It all starting from humble beginnings: a borrowed laptop, borrowed printer and modest line of credit. Two young men, only a few years out of school, dared quit their jobs to design and build TCA’s first machine. Money and time were lacking, but confidence, creativity, and tenacity were not! Now, 25 years later, confidence is based on experience. Creativity and tenacity continue with every employee and project. The result? We regularly ‘wow’ our customers with exceptional machines.
Today we celebrate the customers and employees who have given us 25 years.
Every employee at TCA takes pride in the work we do and the quality of equipment we made. While TCA’s employees are one big happy family, that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for some friendly competition.
Check out some pictures from this year’s go-kart race held at Hamilton Indoor Indy.
Combining state-of-the-art LED technology and automated equipment to grow food in urban areas.
The planet has lost some 40 per cent of its arable land over the past few decades, and we’re rapidly depleting the rest. The farmers at We the Roots grow leafy greens for chefs like O&B’s Anthony Walsh in a hydroponic, automated vertical farm just off the DVP, using less space to cultivate more food year round. They’re boosted by some out-of-this-world technology from the University of Guelph, where researchers are developing plants that can thrive in hostile environments like Mars. The trick is tailored LED light combinations: scientists can tweak the lights’ colour and intensity to alter the nutrients, growth and even flavour profile of arugula, chicory and kale.
TCA is delighted to host student’s for “Take Our Kids to Work Day”
Since we opened our doors in 1996, TCA’s been committed to championing young talent and training the next generation of automation experts. With a critical shortage of skilled labour across the manufacturing industry, we believe educating our youths to the possibility of this career path is vital to sustain our local thriving automation industry.
Every year across Canada, students in Grade 9 are urged to spend the day in the workplace of a parent, relative, friend, or volunteer host. Through exposure to the workplace, student’s are prompted to focus on early career planning and given insights to make informed decisions about their future goals.
TCA’s safety culture means that our student’s were required to undergo Health & Safety coaching about safety in the workplace, and given instruction on how to safety interact with large and sophisticated automation equipment.
We had a great day with our group of kids, and left them with some knowledge of how Canada’s manufacturing industry works, along with a souvenir for their hard work on the job.
Those close to TCA team members or their families are very familiar with the food obsession fondly cultivated throughout the company. This may be the only company in existence where new employee’s are required to read the Donut Handbook before reading the Employee Handbook. Each year a calendar of events is created by the TCA Social Committee. This is when the planning for team events is done, and employee’s can vote on the employee-engagement events that are planned.
Beginning in May, the last Thursday of every month is BBQ day. Lovingly cooked by team members, a full spread BBQ is prepared for lunch every month until the end of September. We say a final farewell to BBQ season mid-October during the annual Oktoberfest BBQ and patiently wait for the next BBQ season to begin.
Each season the team looks for new ways to make BBQ days special. This years improvement? Games!
Kudos to the Social Committee for giving a fun and healthy break for the team working so hard designing and building exceptional equipment.
Our steadfast and diligent administrator is finally off the clock. This month we are saying good-bye to an instrumental member of TCA’s staff; someone who played a crucial roll in our company’s history. Wendy started with TCA almost 16 years ago. When she joined us, we were experiencing rapid corporate growth – and all of the growing pains that come with it. Many of our internal processes weren’t designed for scale and she happily jumped into the chaos. Wendy helped develop and streamline our internal structure with a laser focus on our customers’ needs.
Though Wendy’s work over the past 16 years has been exemplary, her strength of character remains her legacy. One of TCA’s most talked about corporate value is integrity. Our President Dave Nelson, refers to integrity as making the right decision, even when it is hard to make. Wendy’s character is integrity personified. She could always be counted on to do the right thing, regardless of the extra work, complication, or friction it may cause. With an attention to detail that is almost super human, Wendy easily navigated and organized complicated corporate contracts, maintaining customer records and ensuring a level of accuracy that could always be counted on. While her work skills are undisputed, Wendy was also a genuine, kind, and trustworthy friend to many. She was momma-bear to our sales team, working diligently to simply make their lives easier.
When such a tenured and respected member of the team retires, it is always bittersweet. Everyone here will greatly miss her, but she leaves a legacy behind she can be proud of.
Over the past few years, industry has been buzzing with talk about IIoT, automation replacing workers, and how machine learning and AI are the next big thing. A few weeks ago, IBM held a debate where their ‘Project Debater’ competed against a human professional. While the robot was not deemed the winner, it did showcase the robots’ ability to rapidly respond and pivot argument points based on the other person’s interaction. It was a lively and visual representation of what the future of artificial intelligence will look like. The world is now beginning to realize that AI implementation and mass availability aren’t too far off. For those thinking about the job market in the coming decades, we have to wonder: what future jobs are going to be available for the next generation?
While no one can know for sure, just looking at recent industry changes gives some foresight. A prime example is McDonalds; they’ve been a big provider of part time casual labour jobs. Recently they’ve adopted a self serve kiosk where customers are able to order and pay for themselves. The number of front line staff at the counter has greatly decreased. This is one example where simple and repeatable jobs are being replaced by technology. Does that mean that the restaurant industry will be fully automated – of course not. But it is indicative of the types of jobs that robotics and machines are prime to replace humans. Robots never take breaks, rarely act illogically, and don’t get distracted. This makes them perfect to take over the menial tasks that most humans don’t want to do.
The other side of this argument that many forget to talk about is the robot’s themselves! There is a complete industry in place that designs, builds, and programs these machines. For every single machine out in the field replacing menial tasks, a whole team of people have been involved to teach that robot the tasks it’s performing, design recovery procedures, and test to make sure they’re behaving as expected. Like every other machine, robots are not infallible. A complete service industry of field experts is in place to diagnose and repair these machines should a failure happen.
So while many worry that robots are going to replace workers and steal jobs, I would argue that they in fact are generating a much larger sub industry. Let’s let the robots do the job’s that no one wants to, and put our efforts into learning the complicated task of learning what makes these intricate systems work.
The careers of the future lay, as we’ve always believed, in the robotic and automation industry.
We are very pleased to announce our newly minted Director of Operations and Project Management: Chris Draper.
Chris joined our organization back in October 2017, responsible for bringing a formalized Project Management structure to TCA. His understanding of our customers needs has allowed us to remain nimble with our innovating designs, while adapting to changing needs within the industry. His background within machining and design gives him a unique ability to make creative choices in order to meet our customer’s needs.
In his new role, Chris will be responsible for maintaining the exceptional quality of machines that customers have grown accustomed to from TCA. He will ensure that customers timelines and standards are met while making sure that the floor remains a fun and exciting place to work.
We’re excited to have Chris in our Leadership team, and look forward to his success.
Every year TCA begins the holiday season by celebrating and giving thanks to the people who work so hard for our customers. This year, we gathered to eat and have some fun at the Aberfoyle Mill.
We began our luncheon with some fun raffle prizes, a game of Truths and a Lie, and Kahoot. We were also able to include some of the TCA family who were out at customer sites, via Skype.
To get into the spirit, we held a photo contest where departments competed in creating an original Christmas Photo. Second place, a prize of team coffee and donuts, went to the Controls Department.
With our first place – grand prize, an all expense paid Pizza Party, going to the Machine Shop.
We finished our lunch off with a White Elephant Gift Exchange, where our VP of Finance was thwarted from owning a drone, for the second year.
While TCA loves to give back to our employees, those workers also love to giving back to the community. This year, we chose The Salvation Army Toy Drive. Everyone is pleased to be able make children’s Christmas morning a little more special.
In late November, worthy TCA competitors responded to the call to arms – ready to attend the Annual Sushi Championship. With nothing more at stake than honour, the competitors gathered to devour. Sadly, the competitor voted most likely to win found himself hampered by a cold. In surprise, a latecomer rose to the occasion and came close to winning it all. In the end, the coveted belt went to the mighty Mike. His slow and steady approach beat out the fast flurry of the piranha’s.