Ontario fabricator sees cleantech growth
Alps Welding taps into rising demand for emissions and waste management equipment
—Sponsored article: Alps Welding
Depending on your perspective, clean technology means business risk or a chance to grow and diversify. For some traditional manufacturers, carbon cap and trade policies invoke fears of additional costs, regulations and heightened risk management.
Yet Alps Welding Ltd.—a Vaughan, Ont.-based fabricator of custom-designed industrial process equipment—is demonstrating the upside of industry’s move to decarbonize.
“We see cleantech as a huge opportunity for our business,” says Dennis Dussin, president of Alps Welding, which is now doing a significant amount of business with the oil and gas industry through projects such as piping systems, stacks and heat exchangers.
Unlike many companies waiting for carbon regulations to spur market growth, Alps Welding—which started out as a traditional fabricator—is already pursuing cleantech as a new revenue stream.
“A lot of people in our industry and a lot of customers that we deal with see cleantech as something that they have to do…as something that’s kind of forced on them,” Dussin says. “We see it as an opportunity.”
Though much of the company’s work is done for energy and chemical companies, Dussin finds growth is stemming from efforts to mitigate the environmental effects of these conventional processes, or to take advantage of by-products from these processes to create new commercially-viable products.
“We’ve seen growth in water treatment process equipment, and equipment to control and treat gas emissions from plants, or to recover heat or vapour from a process to improve energy and product efficiency,” says Dussin.
Leveraging traditional industries
He joined a panel of cleantech businesses and industry insiders in November 2015, to discuss barriers to sustainability, along with calls to action. One of the key takeaways from the report, called Cleantech Directions, is Canada should leverage its traditional industries—such as energy and resources—to vault to the top of the global cleantech market.
“What country in the world should be the leader in carbon management technology? It should be Canada. We’re a resource-based economy; we have all these [carbon] challenges. We should be the ones selling [the technology] to everyone else in the world.”
Dussin feels Canada is perfectly positioned to leverage the commodities that have been the economy’s great liability over the past couple of years, and its greatest strength over the past 10. With the right mix of support from government, industry and academia, he thinks Canada can lead the world in decarbonization technology.
“We should be saying, ‘how do we use this carbon challenge to invent a new industry and be a huge exporter of this technology?’ That’s where I think a lot of the jobs are going to be—not just satisfying the need here, but internationally.”
Market signals are certainly strong. The federal government has pledged $200 million per year in clean technology development, and Ontario’s carbon cap and trade regulations are steadily taking shape.
For their part, Canadian businesses seem keen to explore technologies that reduce waste, save energy and cut costs. The Cleantech Directions project, supported by Alps Welding, included a business survey of more than 500 executives across Canada, fielded in September 2015.
It found 50 percent of respondents were planning to increase their total expenditure on sustainability initiatives over the next 12 months, and 46 percent expected spending to at least remain stable.
In terms of where those investments will be made, energy efficiency topped the chart at 47 percent, followed by waste management and recycling (35 percent), water management (23 percent), green energy (22 percent), air emissions management (18 percent); followed by others. (Click here to view the full report).
In the months and years ahead, Alps Welding will be tapping into these plans to invest, helping Canada’s traditional industries such as chemicals and energy tackle environmental challenges, and move toward a low-carbon economy.
For more information on Alps Welding Ltd. and its capabilities to custom-design, manufacture and transport complex fabrication and cleantech assemblies visit www.alpswelding.com
This article is part of the Manufacturing Growth & Innovation Showcase, highlighting strategies for industrial success.
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