Kinetics Drive Solutions Inc. has expanded their transmission design house and testing facility in Gloucester Industrial Estates.

Kinetics Drive Solutions Inc. has expanded their transmission design house and testing facility in Gloucester Industrial Estates.

Kinetics ‘drives’ greener vehicles

An engineering firm that has grown to become Canada’s largest drive and control systems design house celebrated its 20th year with the grand opening of its expanded facility in Gloucester Industrial Park on Jan. 17.

Kinetics Drive Solutions Inc. started out as a manufacturer of forestry skidders but as that market took a downturn the company began to specialize in the design and development of advanced hydro-mechanical Infinitely Variable Transmission systems and vehicle control systems.

These are used in heavy duty and high torque applications, for commercial and military vehicles. Their patented transmissions and full power hydraulic braking and stability systems provide significant cost-performance benefits over conventional transmission systems, and are in use throughout the world.

The $3.8 million expansion added another 10,000 square feet to the 10-year-old 36,000 sq. ft. building, as well as a major upgrade to their engineering, manufacturing and test areas.

Their 65 employees are primarily engineers, and with the assistance of shop technicians and support staff, they develop, build and test their designs.

Much of their work is for their parent company, ST (Singapore Technologies) Kinetics, and Sew Chee Juen, President and CEO of ST Kinetics, was present for the official opening.

“To meet the stringent Canadian environmental rules and perform well in the field, our engineers developed very specialized drives and control systems for the forestry vehicles,” Sew said. “This capability spilled over to defence applications when ST Kinetics started work with the company in 1997. This was given a further boost in 2000 when ST Kinetics invested in the company and finally 2006 when ST Kinetics took on full ownership. Over the last five years KDS has grown from strength to strength and developed a family of very advanced HMX heavy duty tracked drive transmissions and introduced the highly innovative Hybrid Hydraulic Drive technology.”

The new KDS test facility is also environmentally responsible. The dynamometer systems are all electrical and require no fossil fuel to operate. The dynamometer test facility has the ability to regenerate 85% of the absorbed power so that there is no valuable energy lost in heat. All of the absorbed energy is now returned into the system to be used again.

The expanded facility also allows KDS to conduct multiple test operations simultaneously.

“We only do small batch production here,” said spokesman Gordon Osborn. “We are able to do it all from start to finish for testing, and our engineers travel all over the world to test drive the finished products. This is unique as most engineers never get to drive their designs.”

The event included displays of their HMX family of heavy duty tracked transmissions, a Cargotec hybrid hydraulic port tractor, a commercial articulated vehicle, the new regenerative transmission test area, along with other drive and control solutions. All are infinitely variable IVT, with significant fuel savings providing lower cost in operations as well as being “by wire” capable, allowing reduced maintenance.

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