evolving to Meet Demand

In the subsequent years the original concept was continually enhanced to create new types of storage and retrieval machines, including a manual pallet crane driven by electric DC drives; a crane for order picking directly from shelves or trays; and a crane combining picking and pallet handling capabilities.

In 1979 this versatile product entered the age of automation with the implementation of 24 automatic storage and retrieval systems (ASRS) with reach heights of 30 meters at OVD in Norway. These machines are still in operation today, testifying to the outstanding reliability of the core technology. 

Another important development occurred just two years later when, in 1981, the crane was first applied in a freezer environment (-28 degrees C) in Sweden. The next year marked the first project which included stacker cranes for a “clad-rack” warehouse, a building in which the roof and walls are sitting directly on the racking itself.

Several innovations followed, including the introduction of a satellite module that allowed the crane to access pallets deep in the rack, and the development of the OnePiece, a 12-meter crane delivered fully assembled that opened up the benefits of the product to small- and medium-size warehouses.

In 1994 the expanding family of cranes was acquired by the company that would become Swisslog. 

Introducing Vectura

In 1997, a completely new and innovative design was completed, and the stacker crane concept originated in 1969 was re-introduced as Vectura. The first pilot was shipped to Woolworth, Australia and included 17 cranes, with some featuring double masts to handle heavy loads and double load-handling devices to meet required throughputs.

Another major design upgrade was undertaken in 2012, which introduced more than 100 improvements and reduced crane weight by 10 to 20 percent.

Building on a Legacy of Reliability and Innovation

With 50 years of continuous improvement behind it and more than 4,000 in active use around the world, Vectura today sets the standard for innovative design in pallet stacker cranes for high-bay warehouses. 

The 2019 Vectura crane has features its original designers could never have dreamed of, including a unique low-weight mast design, regenerative power and braking modules, and flexible software for smart integration into existing IT infrastructure. It is lighter, more capable and more powerful than its predecessors, while retaining the reliability that has made Vectura one of the most trusted names in material handling automation. 

As it enters its second half-century of improving productivity in the warehouse, Vectura is growing more intelligent to better support data-driven warehouse management. New features on the horizon include help with error handling, one-click parts ordering, and enhanced use of data for performance and maintenance optimization. 

Swisslog is proud to celebrate the 50th anniversary of this groundbreaking solution and committed to building on its legacy of innovation and reliability so Vectura can continue to meet the changing demands of warehouses well into the future.


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One of Canada’s largest wastewater treatment plants at Annacis Island provides secondary treatment to approximately 175 billion litres of wastewater every year for over 1 million residents in 14 municipalities. After almost 20 years in operation, the variable frequency drives supporting the critical pumping systems for the primary treatment and secondary treatment facilities had to be replaced to ensure that the plant’s high operational availability and reliability will not be compromised in serving the plant, the surrounding municipalities and the environment. Metro Vancouver Regional District chose to deploy Rittal’s enclosure and power distribution solutions with E-plan software to efficiently support vital infrastructure improvements by reducing equipment replacement times and thereby minimizing risk to plant operations.

PB 25 Phoenix ControlCabinet 400

Phoenix Contact will provide you with support as your reliable partner in the optimization of your processes in control cabinet manufacturing.

Phoenix Contact provides you with holistic solutions in a cooperative partnership, based on their products, services, and experience. Digital data is used consistently, processes optimized, and time saved. The PROJECT complete planning and marking software supports your entire control cabinet manufacturing process. The program provides you with an intuitive user interface that enables you to individually plan, automatically check, and order terminal strips.

Thanks to optimized interfaces, you can easily integrate data from common CAE systems. This enables you to save significant amounts of time in the overall engineering process. Read More

 Like many cyclical industries, mining is reviving, driven by steady global economic growth and an increasing demand for materials to support new technologies like electric vehicles, renewable energy and mobile devices. Despite the optimism, the industry still faces major operational challenges including process efficiencies, cost control, worker health and safety, and skills gaps. To address these challenges, Rockwell Automation introduced The Connected Mine, leveraging the latest enabling and digital technologies.

Utilizing advanced analytics, The Connected Mine helps mining companies collect and aggregate data to gain end-to-end visibility into their operations and make informed business decisions to improve mining operations.

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PB 25 Rittal MarineWaves 400For almost a half a century Canal Marine & Industrial of St Catharines, Ontario has provided electrical design, engineering and services around the clock to the merchant marine, naval and coastguard fleets in Canada and the rest of the World. In recent years, Canal has become a leader in the design and supply of marine hybrid power and propulsion systems. These systems utilize alternative methods for supporting propulsion and the vessel’s electrical power plant, so that fuel consumption and emissions are reduced.

Great Lakes Towing of Cleveland, Ohio (popularly called “The Towing Company”) operates the largest and most experienced U.S.-flag tugboat fleet. The Towing Company is a significant marine operations link in North America’s U.S. Great Lakes-Saint Lawrence Seaway marine transportation network, the fourth seacoast of the United States, an operating area that extends over 8,300 miles of shoreline, encompassing a water surface area of roughly 100,000 square miles. Read More

HARTING Electronics: Circular Connectors – A Round Thing

Circular Connectors 400

Jonas Diekmann, Technical Editor at HARTING Electronics

The metric system of units was introduced for the first time in 1793 during the French Revolution and is used even today in almost all countries worldwide. The metric round plug connectors are also based on this system of units and are a known standard in raw industrial applications. In various diameters and codes, they are a reliable connection for the three lifelines of industrial applications. Data, signals and performance are essential for drive, control and communication. The typical round appearance with the thread for screwing in is a success story up to the present. But classics often also still reveal unexpected potential. With its new PushPull Locking and Com-Lock HARTING is making two round guild models ready for the future.

Metric round plug connectors are some of the most widespread interfaces worldwide, when it comes to cabling for machines, industrial plant and devices under demanding conditions of use.

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Rockwell SleemanTen years ago, tourists looking for a taste of the local life in Southern Canada may have asked for one of the region’s best wines. Today, it’s all about craft beer.

From entrepreneurial newcomers to large-scale producers, brewers in Canada are cashing in on the thirst for craft beer. The number of microbreweries – ­producing less than 25,000 cases of 24 – has more than doubled in the last seven years.

The explosion in craft beer popularity had one company – Sleeman Breweries – bursting at its production seams. The third-largest brewer in Canada, Sleeman brews and distributes popular beers from lagers to pale ales.

 Read More


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