As part of the SmartForce Student Summit during IMTS 2016, WARDJet Inc. will be hosting the first Build It! Challenge with Hypertherm. The event, held at McCormick Place, Chicago, Illinois, Sept. 12-17, 2016, will see industry professionals go head-to-head with engineering students to build one of two WARDJet waterjets. At the end of each day, both waterjets will be quality tested, and the winner will be crowned at the end of the week.

Attendees will have the chance to assemble a WARDJet Z-Carriage and get hands-on experience changing seals on a Hypertherm pump. Also, attendees will be able to see WARDJet’s 5-axis cutting head, the Infini Winder, and be able to remotely cut a part at WARDJet’s production facility – directly from the show floor via live video.

Register your team now to lock-in your build slot and for a chance to win a waterjet for your business or school. Or, stop by WARDJet’s booth during IMTS 2016 and try to snag one of the remaining build slots. There are limited build slots available.

All teams and attendees who participate in the Build It! Challenge will be entered for a chance to win one of the two WARDJet waterjets for their business or school. Certain restrictions apply. To register and for contest details visit www.wardjet.com/build-it-challengewww.wardjet.com, IMTS 2016 Booth #NC-733 & #NC-738; www.hypertherm.com, IMTS 2016 Booth #N-6515

Komatsu buying Joy Global for $3.7 billion

Credit: f3rd14n | Thinkstock.com

In a move that will make it the world’s second-largest mining equipment company, Japan’s Komatsu Ltd. plans to buy Milwaukee-based Joy Global for $3.7 billion in cash and the assumption of Joy’s debt.

As recently as 2012, Joy had a market value of more than $12 billion, but the prolonged worldwide downturn of coal mining has hit it very hard. For the past 24 months, it has been closing plants, slashing jobs, and doing whatever it can to conserve cash.

The purchase by Komatsu, a company with deeper pockets and a more-diverse business structure, should keep portions of Joy active until mining resumes, says Ted Doheny, president and CEO of Joy Global.

“Joy Global’s board of directors, in making its determination, considered the challenging market conditions the company believes are likely to persist. The mining industry continues to face cyclical headwinds from oversupplied commodities and reduced end user demand resulting in cash flow restrictions for most producers, creating an increasingly challenging environment,” Doheny says. “We are also seeing structural changes in the U.S. and China coal industries.”

In a presentation about the merger to investors, Joy Global officials say they believe natural gas power generation will overtake coal-fired power generation this year. Natural gas supplies in North America are near record levels, and the fuel burns cleaner than coal, helping utilities meet environmental standards.

In the presentation, Joy Global executives say they believe that trend away from coal will continue worldwide, further pressuring large equipment sales.

Founded in 1884, Joy had 12,000 employees in 20 companies at the end of 2015. Komatsu, founded in 1921, has more than 47,000 employees worldwide. The merger is expected to close in mid-2017. www.komatsuamerica.com, www.joyglobal.com

Rapid shutdown for rooftop PV systems

Phoenix Contact’s new SOLARCHECK RSD (Rapid Shutdown) gives solar panel installers an NEC 690.12-compliant solution for the safe, rapid shutdown of rooftop photovoltaic (PV) systems. National Electric Code (NEC) 690.12 dictates that all rooftop solar PV systems must have a rapid shutdown function to protect first responders from electric shock in the event of an emergency.

SOLARCHECK RSD is based on the intelligent analysis of electrical conditions within solar strings. In the event of an emergency, a fault condition within a string, or a manual shutdown for maintenance work, the system automatically switches the PV system into a safe state.

The system does not require additional communications cables or wireless networks. Modules are integrated directly onto the panels via a smart cabling system. When the system can be safely restarted, SOLARCHECK RSD switches on automatically, triggered by the startup of the inverter, or optionally, via an enable input. www.phoenixcontact.com, IMTS 2016 Booth #E-4157

System Insights named industry partner of federal Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute

In June, President Obama approved a $70 million federal award to the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition (SMLC), an industry-led national non-profit, to create a nationwide Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute. The Institute, which will include System Insights’ involvement, will fuel industry growth and innovation nationwide with more than $140 million in public-private investment geared toward developing advanced manufacturing technology and a supporting workforce and education pipeline. The announcement was made at the Select USA Summit in Washington, D.C.

The Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute (CESMII) will be an industry-led non-profit organization headquartered in Los Angeles, California, with networked regional centers across California, Washington, New York, North Carolina, and Texas. The national network will work across business, workforce, and technical focus areas, leveraging each region’s unique industrial environments. It will be the ninth institute awarded under the National Network of Manufacturing Institutes initiative. The SMLC brings together collaboration of nearly 200 partners from academia, industry, and non-profits from more than 30 states. The Institute will accelerate the development and adoption of advanced sensors, data analytics, and controls in manufacturing, while reducing the cost of these technologies by half and radically improving the efficiency of U.S. advanced manufacturing.

Will Sobel, founder and chief strategy officer of System Insights, will bring his leadership in standards development as the chair of the MTConnect Technical Steering Committee where he is promoting composable systems using standardized information models. The Institute will enable small, medium, and large manufacturers access to smart tools, innovation, and the ability to grow their businesses. www.systeminsights.com, IMTS 2016 Booth #E-4149