“Once the machine was installed, we needed to train our young workers to use it,” said Ward. “Sometimes this can take up to a year to really familiarize themselves with the machine. We basically hire all apprentices, so they have to learn how to use it from scratch. We had a Faccin representative come for a week and spend time training several of our employees on the machine. And now they can use it effectively.”
With labour shortages and retirements on the horizon, having a machine that is able to take all the guesswork out of plate rolling has been a huge benefit for the company.
“Its repeatability is 100 per cent, every time,” said Zlatar. “If you recall a program five months after first creating it, it will produce the same part that you did five months ago; it already knows what to do. You just put the plate in the rolls and just push a button.”
Every new city that the company works in requires a new set of tunnelling equipment, so that means the plate roller is constantly bending plate for new projects. Currently the shop is in the process of manufacturing tunnelling equipment for Calgary; Vancouver; Columbus, Ohio; and San Diego, Calif.
“Right now our Newmarket team is manufacturing this new equipment for San Diego, which should be ready in about six months,” said Ward. “We currently have quite a few competitors in this space but there is still quite a bit of work to be had. I think most of our future growth will be in the U.S. However, one thing about the West Coast, particularly Vancouver, is that no one is really doing any steel fabrication. Most companies buy from the U.S. West Coast, so we see that as an opportunity for growth.”
This growth has required the shop to look at adding more plate rollers. And in April of this year, Ward once again reached out to Elliott Matsuura. Ward was very happy with the 4HEP machine and wanted to purchase two more identical machines, which are set for delivery in December of this year.