We are always keen to share our expertise on hot-dip galvanizing, and we are proud to present this issue which, we hope, will allow you to acquire new knowledge on the subject. Today, we have successfully established ourselves as the leading hot-dip galvanizer in Central and Eastern Canada thanks to the dedication of our employees, our ability to exceed industry standards and the trust placed in us by our customers. Many thanks to everyone for being part of this great adventure with us.
Enjoy your reading! Tania Lacelle
A word from our President
Dear friends and colleagues. As a Corbec employee, I am completing my 19th year and my first as President. I must admit that I am extremely proud of what we have accomplished together this year. We set several objectives for ourselves, many of which have already been achieved!
We are now in an era where markets are constantly changing. Indeed, globalization and the emergence of large corporations threaten the balance of the markets every day. Our competition is no longer just local or regional, we now must compete with American, European and Asian companies. We also face competition from other materials such as structural wood, aluminum, weathering steel and stainless steel to name a few.
Having said that, let’s look at our dynamics:
What can Corbec Control
- The addition of new value-added services such as specific packaging, architectural quality, labelling, etc.
- The improvement of service, quality, and delivery times.
- The development of new markets and new OEM products.
What can Corbec not Control
- Competition, new products and new technologies.
- The price of zinc and world markets.
- The importing of galvanized steel for major projects such as the new Champlain Bridge.
In addition to all the above, we also face ever-increasing pressure from our customers and markets to increase quality levels to near-perfect expectations. Despite all these challenges and hurdles, I do believe in our ability to meet and overcome these obstacles. Once again, you have shown your great appreciation and trust in the Corbec family.
In this edition of Shop Talk, I wanted to talk about Corbec’s commitment to delivering industry leading Customer Service. In today’s ever changing and challenging environment, customer demands and expectations change regularly, and the bar keeps on rising. Our ability to continuously meet these service demands is what distinguishes Corbec from others in the industry.
So how do we strive for improvement on customer service in a very intense just-in -time industry? We have chosen the Lean approach to guide us in our improvement efforts.
What is Lean? The core idea of Lean is relentlessly working on eliminating waste from our processes. So, what is waste? Waste is defined as any activity that does not add value from a customer’s perspective.
What does Lean mean to Corbec and the galvanizing world? We are a service-oriented company, with processes that are not as typical as a regular manufacturing company. Yet, we still need to examine what it takes to deliver excellent service to our customers: Giving the customer what they want, when they want it!
Implementation of a lean approach in our processes has allowed Corbec to improve its ability to galvanize large variety of small volume batches with quick turnaround times to meet to our customers’ requirements (A far cry from when the original Lean thinker Henry Ford created the first flow line that worked only with very high volume and no product variety: ("Any color as long as its black").
The Lean approach has taught us to tackle our challenges from a different perspective. Our driving force now is – resolving the problems that are the obstacles to supplying the best customer service possible.
Our Lean Philosophy is simple:
- Respect for people
- Relentless elimination of waste through continuous improvement
- UFocus on adding value from a customer’s perspective.
Collaboration and communication
Supply Chain Manager
The galvanizing process does not require a vast array of raw materials. What is important however is to ensure that the production flow is not interrupted due to missing supplies. With the advancement of market globalization and the necessity to take advantage of global sourcing economics, the supply chain is faced with new and exciting challenges. Longer lead times and unforeseen shipping complications being the two most common issues, can quickly lead to stock-outs and production stoppages. Add in the complexity of supplying materials to 3 different plants and the procurement process can become more daunting.
So how do you take on the challenge of supplying multiple plants with material from multiple sources that are located overseas. At Corbec, we have put a greater emphasis on materials requirement planning. While forecasting has always played an important role in the production planning process, it is taking on an even more critical role in purchasing and inventory decisions in our environment today. Never has it been more important than when ordering from suppliers whose manufacturing plants are across the ocean.
Fostering close relations between sales and production planning has always been key to maintaining a high level of on-time deliveries to our customers. That level of communication is now just as important with the purchasing function.
Maintaining proper levels of inventory in 3 plants can be demanding, but it also presents greater opportunities to consolidate orders into one shipping unit and then drop-ship once the container is in Montreal. This has allowed us to not only reduce freight costs on several raw materials but also streamlining inventories since there is a steady stream of deliveries.
Providing suppliers our annual and monthly consumption patterns has been instrumental in maintaining a steady supply chain as well, as this allows our suppliers to properly forecast their production.
Combining volumes from the 3 locations also allows us to have a stronger purchasing power for big volume items. Granted, combining the needs of 3 plants can be like a jigsaw puzzle when planning orders. Who doesn’t enjoy a good jigsaw puzzle!!! The key is to collaborate with all the stake-holders to ensure that our plants can galvanise without interruptions.
As we move forward, maintaining a closer working relationship with a limited number of suppliers, keeping open communication with supply chain partners, and collaborating on developing long-term relationships will be key to our supply chain success and ultimately maintaining a high level of customer satisfaction.
Communication at the center of a successful project
The discussions we have with our customers allow us to fully understand their requirements and analyze the project in its entirety. We can identify and review designs, verify types of steel specified and ascertain whether these specifications could be challenging if for example the ASTM A123 Standard were required. This exchange of information then allows us to find out if we will be able to meet the standard in terms of both adherence and appearance. Design adjustments or specific surface preparations would be reviewed during these meetings. These discussions also allow us to educate our customers on the visual aspect of galvanizing, which varies and can change over time. Once we have all this information we can establish a proper timeline and address the issue of target dates. Indeed, from the beginning, we must establish a schedule as close as possible to reality to ensure that we will be able to meet customer deadlines and product expectations.
Project dates remain extremely important to us and therefore we carry out a monthly assessment in terms of forecasts and production planning for our clients. Forecasts are often difficult to establish in the structure market segment but still significant for the galvanizer. It is therefore essential to do this exercise carefully to ensure that we will be able to meet our clients’ deadlines and, at the same time, eliminate as much as possible the risks related to project schedules. This exercise cannot be successful without the collaboration of our customers.
The Implementation Phase:
As with the preliminary stage of any project, constant communication with the customer greatly contributes to managing and controlling risks in terms of deadlines and quality during its implementation phase, while ensuring that we are a valuable partner in the execution of our customers’ projects. We carry out spot-checks at the beginning of the implementation of the project to ensure that all the information gathered during the preliminary project meeting is being successfully utilised. We inspect the equipment and make any adjustments if necessary. Mid-term meetings can also be an excellent means of feedback to ensure the project is progressing as planned, that the Communication at the center of a successful project client’s internal production meets the initial deadlines, that there are no design issues and that time lines are going according to the project’s schedule.
It is also very important to stay in close contact during final inspections both internally at Corbec and with external inspectors. We work in collaboration with our customers and their inspectors. Additionally, when necessary, we provide packaging and storage recommendations to minimize the problems that could arise between the time the product leaves our facility and the final installation at the site.
Corbec is committed to going to meet with customers, assessing and understanding the market and getting involved in our customers projects in order to better identify their requirements. This proactive approach combined with the constant support of our production personnel and our valued customers’ collaboration all are the basis of our recipe for success!
Communication can sometimes be difficult, but it can be implemented and nurtured!
Through the years
Over the years, Corbec has been repeatedly recognized at the AGA Excellence Gala. Here are some of our prizes.
Located in an Inuit village in Kuujjuaq, in northern Quebec, this airport is an important landmark for the community. Originally, this project was based on the owner’s intention to be environmentally responsible. In addition to reducing waste and costs related to corrosion maintenance and repairs, galvanizing is also a recyclable process that complies with required expectations. Finally, hot-dip galvanizing was an excellent choice to allow the incomplete structure to be exposed without damage during the arctic winters in this region.
Saint-John, New Brunswick
Located in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canaport is a Canadian crude oil receiving terminal located on the north-eastern shore of the Atlantic Ocean. Strong winds, salt water and extreme winter conditions are all environmental elements that render the facilities and infrastructure of this region vulnerable to corrosion. By using hotdip galvanizing throughout this facility, it was possible to overcome these corrosive elements with a superior cathodic protection system.
The Contemplay Pavilion, built in Montreal, is a sustainable public infrastructure that plays on the visual aspect through its shape and coating. Indeed, as the public approaches the pavilion, the visual field seems to be interrupted and modified by the interference created by movement and coating. The choice of galvanized steel was selected here for aesthetic and technical reasons. In fact, galvanizing not only created a grey colour, but also provided a more sustainable and cost-effective process for the project. Over time, galvanized steel and wood will form a common visual structure reflecting the architectural objectives of the Contemplay project.
Achievements for 2018
Throughout the year, we galvanised several unique projects in our plants. We are proud to present some of our highlights!
Commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armistice
To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armistice, the mayor of Montmagny, Mr. Rémy Langevin, decided to erect a magnificent commemorative sculpture in the park that he recently renamed Remembrance Park. This sculpture pays tribute to all the soldiers who gave their lives to serve our country and defend our freedoms. For the city of Montmagny, the new name of this park and the memorial will serve to convey the sense of sacrifice of all its honored citizens. The sculpture, serving as a tribute to veterans, is also the epitome of the aesthetics and durability of galvanized steel. Residents of the region as well as tourists will have the opportunity to appreciate this work for decades!
Dieppe, New Brunswick
Designed and manufactured by the artist Guylaine Cyr, this work is composed of a series of metal plates located along the ice oval in Place 1604. Each piece depicts a special characteristic representing each of the 10 provinces of Canada including the lily for Quebec, the tit and the Acadian flag for New Brunswick or the Confederation Bridge for Prince Edward Island. With the wish that this project, be not only aesthetically pleasing but also last so it can be enjoyed by several generations, Ms. Cyr had the metal plates galvanized. This was done at our plant in St Augustin.
Ecosculptures Botanical Garden
At the Atlanta Botanical Garden, they have a structure named «Earth Goddess». Measuring 25 feet in height, it is the largest permanent structure found in the gardens. Under the vegetation covering the statue, we find a structure that was fully galvanized at our plant in Princeville. This project was realized in conjunction with our customer Acme Decor, located in Beloeil. Additionally, this sculpture is part of one of the scenes of the movie «Nappily Ever After» currently playing on Netflix! We are very proud of our celebrity sculpture!
How does welding influence the quality of hot-dip galvanizing?
The silicon content on the steel surface and the hot-dip galvanizing coating aspect are well known standard elements. When the welding electrode or wire’s chemical composition deviates significantly from the steel composition to be welded, clear differences may appear after galvanization, both in the coating aspect and thickness, between the nearby zinc layer and the weld. Some welding electrodes contain almost 1% silicon and this can lead to the formation of very thick dull grey galvanic coatings, which can result in poorly bonded coating to the welding seams. This is referred to as «over thickness» or «raising» of the weld seams. To prevent this, we recommend electrodes or a welding wire with no more than 0.7% silicon be utilized. As a result of the diluting effect that occurs when welding seams are made, the silicon content of these seams is then sufficiently limited, it will be ≤ 0.25%.
From the illustration below, we can see that the Sandelin curve clearly shows the effect of the silica on the galvanic growth, if the electrode silica rate is in the reactive zone, once galvanized, the weld will be very apparent because the galvanic coating will be much larger on the weld than on the tubes. HSS tubes almost always have silica concentrations < 0.04% of the mass, so little galvanic growth.
After welding, the cleanliness of the weld significantly affects the quality and appearance of the galvanized coating. If a process such as, SMAW, FCAW SAW, that generates slag is used, then the slag must be thoroughly cleaned before galvanizing, otherwise non-galvanized surfaces of black color appear that sharply contrast with the silvery white zinc appearance. Chemical cleaning solutions, commonly referred to as «acids», used in the pre-treatment process during galvanizing cannot remove slag. Therefore, welding impurities must be removed by other means such as grinding, abrasive cleaning or wire brush.
Special attention must be made to ensure that the cleaning of impurities must be done according to the SSPC-SP2 standard for manual cleaning and SSPC-SP3 for cleaning with power tools. By following these standards, the surface condition for hot-dip galvanizing is well prepared.
If the surface condition is not properly cleaned or prepared, defects will appear, and the cathode protection will be inadequate. Some of these defects include:
- 1-Poorly galvanized material that is recognizable by black spots around and on the welds;
- 2-Finish of a different appearance between the base metal and the weld;
- 3-Peeling on the weld (often found on HSS tubes).
In conclusion, the choice of the filler metal and welds cleaning play a very important role in the hot-dip galvanizing of welded structures, therefore the necessity to carefully select them and to adequately prepare the surfaces cannot be understated.
Human Resources Advisor
An objective in 2018 for the human resources team was to improve the process of reviewing risk analysis inherent to the workstations in order to have an assessment of the reality in the plants. To achieve this goal, we followed training programs with health and safety specialists to learn about new trends and produce reference documents based on industry best practices.
As a result, we have created a matrix allowing the assessment of each risk based on specific factors such as: degree of severity, realistic exposure frequency, current control measures and existing legislation. The matrix also allows the evaluation of possible solutions for the same risk factors and to quickly detect if the solution will have real impact on the risk.
First, we would like to thank all the employees and managers who participated in the risk identification study through discussion, observation, participation in the health and safety committee and proposal for innovative solutions. Your contribution has allowed us to have a precise and tangible matrix. In conjunction with this gathering of information, the human resources team evaluated all first aid interventions and accidents from the past two years so that they would have a significant impact in the search for a solution.
After identification of the greatest risks, we have established action plans with the evaluation committees. Some solutions have already been implemented and several other projects are currently being applied. We are committed to keeping the analysis tables up to date by inputting the data as soon as a new risk is identified and by ensuring that they are quickly rated by the evaluation committee.
We believe that prevention is the key to a safe workplace and we continue to strive for an environment where all risks are under control.
Recognition - Years of service
We would like to acknowledge and thank all our employees for their contribution to Corbec’s success. We hope that you will continue to be pleased in your work environment.
Pierre Pichette, Qc Plant
Ramon Adalberto Munguia Carmona, Mtl Plant
Diego Alejandro Molina Vasquez, Mtl Plant
Fredy Stanley Tovar, Mtl Plant
Martin Bisson, Qc Plant
Céderic Langlais, Qc Plant
Anold Kugah, Mtl Plant
Thank You M. Pierre Pichette
We would like to mention that Mr. Pierre Pichette passed away suddenly on September 1, 2018, 8 days after his 25th anniversary at Corbec.
Thank You, Pierre, for all these years of service and may you rest in peace.
Promotions to permanent status positions between May 2018 and November 2018
Internal promotion of employees is an objective that Corbec strives for as a means of rewarding strong performance and motivating employees with advancement opportunities within the organization. The career opportunities at Corbec are real and we are committed to invest in the employees that show interest and potential for growth. We continue to work on developing and offering training that is adapted to our personnel in an effort to ensure that our people grow with Corbec.
Here are the nominations (promotions) for the months leading up to end of November 2018 for the entire group. We wish you good luck in your new challenges.
Exterior Forklift Operators
Kennyon Fowlen Bain
Interior Forklift Operators
Alexandre Robert Dubé
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