TMEIC Signs World’s Largest Single Automated-Stacking Cranes Order

tmeic port contract roanoke

TMEIC in Roanoke County signed the largest one-time contract order for automated stacking cranes at the Port of Virginia on Friday.

The $217 million contract with Konecranes was announced late last year and includes 86 specialized cranes that will be at the center of the port’s expansion projects. Roanoke-based TMEIC is Konecranes’ automation technology partner, meaning the automation for these cranes will be supplied by TMEIC.

In addition to supplying 860 TMEIC-manufactured TMdrive-10e2 industrial drives, the automation package for the project will incorporate TMEIC’s state of the art laser-based Maxview and Maxspeed control systems, providing automated solutions for high speed movement and placement of both 20 and 40 foot containers. Maxspeed crane control systems constantly adjust speed and direction of the crane motors driving the gantry, trolley, cable reels and hoist, providing incredibly fast reaction time to operator joystick, precise control and ultimately higher crane production rates. In conjunction with TMEIC’s Maxview crane laser-based vision systems, The Port of Virginia expansion will experience labor savings, increased yard productivity, reduced equipment maintenance and improved safety.
“This project will create jobs and economic spin-off,” Gov. Terry McAuliffe said. “One the first beneficiaries of that will be TMEIC, which is a growing company that, with Konecranes, has a global demand for its services: it will be good for TMEIC and it will be good for Virginia.”
Because of the expansion project, the port will expand container handling capacity at of Virginia International Gateway by 600,000 units and the capacity at Norfolk International Terminal by 400,000 units by 2020.

RAMP Business Accelerator to Grow Region’s Startups

RAMP Business Accelerator

Propelling high-potential startups to expand and create jobs is the goal of RAMP, a new technology business accelerator program set to launch in early 2017 in downtown Roanoke.

Entrepreneurs who seek to scale up their companies will apply to participate in RAMP, which stands for Regional Acceleration and Mentoring Program. The program will be housed in the historic Gill Memorial Hospital building at 709 S. Jefferson St., along the recently announced downtown Health Sciences and Technology Innovation District.

Support for RAMP comes from a broad public/private partnership that draws on leaders in higher education, government, and the region’s growing technology community. RAMP founding partners include:

  • the City of Roanoke, which won a $600,000 state grant approved by Gov. Terry McAuliffe to renovate the Gill building as an accelerator
  • Virginia Western Community College, which will provide business education classes and faculty support
  • the Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council, whose members lead the RAMP Advisory Board and will develop the accelerator’s mentorship and networking initiatives

“The breadth of this partnership demonstrates that many people recognize the need for a business accelerator in the Roanoke-Blacksburg region,” said Dr. Robert H. Sandel, President of Virginia Western Community College and a Roanoke-Blacksburg Innovation Network (RBIN) director. “We believe we can grow and keep our talent, whether it’s in information technology, advanced manufacturing, biosciences or other entrepreneurial efforts.”

The program’s model, based on best practices garnered from existing successful business accelerators, will initially focus on accelerating three to five technology- or life science-focused companies per year, said Jonathan Whitt, President and CEO of the Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council. Companies accepted into RAMP will work closely with multiple mentors during an intensive three- to four-month “boot camp for founders” designed to focus on building, testing, improving, validating product-market fit, and launching their product for the market.

RAMP will operate from the top floor of the three-story Gill building, which was constructed as an ear, nose and throat clinic by civic leader Dr. Elbyrne Gill in 1930. Virginia Western Community College will offer business education courses open to the public on the second floor.

Marc Nelson, special projects coordinator for Roanoke’s Department of Economic Development and a RAMP Advisory Board member, said the renovation project has a target completion date of December 2016. Support for the effort also comes from the city’s Economic Development Authority, which has pledged $100,000 over four years.

Learn more about the program.

Regional Broadband Authority Sets Rates and Plans to Sign First Customers

Roanoke Valley Broadband AuthorityThe first businesses to take advantage of the new regional fiber network will come online in the coming weeks.
The Roanoke Valley Broadband Authority plans to sign its first customers to the new 50-mile regional network in April after setting rates for services last week. The regional broadband authority offers fiber-based, business-class service. The bandwidth offered through the Authority’s services is exclusive to the end user and is ideal for institutions and businesses that must move large volumes of data reliably.  
The authority will also allow customers to lease dark fiber. Dark fiber is unlit fiber strands which allow clients that wish to install their own electronics to light their own dedicated fiber strands leased from the authority. Approximately 25 percent of the regional network is devoted to dark fiber, which has been available in only limited areas of the region.  
The regional authority’s services add to a diverse set of regional telecom and fiber-based communications services. The authority’s offerings provide access to dedicated bandwidth and even dark fiber services in areas of the region where such services were not available before. This new regional fiber network will be an asset for burgeoning technology businesses.
The completion and lighting of the network in April will be a major milestone for a new regional cooperative program. The authority was created in 2013 by the Counties of Botetourt and Roanoke and the Cities of Roanoke and Salem. The authority was a direct result of both public and private efforts to better understand and to advocate for more fiber-based broadband services.