Canadian Electrical Industry News Week

Dec 2, 2019

PBSI Milner 400By Blake Marchand

Rob Milner is the Canadian National Science, Automation, Optical Gas Imaging & sUAS Manager for FLIR. Rob took some time out of his busy schedule to discuss his career and provide some insight on the industry with Electrical industry News Week.

Mr. Milner began his 18-year tenure with FLIR in 2001 as Sales Manager for the Ontario and Manitoba region. After ten-years in that role he was promoted to National Science & Automation Sales Manager, and in 2016 he took on his current role as National Science, Automation, Optical Gas Imaging & sUAS Manager.

Managing the business development of four vertical markets, Milner’s role is highly technical as well as customer facing. When it comes to automation FLIR makes a number of different products, he explained providing an example of a portion of his role, “I refer to them as different flavours – some speak directly to PLCs, others have to go through complex machine vision type software to arrive at an analysis of the issue,” with respect to a particular client’s application, Milner will provide oversight to ensure measurements and camera placements are correct, for example, as well as making sure the proper technologies are being utilized for a given application. Ultimately, ensuring that all factors have been taken into consideration.

Throughout his 18-year career with FLIR, Milner said there isn’t much he hasn’t seen when it comes to applications of their products, which are utilized across a wide range of industries. However, he singled out a couple intriguing applications he has seen.Weld seam issue

The first is the growing use of artificial intelligence that has developed to perform very complex inspections utilizing thermal cameras designed for automated monitoring. This has enabled inspection of automotive parts, for example, where you can’t see the defect directly, but you can infer it is there due to the change in the imagery; or the ability to detect liquid leaks in processes in complex outdoor environments. FLIR’s Canadian automation partners have developed these applications and are growing their installed base rapidly. 

Rob also singled out infrared switchgear condition monitoring for low, medium, and high voltage cabinets to continuously monitor for potential issues without having to open the cabinet door. Essentially, anywhere that employs a significant electrical load. The example Milner provided was for large residential buildings, at the time there happened to be a couple fires reported in the news. Generally, these types of buildings are inspected once a year and most likely the inspection will take place during the day when usage isn’t at its peak. Using an infrared camera for continuous monitoring allows for a more accurate picture of the building’s electrical health, detecting potential fires before there’s an issue.

electrical connectionWhen it comes to the automation and electrical side of the company, FLIR’s products facilitate an intelligent industry. Which includes oil and gas maintenance issues, from invisible gas leaks to failing electrical or mechanical systems; maintaining uptime for electrical utility power generation and troubleshooting issues at the residential and commercial level; mechanical and electrical condition monitoring; machine vision; and high-tech monitoring to detect potential issues before failures. Their vision systems are crucial to facilitating the proliferation of autonomous systems of all kind, as well as to maximize uptime by detecting issues before they impact production. With respect to the latter, Milner makes an important distinction between ‘preventive maintenance’ and ‘condition monitoring’.

“Preventative maintenance historically involves tightening connections and tightening connections can actually be harmful if you don’t need to do it. So, we like to use condition monitoring. Making sure your target – whether it’s a motor, a piece of electrical equipment, or a pump, is staying the same temperature over time. Or, if there’s multiple phases, for example, all phases are tracking up and down in temperature based on load, together.”

“You’re not likely to have all three phases fail at the same time – if you have an electrical problem, one phase is going to fail and that’s going to be easily visible as a divergence from the other two temperatures.”

Industry 4.0 – automated production, quality control, aerial drone inspection, artificial intelligence etc. – is tailored to FLIR’s expertise, “Automated condition monitoring is key to that (industry 4.0), so our systems are being used more and more,” noted Milner, “even our hand-held systems are being used as sensors. That data that comes through periodically is still going up into the cloud to monitor the health of the factory of the future.”

When it comes to emerging technologies that will be more prevelent moving forward in the industry, Milner mentioned that unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) will be a tool for the industry to utilize in this vein in the near future. UAVs will have a number of maintenance and inspection applications. Field operations monitoring in remote areas, windmills, solar panels, commercial and industrial roof inspection is the big one, Milner noted. The inspection of infrastructure like roads and bridges in particular, as well as in agriculture, and electrical transmission are all areas where aerial vehicles can be utilized It’s something that simply wasn’t possible five years ago, Milner noted, and for the most part drones are currently human-piloted. However, eventually they will be able to take off, land, and inspect autonomously.

Ultimately, with respect to FLIR product applications, Milner said, if there is an application where you can gain information visually, FLIR’s systems can be utilized.

In closing, Mr. Milner said, “One of the things I would like to get across to people is automating the use of thermal imaging is getting easier and lower in cost than it has been in the past. A lot of people’s experience with our camera is from a decade ago – when I started, we didn’t sell anything that was under $50,000, now we have thermal camera for less than $500.” Many people in the industry may have the impression their products are too expensive and difficult to deal with, “but that’s not true anymore, thermal cameras can be very cost competitive to other technologies and provide better monitoring of critical equipment and production methods.”

They're still on that downward pricing trend he noted, “we’re literally putting cameras all over the place, where you’d never expect to find them.”

Image One Caption (Weld seam issue):

Thermal image of a weld seam defect captured in real time using artificial intelligence software to learn and apply complex analytics in a simple fashion.

Image Two Caption (Electrical connection):

Caption: Electrical equipment carrying high currents in electrical cabinets can now be autonomously monitored 24/7, at a cost much lower than periodic inspection providing improved equipment reliability at a lower cost.

       Partnering For The Next Step                                                                     

Siemens CanadaWelcome to the Digital Enterprise Virtual Summit brought to you by Siemens

How quickly can you react to changing conditions and demands in your market? How can you ensure your production will run securely at any time in the future?

Industry’s digital and technological transformation is the answer for meeting today’s and tomorrow’s challenges and market needs.

With the right digitalization and automation solutions, expertise won from practical experience, and a partnership approach that benefits all involved parties.

To explore these possibilities, we’re bringing together top-level speakers, specialists and decision-makers from various industries and experts from Siemens to the Digital Enterprise Virtual Summit under the motto “Partnering for the next step.”   

This virtual summit will be an interactive digital event featuring first-hand experiences and success stories achieved with industrial digitalization and automation solutions, and cutting-edge technologies.

Join us on July 16 and learn from customers and experts how you can respond efficiently, flexibly and safely to the changing market environment.

To cover as many different time zones as possible, we offer two almost identical live sessions – you can also watch them on demand at your convenience:

Sessions runs from :  9:30 am to 2:15 pm ET (3:30 pm to 8:15 pm CEST)


Changing Scene

  • Prev
ECAO is piloting a young leaders group, named Future Leaders Advisory Council (FLAC).   ...
Cooper Lighting extends its commitment to education and support of its customers and specifiers. ...
Stay Wired to Win is a monthly at-home challenge designed to keep your competitive spark going ...
Join the Electrical Contractors Association of Ontario (ECAO) for a live webinar on July 7 at 2:00 ...
Following the latest COVID-19 announcements from the Ontario Government, ESA has decided to ...
Introducing Stay Wired to Win – a series of monthly at-home challenges designed to keep your ...
ESA’s response team has been working diligently to address the emerging issues. We are moving into ...


WestburneMany contractors prefer to deal with the people that they know, in their local branch. When doing a job out of town, it’s often inconvenient or simply impossible to return to your home branch to pick up material orders for the next day, within standard business hours.

Westburne’s new locker solution extends the branch’s pick up times to 24 hours, 7 days a week.




Read More


Latest Articles

  • Prev
Any contractor who has been on the jobsite during a difficult wire pull can attest to the ...
All electrical incidents are preventable! Keep employees safe with an up-to-date electrical ...

EmployeesBy Terry Becker

All electrical incidents are preventable! Keep employees safe with an up-to-date electrical safety program and complimentary training.

“Employees don’t do what you expect, they do what you inspect!” This is a great quote when it comes down to occupational health and safety. The need for ensuring that an audit is a key component of your overall occupational health and safety management system and your company’s electrical safety program is essential.

Read More



Michelle BraniganBy Michelle Branigan

Student workers may make up a relatively small portion of the sector workforce, but their impact is substantial. EHRC’s Empowering Futures wage subsidy program has placed 510 students, contributing $14.8 million to the Canadian economy (and counting). That’s no small figure, especially considering that many placements are only a few months long.

In challenging economic times, the tendency might be to pull back on initiatives not deemed essential to operating — why take a chance on an inexperienced employee for only a short time when resources are already stretched?

Read More


Product News

  • Prev
LED security lights are perfect for applications such as yards, walkways, driveways, patios, ...
Signify is increasing its UV-C lighting production capacity and expanding its UV-C product ...
Stanpro LINK Emergency power conversion module was developed to eliminate conventional emergency ...
The new and improved next generation Rail 2 RM2DU (formerly the RM2DI) maintains its industry ...
Lutron Electronics introduces Athena: a simple, flexible, all-in-one solution that elevates ...
Available in standard and high output, LEDs provide excellent luminous intensities at low drive ...
Klein Tools introduces the new Loose Cable Stapler, featuring a forward action design for stable ...
Eureka announced the release of its Expo tube luminaire. Expo is a decorative lighting tube ...
Specification Grade, UL Listed for US and Canada; Dual Input 120/347, One or Two-lamp Operation; ...
The LMEZ Micro is a slim profile LED linear luminaire featuring an adjustable aircraft cable ...


Brady Pull-Handle Butterfly Valve LockoutThe Pull-handle Butterfly Valve Lockout. Its simple, fold-over design effectively lockspull handles in any desired position. And, it holds up to four padlocks for added safety. No matter what industry you’re in, this versatile, one-piece lockout device bolsters your safety lockout solution. And that’s a welcome addition to any lockout program. With this device you’ll also get:

  • A great fit – exclusive, anti-pivot lockout device that fits a variety of pull handle butterfly valve sizes




Read More

Shannon TymoskoBy Blake Marchand

Shannon Tymosko is a first-year apprentice with IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers) Local 105, something she undertook after 10 years working her way up the ranks of a payday loan company.

“One of the things I love, working in the trades, is you can see your progress and you can see at the end of the day the work that you have done.


Read More



Copper $US Dollar price per pound

Kerrwil Publications Great Place to Work. Certified December 2019 - December 2020

538 Elizabeth Street, Midland,Ontario, Canada L4R2A3 +1 705 527 7666
©2020 All rights reserved

Use of this Site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy Policy (effective 1.1.2016)
The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Kerrwil