Tires that are no longer suitable for use on vehicles due to wear or irreparable damage are among the largest and most problematic sources of waste, due to the large volume produced, their durability, and the fact that they contain a number of components that are ecologically problematic. Approximately six million tires are recycled per year in Alberta and a Sturgeon company called Eco-Flex Rubber Solutions is an important link in the recycled rubber manufacturing chain.
Eco-flex Rubber Solutions is a company founded by CEO, Alan Champagne in 1992. The 24 year old company is an industry leader in manufacturing high value end use recycled rubber products that are used for industrial, municipal, commercial, agricultural and residential applications.
Eco-flex manufacturers a range of products within a 35,000 square feet manufacturing facility situated 30 minutes north of Edmonton. The company was featured on Today in America by Terry Bradshaw. This short clip will give you a great overview of the business.
Recycled rubber products have a range of advantages that makes it a popular choice for high traffic environments. Now with a selection of colors, patterns and textures, these products are also finding their way into residential interior and exterior applications.
There are three main lines of product that Eco-flex Rubber Solutions manufactures and sells:
• Automotive products which include parking stops, speed bumps, rumble mats and sound barriers. See list of products
• Commercial and residential products include rubber flooring, yard tiles, stair treads and landscaping edging. See list of products
• Industrial products include rig and floor mats, safety walkways and ramps. See list of products
So what makes rubber a superior choice for each of these applications?
Durability is often mentioned as a major advantage of rubber - it’s strong, tough and resilient in a variety of conditions. They do not crumb or flake apart over time and so they tend to have better longevity.
Low Maintenance: Rubber can be very easy to take care of and is generally stain resistant.
Water resistant: Rubber is nonporous, meaning it is resilient against mildew and mold. This makes rubber ideal for wet environments or areas prone to moisture.
Soft and pliable: Rubber is a comfortable surface for areas where people must stand for long periods of time. The cushioning reduces the occurrence of fatigue and foot injury. Rubber parking stops for example, are more forgiving when you misjudge and drive over them.
Sound properties: Rubber can minimize sound between floors in a building. Because of its elasticity, it can reduce noise from walking to moving heavy loads.
Fire and burn resistance: Rubber is resistant to burns left from cigarette butts and other small heat sources.
Range of colors: There are five colors and a variety of patterns available. The growing popularity of rubber flooring for example, is inspiring new designs by architects.
Choice of textures: The surface of rubber mats can be manufactured with raised dimples, studs, and other complex textures that enhance traction and minimize slips in wet areas.
So, before you spend your money on new flooring, take a look at these advantages again and see the products for yourself. If you’re interested in learning more about the Eco-flex product lines for a specific application or require a quote for a project, contact them by phone at 780 961 3229 or by email email@example.com. You may also visit them at 57425 RR253, Sturgeon County, AB or purchase their products from Burnco Landscape Centers in Alberta.
Eco-Flex makes us #SturgeonProud
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.
Does anyone share my frustration with the recent fluctuations in temperature and the resulting icy conditions? I can list several annoyances - thick layers of ice that seem to take the strength of Hercules to chip away, local roadways that are literally skating rinks, cancelled school buses, collisions and traffic delays…the list goes on.
This St. Albert Police cruiser rolled over while responding to another rollover. The RCMP officer survived with minor injuries.
Any of these situations has me praying that the roads and sidewalks I use are salted and sanded just before I leave home. I visited a mineral salt business in Sturgeon Industrial Park that helps us fight those icy conditions that seem to be occurring with such infuriating frequency – NSC Minerals Ltd.
NSC Minerals, a 28 year old business headquartered in Saskatoon, has been operating in Sturgeon County for 7 years and is currently a leading supplier of bulk and packaged rock salt for municipalities in Edmonton Region including Fort Saskatchewan, Edmonton, Sherwood Park and Stoney Plain to name a few. Their bulk products are used for a variety of applications such as highway de-icing, livestock feed supplements, hide curing, drilling muds, water softening, road stabilization, and industrial applications.
NSC Minerals’ storage facility in Sturgeon County is serviced by CN Scotford Yard. The majority of the facility’s bulk products are distributed within the Province of Alberta and Northern BC. NSC Minerals also has two modern operating plants with a daily production capacity in excess of 6,000 tonnes of salt crystals, located at Rocanville and Vanscoy, Saskatchewan. The production facilities are located in Saskatchewan where the salt is mined with potash deep under the Prairies.
The company started with two salt storage domes until it expanded its transload capacity. Over the years, the facility has evolved with the construction of a third storage dome, a shop and a truck washing bay. Two years ago, the Sturgeon facility started offering transload services and storage for fertilizer – a smart choice that now provides a steady revenue stream for the company throughout the year. Today, NSC Minerals is in the planning stages of a potential expansion project that could result in more rail car capacity and greater onsite storage.
Here is a brief photoblog of my visit to NSC’s salt storage facility. One of the foremen was kind enough to drive me around as he explained how the company ships salt every day with eight full time staff.