Bartlett, IL – September 3, 2019 – Factory automation systems integrator Matrix Design reported that new orders from January through August, 2019, grew significantly compared to the prior period and prior year. 
“What’s driving our business is that manufacturers face the tough challenge of producing parts of top quality at competitive costs, despite having trouble filling their production and skilled maintenance job openings—even at increased wages,” said Jeff Bennett, Vice President of Sales. “Automating parts of their plant helps them address this issue, and also improve safety and quality.
 “The traditional automotive segment continues to be strong for Matrix. But the demand we’re seeing from electric vehicles, aerospace, retail, food and beverage, medical, and other industries is exciting to see,” he said. “The general industries segments are growing at a higher rate than traditional automotive. It will be important for our business to continue to develop innovative robotic automation systems and solutions to help keep our customers competitive.

“With so much at stake, these manufacturers realize that they need an expert robotic automation success partner they can count on for concept, design, implementation, and dedicated field support that keeps the systems running productively for years to come,” Bennett said.
Last year, Matrix finished construction and moved into its new facility in Bartlett, IL. “Our new facility provides us with a new layout and more floor space so that we can more efficiently handle a wider variety of Automation Systems,” said Patrick Bertsche, President. “In past years, we had to be more selective when taking on new work, simply because available space restricted our capacity.  With our new layout and building, though, we have the capacity to take on larger projects and shorten our lead times. We’ve also invested heavily into our employee base through training, enrichment and development programs. We know our most important asset is our employee base, and the only way we can continue to grow with the Automation market is to recruit and retain the best talent in the industry.”

Matrix Design develops, builds and installs robotic automation systems and provides services to factories worldwide. A FANUC-authorized system integrator (ASI) and an RIA certified robot integrator (CRI), Matrix is a leader in supplying standard and custom robotic material handling systems including machine tending (machine tool loading/unloading), part/tray exchange, inspection, palletizing, robotic deburring and general handling solutions.
For more information on Matrix Design, visit, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or call Matrix at 847-841-8260.


SASKATOON, Aug. 28, 2019 /CNW/ - Canada must embrace a skills agenda and boost innovation to capitalize on the rising demand for agricultural products around the world according to a new report from RBC ( The report estimates the sector's GDP could reach $51 billion in output by 2030 - up from $32 billion today -- if the right investments in people and technology are made.

"Within the coming decade, there will be about nine billion people to feed around the world -- over one billion more than today," said John Stackhouse, Senior Vice-President, RBC. "Our sector is well-positioned to supply the rising demand. Canada is consistently ranked one of the world's top five exporters, and we anticipate trade agreements with Europe, the United States and the Pacific Rim region will enable our producers to tap into large and fast growing markets."

Yet the report cites a number of challenges that may undermine the sector's prospects. The current shortage of Canadian agriculture workers is expected to grow to an estimated 123,000 positions by 2030. Moreover, new skills are required to manage the farm of the future, as automation and new and emerging technologies become as essential to farming as water or fertilizer.

These challenges are exacerbated by a number of structural issues. Canada's rural population growth has remained flat for the past thirty years, which makes it harder to address labour shortages. Additionally, the bulk of the sector's capital is held in large, illiquid assets such as farmland and barns. And high operating costs hamper a producer's ability to invest in new technologies. These and other factors have resulted in uneven adoption and usage of advanced technologies across the country.

A number of the report's recommendations stem from RBC's consultations with a wide range of stakeholders, including producers, industry groups, and academia on the sustainability of the agriculture workforce and the opportunities presented by new technologies. Additionally, the report urges:

  • The federal government to convene a national skills strategy for agriculture, together with employers, workers, educators and industry groups, to plan for future labour needs
  • Industry groups to coordinate efforts on a bold campaign to attract and retain more youth, women, Indigenous people and new Canadians in agriculture
  • Canada's work-integrated learning strategy to incorporate agriculture as a key sector, to increase exposure for non-agriculture students across the agri-food industry
  • Ensure all major research and development initiatives, such as the Protein Supercluster, are linked to education and skills development
  • The federal government should reduce barriers to high skilled immigration to agriculture, and consider a dedicated service channel under the Global Skills Strategy
  • Accelerate the development of industry-wide data governance standards, in accordance with Canada's Digital Charter, to increase access to the best data and insights on food production
  • Fulfill the federal commitment to provide high-speed Internet to the remaining 1.5 million rural and remote households within 10 years, giving them access to online learning and cloud computing
  • Learn and apply lessons from countries like the Netherlands, Australia and Israel on approaches to agricultural human capital
  • Recognize agriculture's centrality to Canada's future health and prosperity

"Feeding a hungry world presents a historic opportunity for Canada if we can figure out how to better match people, capital and innovation in the agriculture space," said Stackhouse. "We believe Canada can once again be an agriculture superpower, and do it in a way that cuts greenhouse gas emissions, and supports thousands of communities that still help to define our country."


Steep Hill attending IBIE in Las Vegas booth 3358 

September 8,9,10.11 

IBIE, also known as the Baking Expo™, gathers everyone in the global grain-based food industry by presenting a broad range of solutions, allowing for each specific market to connect with the key innovations, people and ideas that present the biggest opportunities for success.

Welcoming baking industry professionals from every segment and in every role, IBIE delivers a world of benefits in one streamlined event. What do you need to enhance your efficiency, sharpen your skills and elevate your career? It’s all here at the largest, most comprehensive baking industry event in the Western Hemisphere. Every three years, you have a powerful opportunity to discover the latest trends and innovations, connect with colleagues and exchange ideas with top baking and business professionals. Mark your calendar for September 7-11, 2019 and join the global industry leaders in Las Vegas to capitalize on the big opportunities only found at IBIE.

Steep Hill Equipment, based in Abbotsford BC, buys sells and refurbishes used food and beverage machinery.

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