Working a niche works
In a market where economies of scale have become critically important to profit margins, a small Northern Quebec plastics company has turned one-off development of plastic parts into a business with access to one of Canada’s largest industrial sectors.
Providing industrial plastic products to replace steel in the mining industry, G-Plus Industrial Plastics Inc. has grown into an innovative R&D operation capable of supplying fabricated plastic solutions to a variety of industries.
Located in Rouyn-Noranda, Que.—a mining hot spot since the 1920s when the largest gold deposit in Canada was discovered there—the firm employs 19 in its 10,000 sq.-ft. facility.
The company has also recently expanded with a new office in Sudbury, Ont. and plans to add an additional 2,000 sq. ft. to its Quebec location in anticipation of an upswing in new clients.
G-Plus has developed an extensive variety of fabricated plastic solutions, such as raise buckets for transporting equipment underground, guards for conveyor systems, explosives boxes, tanks, filters, chutes, gutters and ventilation ducting.
Basically, if a customer is looking for a corrosion free, lightweight alternative to replace structural elements or guard machinery, G-Plus develops a customized solution. It’s a perfect fit for the mining industry, where the damp, subterranean work areas make weight and corrosion huge considerations in product design.
The breadth of its capabilities is even evident in the company name—if you say G-Plus in French [J’ai plus] it means “I have more”.
“We can make conveyor guards that are double the size and only half the weight of steel [guards],” says Stephan Tapp, G-Plus’ technical sales representative.
And for many industrial operations, maintaining steel is often laborious—it must be repainted to cover scratches, rust-proofed or it needs to be replaced.
Using plastic, reduces weight, improves a tool’s life span and requires little maintenance.
In the beginning, one of G-Plus’ biggest challenges was convincing mining operations to try its plastic alternatives. It has persevered and now supplies many operations in Quebec, northern Ontario, and even as far as Singapore.
As a solution provider, 90 per cent of G-Plus products are customized to the needs of clients.
“A customer will call us with a machine they want to add guarding to so that, for example, an operator won’t get pinched [by it],” says Tapp. “When possible, I personally go in and take the measurements and then we design something that will fit his needs, while still giving him the same access to the machine.”