I visited Bunge, a multinational company with a seed crushing facility in Sturgeon Industrial. Bunge is an agribusiness and food ingredient company that manufacturers edible oil products. From canola oilseeds, they produce shortenings and margarine, as well as salad and cooking oils for food processors and food service operators - you have likely enjoyed one of their products.
Bunge’s canola crushing plant in Sturgeon County produces crude canola oil and canola meal from harvested canola seeds. The company has been in the County for 35 years and currently employs 50 full-time people. Bunge sources its raw materials locally by working directly with local growers in Alberta .
Although I didn’t get an opportunity to tour Bunge’s processing facility, I learned a lot about the process used to turn canola seeds to oil. Essentially, canola oil is made at a processing facility first by removing waste material from the harvested seeds. The seeds are then pre-conditioned by slightly heating and turning them into flakes before they are pressed to extract the oil. The extracted crude oil is further refined using organic acids to give it good stability and shelf-life. The final step uses distillation to remove any unpleasant odour or taste. At this point, the canola oil is ready to be packaged and sold as cooking oil, or further processed into other products.
Every day, Bunge’s crushing facility in Sturgeon Industrial Park crushes about 850 metric tons of seeds, extracts 350 tons of crude oil and produces 500 tons of meal or pellets (a by-product created after the oil is removed from the seed flakes). The crude oil is transported to Wainwright, Alberta for further refining and then shipped back to Edmonton for packaging. Bunge sells fifty percent of its products on the Canadian domestic market and the remaining in the U.S. West Coast, China, Malaysia and Indonesia to name a few.
The Canola market has a great future ahead and processors are expected to gain tremendously from a healthy market outlook. In 2014, domestic processing totalled 7 million metric tons but that is expected to double by 2025. Trade agreements with South Korea and Europe in 2014 eliminated the tariff on canola and will improve market access for Canadian canola. Bunge is hoping to capitalize on this positive trend by expanding its seed crushing capacity. That could result in new employment opportunities in upcoming years.
For more about Bunge, visit: www.bungenorthamerica.com
Interesting Fact: Did you know that the name "canola" was chosen by the board of the Rapeseed Association of Canada in the 1970s? The "Can" part stands for Canada and "ola" refers to oil.
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.
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.
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 http://www.guardianchem.ca/ or use this link to find them on Google Maps.
Phone: (780) 998-3771
There is no doubt that the plunging oil prices have caused
concerns among industries that are linked to the energy sector. Is it all doom
and gloom as some would lead us to believe? My answer is an emphatic no. My
perception from visiting firms linked to the energy sector indicates mixed
impacts. Indeed, some companies have scaled back and put new plans for capital
projects on hold while others are forging ahead and capitalizing on lower
construction costs resulting from a more competitive labour market. Obviously, the
metal fabrication sector will continue to thrive because existing industrial
facilities will need to maintain and replace old machinery and parts.
I toured McSween Custom Fabricating's facility in Sturgeon
Industrial Park a week ago and their mood spells optimism even in the midst of
changes within the energy sector. McSween
Custom Fabricating is an industrial fabrication and construction company that
has been serving industrial plants in Alberta since 1980. The company
was started as a family business by two brothers that were involved in the
trades. It evolved through the years, expanding its client base after it was
purchased by its current owner, Nelson Martin. McSween’s expertise covers a broad range of industries, which include
petrochemical, fertilizer, cement, mining, pharmaceutical and power generation. The company
has two shops; a main shop with 28,000 square feet which is their custom
fabrication shop with 15 employees. This shop is involved in fabricating
vessels and custom forming, shearing and rolling. The second shop of 10
employees is a pipe products shop which is 12,000 square feet fabricates
process pressure piping of any alloy.
Fabricating also employs 18 people that are capable of providing project management
services, engineering and design. It also has a field
maintenance division consisting of 70 people of various trades, pipe fitters, pressure
welders, millwrights, boilermakers and iron workers that provide maintenance
support to the industrial sector.
has built a great reputation on high quality and flexibility when it comes to
difficult projects. Inside one of the facilities, there were large pipes and
vessels that were being worked on. I wondered how these giant, heavy pieces
ever leave the shop. It turns out that the shops are equipped with multi five
ton overhead cranes and the large overhead doors are designed for the finished pieces
to exit the shop.
also learned a couple of interesting facts about welding. When two pieces of
metal are welded; scorching temperatures of around 5,500 degrees Celsius (9,900
degrees Fahrenheit are used). The sparks that result can be as hot as 1,300
degrees Celsius (2,500 degrees Fahrenheit) so needless to say, I was sure to
stand clear! The finished pipes and vessels also undergo testing for strength
and leaks. The test involves filling the vessel or pipe system with a liquid,
usually water, which may be dyed to spot leaks more easily. Vessels are
pressurized to a specified test pressure at which point, instruments measure
pressure loss. The strength of a vessel is usually tested by measuring the
deformities of the container. These tests are conducted in front of clients to
ensure that their project is compliant with all stated specifications and
enjoyed my visit with McSween Custom Fabricating and I have new admiration for
engineers that design and build stable and durable structures that keep Alberta’s economy
humming. You can also learn more on how engineered technologies sustain our
economy by visiting the Western Manufacturing
Technology Show. This event will be hosted in Edmonton from June 15-17, 2015. The show is geared towards the needs of manufacturers in
Alberta and throughout Western Canada in industries ranging from oil and gas,
industrial and commercial machinery, construction, mining, agriculture, wind
energy and aerospace.
The show will provide access to
state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment, educational sessions and networking
opportunities. It is
designed to be a one-stop, all-encompassing venue for the latest technologies
and trends in machine tools, tooling and accessories, metal fabrication, design,
automation and assembly, advanced manufacturing, plant maintenance and process
control, so if you’re interested, visit the Edmonton EXPO Centre at the
Northlands, Halls F, G & H, 7515-118 Avenue, Edmonton. Get more information from the event website at: www.wmts.ca.
McSween Custom Fabricating, Welding, Erecting Ltd may is located
Sturgeon Industrial Park
Sturgeon County, AB T8L 5C1
Phone: 780 998