Sunday, February 17, 2019

Start in Sturgeon Blog


Welcome to the Start in Sturgeon Blog. Check here often for great articles about the County's Economic Development and other relevant issues.

It’s all about good chemistry
I made a trip out to Guardian Chemicals, a privately owned Canadian company that researches, develops, and manufactures specialty chemicals in Sturgeon Industrial Park. I was impressed to find that environmental health and safety embody Guardian’s product development, from raw material selection to waste disposal. The company has been in existence for over fifty years with a current count of 53 employees at their 44,000 sq. feet facility. It really looks like a great place to work.

Chemical and materials manufacturing facilities play a major role in just about every facet of our lives but few people are aware of this industry’s role in keeping other sectors of our economy humming – think chemicals for newspaper printing presses, recycling water, cleaning boilers…the list goes on. Guardian Chemicals provides over 400 chemicals products for multiple applications and they have four divisions that cater to a wide range of sectors. One thing is common across these industries – they’re looking for products that are not only effective and reasonably priced, but environmentally safe as well - a tough juggling act from my point of view but a manageable challenge for their research and development team.

Pressguard and Roadtek are two products that are equipping industry to move toward safer, high performance products that are also environmentally friendly. Let’s starts with Pressguard and its uses in the wood panel manufacturing industry. I’m sure most of us have, at one time or another, bought furniture made from medium-density fiberboard (MDF). MDF is a product made from wood fibers that are glued under heat and pressure - a versatile product that replaces timber as a low-cost alternative.

The most common binder used in making these boards is formaldehyde, a chemical that is of concern to the wood panel industry because of the risk of cancer. The industry has imposed tighter controls on the use of formaldehyde and most mills in Europe and North America are switching to resins that are free of them.

Although these resins are safer to use, some cause excessive buildup on panel pressing machines, thereby slowing production. So the smart scientists at Guardian Chemicals have formulated a release agent called Pressguard that prevents this sticky resin buildup from occurring. In the picture above, the wood panel is sprayed with the release agent before the surface of the metal press comes into contact with the panel. Unlike other release agents on the market, Pressguard does not require any elaborate application process so it keeps the cost of board manufacturing low and our furniture affordable for us.

Another product that Guardian Chemicals invented has the potential of changing the road construction industry. If you’ve ever had unpleasant experiences with rough roads with washboard bumps and loose gravel, potholes, ruts or excessive dust, you’ll be pleased to learn about another product Guardian Chemicals is currently testing. Roadtek is an environmentally friendly and nontoxic product that is designed to stabilize and extend the life of roadways without major road base work. Twelve roads are currently being tested across Strathcona, Lamont and Sturgeon Counties, including some in St. Albert. You can test drive one of them in Sturgeon County at Lamoureux Drive at Highway 15 or Range Road 251, 1 mile south of Township Road 544. Roadtek has other uses including parking lots, mines, construction site, trails and embankments.

In the picture above, a computer-controlled spray boom on the back of a distributor truck is spraying a county road with Roadtek. Depending on the weather, the road is typically tack free (i.e. not sticky) within 4 to 6 hours. At that stage, the area may be reopened while the sealer coat continues to cure. It reaches full strength within 10 to 14 days.

Here's what a country road looks like after it’s sprayed. Looks like you'll have a few less trips to the carwash this fall! It’s remarkable to see a local company develop such innovate products that will ultimately have a positive impact on industry and the environment. If you’d like to learn more about Guardian Chemicals, check them out at or use this link to find them on Google Maps.

Guardian Chemicals
Phone: (780) 998-3771

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