Giving Back

Community Charity

The industrial community has had a mixed record on charity in the community. Several of the large companies make large and meaningful contributions to the community however there is still somewhat of a disconnect of the industry with the community itself. Not being directly in the service industry can make industrial based companies seem as not integrated in the community. All of us at Pic would like to turn that image around and help people to see us as a company built of people from the local community. We have the shared interests as the people we work for and with. We are directly related in many ways to the vital services in the community services such as medical, educational, emergency, charitable and many more. We have a deep desire to give back to the community and help those in need.

We are not only making a commitment to monetary charitable donations we are also committed to donating our time and knowledge. We are always looking for charities that are in need of volunteers and encourage and support all of our workers in volunteer efforts.

If you are involved in or know of a charity that could benefit from our support please feel free to contact us, we want to build a better safer community for everyone to enjoy.

Pic Hires Local, and the Best

There is a lot of sentiment that businesses should buy and hire locally if possible. With Pic it is not only possible but ideal. Alberta is home to the best millwrights in the world. Thus, it is an easy choice to hire locally.

Before an Albertan becomes a millwright, they have access to some of the world’s best education facilities; see, for example, NAIT and SAIT. Furthermore, once becoming a millwright, there are excellent ongoing programs to enhance skills; visit, for example, the Alberta Millwrights Training Center.

Millwrights in Alberta are some of the highest-paid millwrights globally, and they are worth every penny. While other companies often see gains from paying lower wages to increase profits, Pic is devoted to the best and locally supplied labor. Pic is proudly dedicated to hiring locals and is very happy the choice is an easy one.



I recently had the opportunity to work with and discuss shaft alignments with some millwrights from a maintenance back round and made me reflect on some of the experience that has shaped my view of alignment. Often what I hear when working in the maintenance field is “good enough” and “it will run forever

like that”. While this may be true at times it and have some relevance, it reflects some poor attitudes towards machinery alignment. Often the case in maintenance alignments is you do not have the time or resources to correct previous or on-going issues. The equipment often needs to be back in service in a short window or it may not be economical to correct things such as soft caused by bases or machinery not being perfectly flat or the foot is angled to the base. I have often observed that bases have a twist to them causing not only soft foot but shafts to form somewhat of an S curve.

All these issues can lead to several on going problems. The most common being loss of clearances in critical parts of the machinery. Symptoms of misalignments issues can be reduced life of the parts in the machinery such as bearings, seals and other moving parts. Even when the coupling of the machinery is in alignment these issues can be present and cause damaging vibrations within the equipment. Just like a solid house proper equipment alignment rely heavily on their foundations.

This is where the experience of proper construction can play an important role in understanding of equipment foundations and base installations. Pic Industrial has had the benefit of installing equipment from concrete up. We will commonly supply the base plates for motors as well as driven equipment a

nd have the benefits to achieve the highest results of flatness in these components. Knowing the importance of flatness in achieving the most stringent specifications of installation on the most critical equipment is key. Once we verify the flatness of the base plates, we are working with we can easily

achieve near perfect level in both co planer and co linear measurements. Knowing your base is level you can now proceed to verifying the flatness of the equipment which is often not easy to do and can require special blocking and jigs to measure the flatness of equipment feet. After grouting the equipment bases in using the highest of standards beyond manufactures specifications we can now proceed to rough alignments. Often what we will do at this stage is align the driver to the equipment having everything centered in its hold down bolts and precisely mark out for the hold down bolts of the driver and drill and tap the hold down bolts holes thus eliminating any risk of being bolt bound on our final alignments.

Piping is the next challenge in the installation process of the equipment. Painstaking efforts must be taken to have no to minimal strain on the equipment fro

m piping. Monitoring the equipment shafts during piping installations and having no more than 1 to 2 thousandths of movement in the equipment at the coupling is critical. Much like soft foot pipe strain will translate hidden stresses through the equipment and can damage equipment over time as

well as cause the equipment to move over time.

Now that we have walked through the process of installation from concrete preparation to pipe strain, we have only our final alignments before the equipment is ready to run. The steps will seem relatively simple when you walk slowly and methodically, however with simple steps comes simple rules. When you have simple rules to follow there is often no room for deviation from these rules. When each step in the process yields high results and precision you are left with a proper equipment alignment. It is often the case that the final alignment of equipment weighing several thousands of kilograms and rated for thousands of horsepower will take less than a few hours. When the foundation of the equipment is proper alignments look easy and there is absolutely no need to ever say that the alignment is good enough. The absolute highest standards of alignment are achievable when all the components of alignment come together. Having the background of seeing equipment installed and the final product is a great alignment helps to spot and recognize problems when aligning troublesome equipment. Some of the best millwrights I have worked with can recognize when things such as soft foot, twisted bases, pipe strain, bolt bound or out of flat bases are the source of the issues. When you have a complete picture of the alignment process and know the source for issues that arise during alignment you will be better able to mitigate and resolve the issues.

There will always be a large range of equipment with different degrees of tolerances and barriers to achieving the perfect alignment but the better you can understand the process of alignment the better your alignments will be. Knowing that alignments start from the ground up will leave you a better millwright and with a more ability to properly perform equipment alignments.

Freedom From Green Policies

Why governments need to step back from green energy and focus on economic growth.

We need tophoto-2016-08-06-7-09-32-am let a bad idea die even if it has good intentions. Governments often don’t have the incentive to kill ideas and programs that aren’t producing intended results. Election cycles and social movements will often dictate initiatives of the parties and most will fall short of their intended result. Good ideas and technology don’t require government help, they will succeed because they are an improvement over the current model of operation. Interference from government bodies on things like energy pricing and modes of delivery has proven to cause a less competitive environment. A side affect of this could be less drive for innovation and could slow down the process to a greener energy market.

I feel the need to clarify at this point that I am a full supporter of renewable and alternative forms of energy, as well as fossil fuels. I think that the idea that these are mutually exclusive is false and leads to a narrow view the ingenuity that humans show. I have spent a great deal of time listening to different points of view about energy in the future and the only conclusion I can come up with is that technology and freedom are key. Articles like “Clean energy’s dirty secret” from the economist and people like Alex Epstein have pointed out some the road blocks faced by the Clean Energy Movement.

Wind and Solar are not new ideas, they have been around for several decades and have failed to make substantial contributions and require massive support from government initiatives. The more that governments get involved with energy markets the more innovation is driven out. Clean energy movements are not going to stop anytime soon but they will need some huge break throughs to solve the problems they face like intermittency, energy storage and infrastructure design. These problems will only be solved with technological innovation, and free markets have shown time and time again to foster innovation better markets with government interference. The incentives for cheaper cleaner energy already exist to consumers with out inefficient government programs. Don’t get me wrong governments serve a very important purpose of ensuring that the companies are following the rules and guidelines set out to protect the environment but that’s were it should end. Governments need to referee the game and not play in it.

Take for example the return on investment that you can see from things such as the carbon xprize. A contest sponsored by NRG energy and Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance handing out $20-million in prize money to new innovations. Huge innovations are coming from this contest and making their way right into industry with minimal cost to current economies. The world is changing and as people become more connected and technology advances at break neck speeds governments need to simply foster human innovation. Great ideas are coming from everywhere and they need to be fostered by governments not driven away with regulation.

I know that this article may just be another kick at an already dead horse, most people have made up their minds on this issue and don’t need any more redundant talk or they only want to hear what supports their point of view. Living in Alberta, loving nature and the outdoors as well as working in the oil in gas industry seems to leave me no option but to follow this subject daily. Technology and innovation need freedom more than anything else, there was never programs to phase out type writers. The laptop I wrote this on took over from type writers for obvious reasons, when technology answers problems in society there is no stopping it. Government involvement will only hinder its innovation as its proven to do time and time again. When given the freedom to innovate, Clean Energy will clear the hurdles in front of it and when that happens there will be no stopping it, well that’s my opinion for what its worth.

Alberta Economic Whoes

The Oil and Gas slowdowns have affected nearly all Albertans, but what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. Of course this statement does not hold true in all cases, however we believe it holds true in this case. Major producers have greatly reduced costs recently in an effort to be profitable in an economy with lower commodity prices. Even though a great deal of these cost saving measures came in the form of layoffs there has also been a great deal of inefficiencies identified. Becoming more efficient and cost effective will help to ensure that these companies stay profitable in the future and in turn continue to develop and invest in Alberta.

There has already been signs of price increases in terms of commodities in Alberta; A barrel of oil today costs 46.21$, it was closer to 30$ just a few months ago. This increase in commodity prices may be the light on the horizon for Alberta as it may signal the end of the current economic slowdown.


The need for new innovations and technologies has been identified during the oil and gas slowdowns. This need isn’t limited to innovations in the green or renewable energy sector. The need for renewable energy sources is clear but what is also clear is that all modern world infrastructure is in need of reliable and affordable energy while renewable energies are developed. While green energies are developed for future use it is often overlooked how much innovation occurs in the oil and gas industry. Alberta is a leader in developing new technology to make the extraction and use of oil and gas more efficient and ecofriendly. As Industry processes and operations become more efficient Pic is committed to the doing the same. We are focused on helping all Industries run smoothly and as efficiently as possible. Proper maintenance of machinery is critical for their proper operation. Studies have shown proper maintenance can reduce the operating costs of some machinery by 30% or more. Proper installation is also extremly important. Without proper installation machinery may never run properly and thus be very ineffecient.


Pic is here to work with its customers, we are your partners in making your machinery work for you. We know that you have had to work hard to find ways to make it in a slow economy and we want to work with you too see you through the current tough times. We know brighter days are ahead. In the end Alberta and Pic will be stronger!



Alberta is very Carbon Competitive!

During the recent lag in oil prices it has been suggested that perhaps there is no future for oil in Alberta. This is based on the simple fact that oil production costs more in Alberta than in many other parts of the world (see Saudi Arabia and other OPEC countries). Something that is really missing from this debate is that Alberta may produce more expensive oil, but it also is leading the world in the clean production of oil.

A common term that is often used is “carbon competitive” or the “DE carbonization” of oil.  The Millwrights of Alberta are at the leading edge of introducing clean technology into the energy sector.  This may ultimately lead to the reemergence of Alberta as an energy super power in the world.

Technology that reduces the carbon footprint of oil is being developed and invented each and every day. Not a day goes by where there isn’t some breakthrough in this regard. It is Millwrights, more than anyone else, that is at the forefront of installing and fitting this new equipment.

While things may seem bleak in Alberta now, it is strongly believed that Alberta will in time again be a leader in oil production. This belief comes firsthand from seeing the clean energy technology being installed.  While Alberta may not produce the cheapest oil, it can certainly produce the cheapest clean oil!!

The following article in the financial post is very interesting and discusses the issue:

Canada has a secret weapon in the war to crush Saudi Arabia for market share: Clean oil

Tough Times for the Energy Sector in Alberta

It is no secret that this is not the best of times in Alberta. The low prices of oil and government policy has results in some 73 000 Albertans losing their jobs. The Millwright Industry of Alberta has been hard hit just like the rest of Alberta. While many millwright companies, like Pic Industrial, have been able to stay busy the burden of this down time is certainly felt. While the government of Alberta, the NDP, is certainly not solely to blame it would be ideal if they took more action to alleviate some of the job losses. The Millwright industry of Alberta relies heavily on the production and export of natural resources; this should be no secret. The NDP’s stance on increasing taxes, cleaning up the environment, and establishing a royalty review have certainly been a large part of the problem.

In a recent open letter to Ms. Notley, the leader of the NDP, Kevin O’Leary, a prominent Canadian businessman, has suggested that the NDP temporarily reduce the tax increase and establish policies that would get more investment dollars flowing to Alberta. It is a very interesting read and it would be in Alberta’s best interest to focus on some solutions to the current job losses that are plaguing this province. Read the open letter here:

A Rough Time for Alberta, or is Growth Around the Corner?

There has been much speculation that the low oil prices, and even the new NDP government, will lead to slow growth in Alberta. While, at least in part, there is no doubt truth to this and Albertans are probably correct to anticipate a slow few years; there is a catch to this story. That catch is that cheap oil should also lead to growth. Oil is a major industry in Alberta but with cheap oil it also means that many other industrial projects in Alberta just became cheaper to implement.

If Alberta can maintain its strong “Alberta Advantage” there is no reason to think the long term outlook for Alberta will simply go down with low Oil prices. A millwright can tell you first hand there is a lot of infrastructure present in Alberta. There are plenty of good reasons to see strong industrial growth as low oil prices and the abundance of infrastructure propel future investments forward. The Future is bright and Pic looks forward to serving a booming Alberta. There will no doubt be some bumps and transitions ahead, but fundamentally Alberta is still a great place to invest. We have highly skilled workers and infrastructure; Alberta can adjust in a way that allows us to benefit from low oil. Growth is no doubt around the corner in Alberta.


What makes an Albertan Millwright?

A millwright is the rough term used to describe a trade that historically revolves around modern mills; such as flour mills, saw mills and paper mills. The trait became specialized as the machinery used in such mills became specialized. The trade has been changing as the equipment and technology quickly changes. Thus while a trade with roots as far back as the industrial revolution and the period where mills started to expand across the world it is also a very modern skill. While blacksmiths have largely become extinct millwrights go back nearly as far and are still around today.

The Alberta millwright is a special breed. Trained to operate in the unique northern environment we inhabit. The Albertan millwright is more knowledge in things like oil that makes much of the Albertan Economy tick. With that the Albertan millwright also has the tools of the trade and can work with all types of heavy-duty equipment common in industrial operations.



How Millwrights can help you adapt to a changing economy

The global economy is like a treadmill; if you stand still you’re going to get knocked off. The reality is the global economy is always moving and changing. While there is always room for some timeless good and services most have to adapt and do so quickly. Usually this adaptation involves the implementation of high tech machinery. This is the specialty of the millwright.

Thus Millwrights can be your best friend when it comes to adapting to a changing economy. Here at PIC industrial we aim not only to do basic upgrades and installations but to help businesses thrive. If you think that your business can gain from installing industrial type equipment please give us a call. Millwrights have a long history of being at the forefront of technology. It is the name of the game in the millwright business.

Alberta has been one of the fastest growing economies in the entire world of the past couple decades and it has been Alberta Millwrights that have often been the first step in this process.