This newsletter, which will be published semi-annually, is driven by our desire to share knowledge on hot- dip galvanizing, inform all employees about company developments and to highlight and recognize important events.
The title of our publication, L’essentiel, is a tribute to our primary raw material, zinc, which is an essential element to a healthy life. We hope that this newsletter will be informative, thought-provoking and entertaining. We trust that it will provide everyone with some reading pleasure over the course of the various editions.
Enjoy! Tania Lacelle
A word from our President
Dear colleagues, as you already know, 2018 is the beginning of a new era at Corbec Inc. However, before going forward, let’s go back over the last 18 years so you can understand the extent of our progress.
When I arrived at Corbec in July 2000, I still remember my first day as the Plant Director in Montreal. The plant at the time was located on St-Joseph Street. My first impression was a little mixed. On the one hand I was so impressed with the hot dip galvanizing process, while at the same time, I was a little traumatized by the plant appearance and the working conditions.
I told myself that the challenge was big but also very inspiring. I remember the passion of the team and John’s expansion projects. He has always been a great man with vision; he was already dreaming of a bigger plant and automating the processes. He quickly transposed that passion onto me and I was hooked.
It was when I transferred from the plant to join the Corbec sales team that I really learned to appreciate our work even more. With my background in urban planning, I was always passionate about development, infrastructures and planning. I felt great pride to see that what we galvanized every day made a difference in the community. Each day that I travelled throughout Quebec in search of new applications for our products, I could see how galvanizing, our galvanizing, was enriching the scenery.
It was in 2004 that we could really begin to feel the winds of change that were brought to Corbec. With the completion of the construction of the first big plant, I can still hear John’s words when he told me that he had built it, now all I had to do was to just fill it with production! Despite the scope of the challenge, I immediately understood that all of it was possible and that it was only the beginning.
Since then, we have built a plant in Quebec, the very first automated plant in America. Then, in 2014, we welcomed Galvanisation Québec in Princeville to the Corbec family.
My dear friends, trust me, this is only the beginning!
How do you evaluate plant performance? Are you having a good day? Week? Month? We’ve been told over the years that to answer these questions you need to set up performance indicators, standards, map out material flow, identify bottlenecks etc. All good stuff, but first, you need to be able to measure.
We had attempted to implement different software over the years and tried customizing them to our galvanizing process. We finally realized that what we really needed was to create our own operating system.
The first step was to identify and define what information needed to be collected. Data such as racking and un-racking times for a beam, dip time in the kettle, weight per dip, tracking of customer material per beam. It was the need for this type of specific information that led us to the creation of our own internal control and reporting software. We call it iGALV.
We began using iGALV in Jan 2018 and we expect to continue developing it over the next few years. Besides giving us full visibility on every beam we galvanize, it has also improved the work flow conditions on the shop floor by eliminating unnecessary paperwork while getting important work instructions to our operators.
What is our next big challenge? What do we do with all this information we are gathering with iGALV? The next step is to set up the quality standards and KPI’s to properly begin evaluating plant performance and determine where to focus our continuous improvement efforts.
We strongly believe that iGALV will not only help us with performance indicators and internal controls, it will also help us in improving our understanding of our customers’ products. This in turn will improve our consistency in terms of product and delivery. The biggest upside with iGALV is that it will allow us to support and assist our customers with their own continuous improvement and growth.
Is it possible to make sure that the surfaces are esthetic, bright and shinny?
Since the discovery of the galvanizing process by Luigi Galvani in the 18 century, the primary and most often sole objective of the galvanization process was to protect the steel from corrosion. Today, the goal stays the same, however, in addition to this cathodic protection, our clients want aesthetically pleasing galvanized surfaces. Many factors can affect the aesthetics following hot-dip galvanization, the main ones being: the steel chemistry and the assembly conception. By working with these parameters, it will then be possible to predict the metallurgical reaction and maximize the chances of achieving results that will meet the aesthetic expectations of our customers.
When dealing with the chemistry of steel, elements such as silicon and phosphorus can greatly affect the surfaces appearance by contributing favorably or negatively to galvanic growth. In the ASTM A385 standard, we find the perfect steel chemistry for hot-dip galvanization. When dealing with large architectural projects, if the steel does not meet these specifications, we would recommend proceeding with some tests beforehand to evaluate the results.
The second factor is just as important, the design of the elements to galvanize will greatly influence the aesthetic results. It is imperative to consider such things as the draining and the venting holes of hollow structures, assembly forming closed corners as a priority when deciding to hot-dip galvanize elements of a project. Holes that are too small will lead to longer immersion and extraction time; this will increase the risk of creating zinc runs that will harden on the surfaces. Other undesirable effects could be associated with draining and venting holes that are too small such as a lack of adherence. The documentation on the requirements for holes is extensive and easily available through your Corbec representative.
It will always be a pleasure to provide our customers with our expertise concerning draining holes requirements. In addition to the holes, the type of steel composition chosen for an assembly will also have an impact on aesthetic. Heavy structural steel may have a thicker zinc coating and a dull grey color appearance while the sheets will be more shinny, but with lesser zinc coating, so inferior protection. Combining these two families will give very different appearances. A SSPC SP6 surface treatment could assist in considerably harmonizing the appearance of these two different steel families that form the assembly.
In conclusion, many things can be done beforehand to improve aesthetic results that will meet the architects’ and your expectations. Please do not hesitate to contact us, our team will be happy to share our expertise in concept and design for improving aesthetics in the hot-dip galvanizing process
Expanding the market
Galvanizing is one of the oldest processes used for protecting metal from corroding. Hot-dip galvanizing was invented more than 200 years ago and Corbec has been galvanizing for over 50 years.
Despite its lengthy history, the basic process of hot-dip galvanizing has not really changed over the years. In fact, many of today’s galvanizers still use traditional processes that are comparable to the original methods. These tried and true methods have meant that generations of galvanizers have been galvanizing products in roughly the same ways as the original methods. Corbec was no exception until 2004. With investments in a new plant and the introduction of the biggest kettle in Quebec, the prospect of galvanizing larger assemblies became reality. This led to the opportunity to offer customers a bigger product mix. In fact, it was only a few months after opening that Corbec started to galvanize the first utility trailers.
Unfortunately, the ability to galvanize a bigger product mix was not necessarily met with greater acceptance by non-traditional end users. People’s view toward a galvanized coating was still negative due to their perception about the aesthetic quality of galvanized products. So was this misconception or truth? It was true that in the past galvanizers did not always put a lot of emphasis on obtaining a coating that could compete aesthetically with other types of coating.
This was one of the issues which Corbec had to deal with when approaching potential new customers. We had to knock that barrier down and at the same time, prove that it was possible to obtain a comparably aesthetic level with hot-dip galvanizing.
This was just the beginning of an important market segment for the company. The development of the original equipment manufacturer market segment was made possible, thanks to the imagination of the sales people, the ingenuity of the technical department and the extraordinary collaboration of our customers. The small utility trailers were one of the first non-traditional products that we galvanized. The years and experience that we acquired in the research and development of galvanizing these products made it possible to develop galvanization techniques that allowed us to increase the possibilities to galvanize an even larger number of OEM products.
The construction of the Quebec plant in 2012 with a 56’ kettle, allowed us even more innovation and overcoming more hurdles. Corbec, in collaboration with their customers, took on the challenge of galvanizing tractor-trailer chassis, a product that had been a major challenge until then, not just because of size, but because of low tolerance distortion requirements. Corbec’s R&D team developed a process that allows us to galvanize chassis platforms up to 53 feet as well as to flatbed tow-truck platforms which have almost no distortion tolerance allowed. This knowledge eventually led to working on galvanizing snow-blowers, an accomplishment that should be noted for our ability to galvanize moving parts that require perfect precision for assembly.
The quantity and diversity of OEM’s have kept growing over time. It is undeniably the tractor-trailer chassis sector that became the cornerstone of this market-segment. In fact, in 2017, Corbec galvanized more that 20 000 units from the utility trailer to drays, to road-gritting trucks as well as towing platforms. In fact, Corbec is proud to announce that, after years of research and development, there will soon be galvanized snow blowers on the market.
It is this avant-gardist vision by all involved that allows us to feel that the future will guarantee continued innovations and novelty in galvanization at Corbec. In fact, Corbec’s leadership and excellence in innovation was highlighted across North America by several industry awards for our work with OEM’s.
Investing in our human assets
Human Resources Director
As the director of human resources, I am thrilled to participate in the creation of this internal newsletter and to use this means of communication for all of Corbec’s employees. Our Human Resources is our biggest asset and we feel that by deploying efforts to improve our communication with our personnel, it is an investment in their growth. I hope you will appreciate the efforts that will be made to make this internal newsletter interesting and that we will also succeed in meeting your expectations.
No one will be surprised if I mention that the last years have been full of changes. Like all companies in a constant evolving economy, we cannot watch the train go by. We have to continue our efforts towards continuous improvement at all levels. We have to invest in change management and we need each one of you to be an active participant. It is clear that this change management relies on effective communication and we will continue to invest in the improvement of this communication in order to remain leaders in the galvanizing industry.
Investing in human resources is at the heart of our objectives. We are proud of the recent renewal of the labor agreement at the Montreal Plant for the next 5 years. An agreement that had a high-rate of acceptance from the members, which shows our commitment to understanding and improving our employees working conditions.
We are presently working on a project to offer all employees and their families, an assistance-program to help them in with the multiple challenges that life presents us. The money invested in this project is part of our efforts and commitment that we want to make to our employees. This program will give each employee quick access to professional services for different personal challenges, like family problems, addictions, finances, etc. more information will be supplied in the following months.
Additionally, we will review our employee recognition program this year so as to acknowledge important date in the length of service of Corbec employees. Our goal is to ensure recognizing workers that make have made a career with us.
On that thought, thank you for your efforts in continuing to improve our company at all levels. With this will to succeed, we will all continue to prosper together.
Distortion and warping control
Not long ago, the distortion and warping of certain steel pieces were considered an inherent consequence of the hot dip galvanizing process that were difficult to control.
In the past few years, with the development of new market segments and products, as well as the necessity to obtain uniform results from one galvanization to another, a solution was required. Research and development work was initiated to better understand the causes of distortion and warping problems. The data gathered from this R&D allowed us to identify and control the fundamental factors that were responsible for these problems.
In 2011, following a research and development project that was done in collaboration with some of our major customers, an anti-distortion galvanization method was developed and came to light at Corbec. This research project helped to identify key factors to address to avoid distortion and welding on simple pieces.
Over the next few years after 2011, the galvanising of structural steel, which is used in the construction of wind turbine installations in Quebec, presented us with the challenge of improving the anti-distortion methods so it could be adapted to multidimensional complex assemblies. A challenge that was met with success.
In 2017, a third wave of research and development was necessitated for the galvanising of towing platforms. Despite following and respecting our anti-distortion protocol, the rejection rate for this project was abnormally high. The analysis of the experimental data as well as the observations on the plant floor during the process, identified that the fabricators needed to work on revising the building process to reduce the constraints induced during the assembly process. On the galvanization side, a new significant factor was also identified; its control is now part of the anti-distortion protocol.
Not long ago it was an accepted belief that distortion was « a normal galvanization problem ». With Corbec’s commitment to continuous improvement in quality, these accepted beliefs are constantly challenged.
Recognition - years of service
We would like to acknowledge and thank all the employees for their contribution to the company’s success. We hope that you will continue to be fulfilled in your work.
We would like to take advantage of the first edition of this newsletter to acknowledge the employees who will reach milestone anniversary dates between January 1st 2018 and June 30th 2018. Additional employees will be recognized in the second edition of the newsletter in fall. Additionally, we would also want to congratulate everyone who has reached one of these anniversaries in the past.
André Tardif, Montreal Plant
Gilles Croteau, Quebec Plant
Jerzy Jaron, Montreal Plant
Serge Kalba, Montreal Plant
Nancy Korchinsky, Head Office
Alain Paquette, Montreal Plant
Daniel Bouthillier, Montreal Plant
David Cloutier-Boisvert, Montreal Plant
Thierno Oury Diallo, Montreal Plant
Yves Carbonneau, Montreal Plant
Marc Guenard, Quebec Plant
Patrick Durand, Quebec Plant
Sébastien Dupont, Quebec Plant
Daniel Opoku, Montreal Plant
Danny Lalonde, Montreal Plant
Ibrahim Armiyaho Amadu, Montreal Plant
John Amofa, Montreal Plant
Ricardo Abraham, Montreal Plant
Alain Dongmo, Quebec Plant
Alexandre Cimon, Quebec Plant
Charles-Olivier Lamontagne, Quebec Plant
Henrik Vaillancourt, Quebec Plant
Keven Vallerand, Quebec Plant
Lionel Glynn, Quebec Plant
Louis-Philippe Lévesque, Quebec Plant
Martin Lesage, Quebec Plant
Nathalie Meunier, Quebec Plant
Internal promotion of employees is an objective that Corbec gives itself to motivate employees to reach higher levels in the organization. The career possibilities at Corbec are real and we are ready to invest in the employees that show interest and potential for their training. We continue to work on developing and offering training that is adapted to our organization in an effort to ensure that our personnel grow.
Here are the nominations for the months leading up to April for the entire group. We wish you good luck in your new challenges:
Princeville plant Director
Ramon Alberto Munguia
Agostinho De Sa
Exterior/interior forklift operator
Anthony Saudemont and Marc Guénard
Danny Lalonde, Wayne Marshall, Samuel Addo and Salvadore-Laurence Gathercole
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AGA Excellence Awards Gala
Once again, Corbec’s achievements were recognized not just once, but twice. In fact, we received awards of excellence for the expansion project at the Olymel St- Esprit facility as well as the modernization of the Demix quarry.
Thank you to everyone involved in these two projects, especially Allinov and Acier Sélect for the confidence shown in Corbec in galvanizing their project.
Excellence in Hot-Dip Galvanizing
FOOD & AGRICULTURE
OLYMEL PORK PLANT EXPANSION
CORBEC INC. - MONTREAL
CORBEC INC. - GALVANIZATION QUEBEC
DUGRÉ INGÉNIEUR EN STRUCTURE
LES CONSTRUCTION LUC LOISELLE INC.
DEMIX QUARRY MODERNIZATION
CORBEC INC. - MONTREAL
CORBEC INC. - GALVANIZATION QUEBEC
C LOUIS ALLARD
Engineer & Fabricator
American Galvanizers Association
Through the years
Over the years, Corbec has been repeatedly recognized at the AGA Excellence Gala. Here are some of our prizes :
CHURCHILL RIVER BRIDGE
Goose Bay Labrador, Newfoundland
The Churchill River Bridge was built to allow the completion of the Trans-Canada Highway at the eastern end of the country by connecting Quebec and Labrador. The bridge, with a length of 360 meters, is composed of three spans of 120 meters each. The bridge is a conceptualization of the firm Roche and Structal, a division of the Canam Group, who was mandated to manufacture the bridge.
CALYPSO WATER PARK
The Calypso Water Park was built halfway between Ottawa and the Greater Montreal area. The park is part of the Valcartier Vacation Village family. It is still Canada’s largest thematic water park and, by the way, has the largest pool in the country. M.I.G Steel, located not far from the site, was the manufacturer of this project.
St. Lambert, Quebec
This project was presented in 2011 at the Gala of Excellence by Hambro Design, a division of the Canam Group. It was also chosen as the most distinguished project of the evening. The idea behind this design is to offer parking with different configurations permanently or temporarily. The project has made its way around the world and the fact of opting for the galvanization instead of paint, offers resistance to repeated assembly and disassembly, without maintenance.
Fountain of Hope Foundation
For a second consecutive year, on April 6th we were proud to have participated in a charity Texas Hold’em Poker evening to raise funds for Montreal Children’s Hospital Fountain of Hope Foundation. Karl Meessen (sales representative at our Montreal plant) and Guillaume Lyrette (sales representative at our Princeville plant) attended the event on Corbec’s behalf.
A pleasant evening while at the same time featuring a touch of competition, the event raised over than $60 000 with more than 500 players participating.
The Montreal Children’s Hospital has been operating since 1904 and was the first hospital dedicated 100% to sick children. Today, affiliated with McGill University Health Center, the hospital treats thousands of children every year. For more information, you can also visit the foundation website at www.fondationfontainedespoir.com, you can also view some of the pictures from the Annual Texas Hold’em Poker Tournament.
Once again, congratulations to the event organizers and to our two pro-am players that represented Corbec proudly!
Local community involvement
At Corbec, we value initiatives that produce positive impact in the community. Whether it is a major charitable organization, help for the local sport associations or social activities, Corbec’s management is attentive to its surroundings.
For the past few years, in December, our employees are invited to participate in a food drive for La Guignolée.
In 2018, we decided to do something similar, however we donated directly to Le Parados Inc. Le Parados Inc is a shelter, situated in Lachine, that helps and accommodates women and their children who are victims of domestic abuse. In addition to the food drive, we also donated $500 to the organization to support their mission. This amount was gathered thanks to the management’s decision to send virtual greeting cards for the year. This new tradition allowed us to give back to a local organization while being more environmentally friendly.
If Le Parados Inc is a cause that speaks to you as it does to us, we invite you to visit their website and offer your direct support :http://www.leparados.com
Lachine Bonneville Half-Marathon
More than 20 runners got active for Lachine Bonneville half-marathon.
On August 18th 2017, our runners could not have dreamt for a more beautiful day to participate in the 5km Bonneville half-marathon at René-Lévesque Park in Lachine. More than 20 employees crossed the starting line to raise money for Alzheimer. It was a day filled with self-overachievement, team spirit and healthy lifestyle.
After the success of last year, a group will also be entering this year marathon. Several participants from the 2017 edition have already mentioned their interest and a few have already started their training. This year, our involvement will be even bigger as we will be a gold partner for the event. We cannot wait to meet you at our booth!
Corbec galvanizes its athletes, as such we hope to see you on August 19th 2018 at René-Lévesque Park at 10:30am to cheer on our runners!
Congratulations to all the participants of the 2017 edition!