NGIF Invests in Kinitics Automation to Eliminate Methane Venting

Kinitics Automation has entered into a contribution agreement with NGIF Industry Grants (a division of NGIF Capital Corporation) after successfully completing its clean technologies funding competition. NGIF joins Emissions Reduction Alberta as a funding partner supporting the demonstration of the Kinitics Valve Actuator for zero-bleed valves at natural gas production facilities.

This all-electric valve actuator is being developed to replace methane-venting pneumatic devices. Widely deployed throughout natural gas operations in Western Canada, these pneumatic devices are collectively a major source of greenhouse gas emissions.

Built using the company’s shape memory alloy technology, the Kinitics Valve Actuator addresses critical gaps in the current marketplace. The demonstration project will help industry accelerate the transition to zero-methane-emission well sites.

This demonstration project is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of 1,498 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. At commercial scale, the Kinitics Valve Actuator has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Alberta by the equivalent of 9,757,633 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.

NGIF investors supporting the project include Chevron Canada Ltd., Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., Petronas Energy Canada Ltd., Perpetual Energy Inc., and Tourmaline Oil Corp.


Dean Pick, President, Kinitics Automation:

“We are excited to work with NGIF and its upstream investors in pursuit of methane emission reductions. Access to the end-user has allowed us to sit down and listen to their needs, paving the way for us to address those needs with a purpose-built innovative solution. The opportunity to test and demonstrate our solution in industry relevant settings will help to accelerate the technology roll-out process while breaking down the commercial adoption barriers.”

John Adams, President and CEO, NGIF Capital Corporation:

“Kinitics Automation has long been committed to driving cleantech innovation in natural gas production. NGIF is proud to once again invest in their technologies which is expected to eliminate the venting of methane at well sites. Supporting Kinitics Valve Actuator is another example of the gas industry’s commitment to innovation, affordability, and environmental performance.”

Timothy M. Egan, President and CEO, Canadian Gas Association and Chair, NGIF Capital Corporation:

“Through NGIF Industry Grants, the natural gas industry is able to support technology development that will enhance innovation and environmental performance for the sector, while still ensuring energy affordability and reliability for Canadians. I am excited to see the advancement of Kinitics’ technology that will enable accelerated emissions reductions at production.”

Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) commits over $500K to Kinitics Valve Actuator Project

Emissions Reduction Alberta has announced that Kinitics Automation has been approved to receive $552,000 to fund the “Kinitics Valve Actuator for Gas Producers” project. The project will demonstrate Kinitics’ shape memory alloy linear actuators as a direct replacement for pneumatic devices that vent methane gas at production well sites across Alberta.

Methane venting at Canadian natural gas producers’ well sites is a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions. Pneumatic control devices that use natural gas to operate are a major contributor to this methane venting. According to a recent study, methane venting from pneumatic devices at well sites in Alberta alone is estimated at over 475,000 tonnes per year. By eliminating these methane-venting devices, a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions can be realized.

Projects were selected through a competitive review process. Experts in science, engineering, business development, commercialization, financing, and greenhouse gas quantification reviewed 117 submissions and chose projects based on the strongest potential for success.

Steve MacDonald, CEO, Emissions Reduction Alberta:
“Today’s announcement by the Government of Alberta supports investment attraction, job creation, and economic growth. Some projects will have an immediate impact by improving the performance of the natural gas sector’s existing operations.”

Dean Pick, President, Kinitics Automation:
“Working with our industry partners, Kinitics plans to demonstrate the company’s shape memory alloy-based electric actuators as a viable alternative to methane-venting pneumatic actuators at production well sites. ERA’s contribution will allow us to raise awareness of the technology in the industry, significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and potentially eliminate these methane-venting devices entirely in Western Canada.”

More details about the announcement are available from the Emissions Reduction Alberta website.

Production KLA05 Linear Actuator Reaches Testing Milestone

In mid-March, a Kinitics production KLA05 Linear Actuator reached a major milestone of 1 million cycles in the company’s Test Cell 1. The test apparatus includes a fully loaded KLA05 Linear Actuator, a KCA020 Controller and a PLC running a control system to repeatedly cycle the actuator while telemetry is recorded using a data acquisition system.

This 1 million cycle milestone confirms the reliability of the KLA Linear and its suitability for a wide range of applications.

Kinitics President Dean Pick Presenting at SMST Entrepreneurial Workshop

Note: Due to concerns around the rapidly evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, ASM International has cancelled the SMST Entrepreneurial Workshop.

The SMST (Shape Memory and Superelastic Technologies) Entrepreneurial Workshop takes place May 4-5 in Palm Springs, California, and provides education toward startup success for SMA entrepreneurs. As part of the workshop’s technical program, Kinitics Automation President Dean Pick will be presenting “Designing an SMA Actuator” at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, May 5.

For more information about the program and workshop, visit the event website: SMST Entrepreneurial Workshop

“Designing an SMA Actuator” abstract:
In bringing a Shape Memory Alloy (SMA)-based actuator to market, the designer should be aware of information gaps that exist when applying standard design methodology. These gaps can manifest into a disconnect between the desired performance specifications and the end result. SMA actuators can incorporate electrical, mechanical, thermodynamics, fluid dynamics, and material phase transformation aspects inside a single package. While common form factors for the active SMA element are commercially available there is no standard format for presenting the critical information needed to correctly apply the material. While it may be tempting to rely solely on a simple heat up and cool down process model to predict performance, this can lead to an oversimplification of the design problem. Safe working loads, material biasing, and fatigue life considerations can all have important ramifications late in the design phase and must be considered at an early stage, which necessitates a more in-depth analysis of the application’s requirements than for a non-SMA actuator. These gaps in standard design methodology can be bridged by having a material integrator as part of the design team from the early stages of development.

Kinitics Automation a New Member of CASMART

Kinitics Automation is the latest addition to CASMART, the Consortium for the Advancement of Shape Memory Alloy Research and Technology. CASMART was initiated in 2007 by Boeing, NASA Glenn, NASA Langley and Texas A&M to advance the state of the art for SMA technology, and includes more than 16 academia, industry and government organizations. Alignment on goals such as system-level development, increasing awareness of SMA actuator technology, and promoting wide-spread commercialization made CASMART a natural fit for Kinitics.

Prototype KLA Linear Actuator Reaches Testing Milestone

KLA 1 year mark data plot

This screen capture shows position (black) and force (green) for the prototype actuator over a two-second period, after one year of constant operation.

On March 12 a prototype Kinitics KLA Linear Actuator reached a major milestone: the actuator has been in operation holding a constant position for exactly one year.

The “long duration hold” test involves a prototype Kinitics KLA Linear Actuator, a load cell, and a position sensor arranged inside of a test apparatus. A Kinitics KCA020 AC Controller is used as part of a simple position-feedback control loop while test telemetry is recorded using a data acquisition system. The system has been running since March 12, 2018 in a relatively uncontrolled environment, with only occasional downtimes due to power interruptions. This one-year test milestone confirms the reliability of the KLA Linear Actuator in long-term positioning applications.


Video: Kinitics Haptic Device at IMTS

This video, shot at the IMTS show by Design World magazine, features Kinitics Automation president Dean Pick and Design World editor Lisa Eitel discussing the Kinitics KLA05 Linear Actuator and the Kinitics haptic device. The haptic device combines a KLA05 Linear Actuator and KCA020 Controller, and responds to user force by contracting a distance proportional to the amount of force applied. The device is used to demonstrate the simplicity of controlling the KLA05 Linear Actuator in a variety of applications.

Kinitics Featured in Design World Magazine

The September 2018 issue of Design World features an article on SMA-based linear actuators, highlighting Kinitics technology and the KLA05 Linear Actuator. The article, written by Lisa Eitel, is “Shape Memory Alloy Linear Actuators: A New Option For Positioning” and details the basics of SMA material, how it can be used in a linear actuator, and how feedback sensors and a controller can be utilized with the actuator to output complex motion profiles along with fine positioning and force control.


The article is online at Design World as well as Linear Motion Tips. Read the online version of the article here: Shape Memory Alloy Linear Actuators: A New Option For Positioning. You can also check out the complete Design World issue online here: Design World September 2018.

Kinitics Automation at IMTS 2018

Kinitics Automation will be exhibiting at the 2018 International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) – the world’s leading trade show for industrial technology – in September. The company will be displaying its KLA05 Linear Actuator and KPP05 Piston Pump products, in addition to the KLA05 test stand that demonstrates the actuator and its capabilities. For more details on the show, see our IMTS 2018 page.