As Canada Alloy Castings approaches its 60th anniversary, company leaders look to the future with a greater emphasis on technology.
With roots going back nearly 60 years, Canada Alloy Castings has been producing steel, stainless steel and aluminum bronze castings for a range of leading global corporations throughout its evolution.
As is the case with many areas of business, the steel and aluminum casting industry has changed significantly since Canada Alloy first opened its doors in 1956.
But company officials cite a number of factors — including laser-focused attention on customer service, a spirit of innovation and a promise of quick response times — for Canada Alloy’s longevity.
The Kitchener, Ontario-based company currently has 82 employees, seven suppliers and brings in $13 million to $15 million in revenue annually.
The company is part of Flowserve, which supplies pumps, valves, seals, automation and services to such industries as oil, gas and chemical manufacturers. Taken as a whole, Flowserve employs more than 16,000 people in more than 50 countries.
Russ Urry is general manager of operations and sales at Canada Alloy and the parent company’s Canadian subsidiary, Flowserve Canada.
From its inception nearly six decades ago, Urry says Canada Alloy has been committed to providing prompt response times to customers.
With a skilled workforce and high-tech equipment, Canada Alloy currently is able to create castings of up to 17,000 pounds.
“Today, we’re the fourth largest foundry in North America, in terms of castings,” says Urry, who has been at the helm of Canada Alloy for three years. “We have a history as a leader in the [casting] industry.”
Canada Alloy serves customers in a range of disparate industries, including hydro electric, military, mining, nuclear power, petrochemical, and pulp and paper.
Steel foundries throughout Canada have closed their doors in recent decades, but Urry says there is a distinguishing factor at Canada Alloy that he believes has not only allowed the company to sustain its operations, but move in an upward trajectory.
“This is about a partnership. Our suppliers are key to our success,” Urry says. “We believe it’s not about the mistakes you make — it’s what you do about it.”
As the steel casting industry has evolved alongside changing market forces and technological upgrades, Urry says Canada Alloy has been able to distinguish itself from the pack through a number of initiatives in recent years.
“The challenge is to find a niche market, and that’s something we’ve been focusing on,” Urry says. “Pricing is always a major issue.
“Keeping costs under control is important as well,” Urry adds.
Specializing in Integrity
One of Canada Alloy’s specialties is the production of thick-walled, pressure-retaining high integrity castings in steel, stainless steel and aluminum bronze for OEMs and the aftermarket.
In terms of technology, Canada Alloy has used computer-integrated precision machining to design many of its castings, either in rough or finished form.
This includes 5-axis, CNCs, fabrications, pressure testing, overlay and hard facing applications.
Canada Alloy’s niche, in part, is a promise to deliver companies’ steel and stainless steel and aluminum bronze castings in a prompt period of time, compared to competitors.
While there are a few variables at play, company executives typically quote a completion time of four to 12 weeks, once an order has been placed.
“We keep our backlog fairly low,” Urry says.
“I think it’s our delivery that sets us apart from
Logistically, Canada Alloy casts steel and aluminum parts of up to 1,200 pounds on a device known as the air set loop
line. The highly efficient method generally means products within this weight range can be delivered within a four-week period of time.
For castings of 1,201 to 17,000 pounds, the parts are created within a space at Canada Alloy’s 82,000-square-foot plant known as the floor moulding/pit moulding area.
During the planning phase between Canada Alloy’s staff members and clientele, Urry emphasizes the process is highly cooperative.
“We’re not in the business of designing products,” he says. “We’re in the business of designing castings.”
Many of Canada Alloy’s customers are repeat visitors, Urry says — a nod to the company’s emphasis on timeliness, follow-through and regular communication with customers.
Employee turnover within Canada Alloy is also infrequent, Urry says, pointing out the company follows Flowserve’s ethics and compliance mission statements that include regular reviews and emphasis on employee safety, as well as fostering an open relationship with employees.
United Steelworkers Local Union No. 5699 represents the company’s shop workers. Urry says company managers have frequent meetings with union stewards to discuss safety, advancement opportunities and compensation.
“It’s a very open, collaborative type of relationship, and it’s been that way a long time,” Urry says of the arrangement between the two groups.
Looking to the future, Urry says he is upbeat about Canada Alloy’s prospects in the increasingly competitive global marketplace.
The company has stayed true to its mission from day one, he emphasizes, but Canada Alloy’s executives are not about to rest on any of their laurels.
“We have to keep abreast of technology as we move forward,” he says. “We also have to find ways to widen our customer base so we remain competitive. It’s all a matter of finding the right partnerships.”