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  • Custom Fabricated Vehicle Parts for the ETS Dune Buggy

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    Philippe Grenier Production Coordinator at Elasto Proxy

    École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS), a public engineering school in Montreal, awards the most engineering diplomas in Quebec and is Canada’s third largest engineering school. Founded in 1974, ETS is part of the Université du Québec system and esteemed for its emphasis on cooperative education. Each year, students combine classroom instruction with hands-on experience such as participation in international competitions. In the process, ETS students work with local companies.

    Since 2008, Elasto Proxy has custom-fabricated rubber and plastic parts for student-built vehicles. This year’s project, a yellow dune buggy, took fifth place in a competition among engineering schools from Canada and the United States. Powered by a modified 10-hp Briggs & Stratton snow blower engine, the small two-wheel drive specialty vehicle is capable of achieving speeds of 60 to 70 km/hr. Although the students who visited us didn’t drive quite that fast around our parking lot, the Elasto Proxy employees who tried the dune buggy had a great time, as you can see from these photos on our Facebook page.

    Custom Fabrication with Water Jet Cutting

    Elasto Proxy custom-fabricated two main types of vehicle parts for the Baja ETS dune buggy: HDPE plastic parts for the vehicle’s body, and silicone foam insulation for the engine compartment. Using our water jet cutter, we made fast, clean cuts in a variety of sizes. Unlike die cutting, water jet cutting eliminates tooling costs and creates smooth edges. Water jet cutting is ideal for polymers and elastomers, but also works well with the thermal and acoustic insulation used in engine bays.

    To produce durable plastic parts for the dune buggy’s body, Elasto Proxy cut sheets of yellow HDPE plastic. Known for its large strength-to-weight ratio, high-density polyethylene (HDPE) is a thermoplastic that’s used in products ranging from fuel tanks and pipes to bumpers and ballistic plates. At our custom fabrication facility here in Boisbriand, Quebec, our skilled production team crafted HDPE auto parts such as the fender, roof, scoop, and 7’ x 20” undercarriage component.

    Custom Insulation and Specialty Seals

    Water jet cutting also allowed Elasto Proxy to create a heat insulation barrier from silicone foam sheets. Snow blower engines are designed for cold weather environments, of course, but the powerplant that the ETS students modified generates plenty of heat. Without a thermal barrier, heat from the tuned-up engine could cause the transmission to overheat – and sideline the dune buggy during a race. Silicone, a heat-resistant material with an excellent service life, was the right choice for the heat shield.

    In addition to water jet cutting, Elasto Proxy applied its expertise in cold bonding, a splicing technique that uses a quick-setting adhesive to join precise, angled parts without tooling costs. The rubber seal that we cold bonded for the dune buggy’s transmission was produced from an EPDM U-channel. A synthetic elastomer, EPDM offers outstanding heat resistance. EPDM rubber’s resistance to ozone and weather also make it a popular choice for the door, window, trunk, and hood seals used on cars.

    How Can We Help You?

    Do you have questions about compound selection or custom fabricated parts for cars, trucks, military transports, or mobile specialty vehicles such as the ETS dune buggy? For 25 years, Elasto Proxy has been solving sealing and insulation challenges in a variety of industries. By listening to all of your application requirements and analyzing all of your needs, our solutions providers can help.

    Please contact us for more information, or join the conversation on our social media channels. Look for a post with a link to this blog entry on LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter. Elasto Proxy has a YouTube channel, too. Finally, please subscribe to our free e-newsletters. They’re a great source of information delivered right to your email inbox, and they provide links to blog entries like this one.

  • Giving and Receiving with Centraide Laurentides

    Doug and Donna Sharpe along with Megan Beaulieu and Suzanne Piché, General Manager of Centraide Laurentides. Doug and Donna Sharpe along with Megan Beaulieu and Suzanne Piché, General Manager of Centraide Laurentides.

    Doug Sharpe

    President of Elasto Proxy

    How well do you know your neighbors? Do you greet them when you see them, or do you sometimes pass them by? We’re all so busy these days, and it can be easy to miss what’s going on around us. Yet each of us is also part of a community. As proud as we are of our individual accomplishments, there is room in our lives for helping others.

    Meet Your Neighbors

    Here in the Laurentians, the region north of Montreal that Elasto Proxy calls home, a non-profit group called Centraide Laurentides sees what our neighbors need. By collecting donations from businesses and individuals in and around Boisbriand, Quebec, Centraide Laurentides supports a network of community assistance groups such as food banks, adult literacy programs, and efforts to help teenage mothers.

    Elasto Proxy is proud to support Centraide Laurentides, and encourages others to join us in giving to a good cause. Last September, for example, Elasto Proxy employees walked throughout the industrial park where our company is based, and visited our neighbors door-to-door. We enjoyed discussing Centraide’s fundraising campaign, and hoped that others would also contribute.

    Prizes and Participation

    On behalf of Elasto Proxy, I would like to thank Centraide Laurentides for recognizing our efforts. In addition to a Grand Prize of Excellence for a small enterprise, Elasto Proxy won a platinum certificate for overall participation, which was above 90%. Elasto Proxy employees contribute to Centraide Laurentides via Direct Deposit paycheck deductions, and the company matches these donations by 250%.

    I’m proud that the company Donna Sharpe and I founded 25 years ago is such a strong team, and thank everyone who donated for their generous support. Megan Beaulieu also deserves special mention as she was nominated for a Centraide Campaign Leader award. See the nomination video here. From our September walk through the Tech Park to December’s Family Day event, Team Elasto Proxy finished strong.

    How Can We Help You Help Centraide Laurentides?

    This is the second year in a row that Elasto Proxy has won two Centraide awards, and we will continue to look for ways to deepen our commitment.  If you live or work in or around Boisbriand, Quebec, I hope you will consider supporting Centraide Laurentides, too.

    Do you have questions about how to get involved? Would you like to know more about our experiences with fundraising? Talk to us today. Look for a post with a link to this blog entry on LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter. Elasto Proxy has pages on all of these social media websites, so all that’s missing is you.

    I hope you’ll subscribe to our free e-newsletters as well. They’re a great source of information delivered right to your email inbox, and provide links to blog entries like this one.

  • Doing Business in Brazil: Québec Companies and the Rubber and Plastics Industry

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    Doug Sharpe President of Elasto Proxy

    Did you know that Québec is home to over 700 companies in the plastics industry? There are also plenty of businesses in the rubber industry, including toolmakers, mixers, suppliers, and distributors. Canada’s National Research Council (NRC) Industrial Material Institute is here, along with leading engineering schools such as Polytechnique Montréal. For polymers, Québec is a world-class center of innovation.

    As the co-founder and co-owner of a Boisbriand company with offices in Ontario, the United States, and China, I’m proud to be part of such a thriving economic sector.  Since our founding in 1989, Elasto Proxy has listened to its partners, analyzing all of their needs before recommending sealing solutions. Today, we provide a full range of custom-fabricated rubber and plastic products to numerous industries.

    Growing Globally in Québec

    To grow globally, Elasto Proxy has participated in the SME Passport program, attended tradeshows in Europe, and participated in trade missions to Brazil. Just as we enjoy sharing our application knowledge and technical expertise with customers, we’re eager to explain what we’ve learned about global markets. That’s why next month, I’ll be part of a panel of rubber and plastics industry experts who will answer questions from Québec companies about doing business abroad.

    Sponsored by Elastomer Valley, CSMO, Canada Economic Development (CED), Export Québec, and the government of Québec, this World Alliance event is scheduled for February 11 and 12. The panel I’ll be part of will meet on Day 1 just after lunch, from 1:00 to 2:30 PM, and focus on doing business in Brazil. With 35 speakers in all, the entire two-day event will also include innovations in the plastic and rubber industry, sales trends, developing markets, and human resources.  Event participants can network with peers and uncover new business opportunities, too.

    Join the Conversation

    Does your company want to increase exports or reach global markets for the first time? What would you like to know about business practices in places like Brazil? Elasto Proxy’s President of International Sales, Clyde Sharpe, visited South America’s largest nation earlier this month, and has some new insights I’ll share in February.

    Do you have questions about doing business in Brazil that can’t wait until then? Then join the conversation today. Look for a post with a link to this blog entry on LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter. Elasto Proxy has pages on all of these social media websites, so all that’s missing is you. I hope you’ll subscribe to our free e-newsletters, too. They’re a great source of information delivered right to your email inbox, and provide links to blog entries like this one.

  • Will You Run the Race? Elasto Proxy Supports Healthy Lifestyles

    Beth Running Elasto ProxyClyde Sharpe President of International Sales

    Beth Branyon used to play softball. Today, she’s directing her competitive energy in different ways.  Recently, the Customer Service Representative at Elasto Proxy’s office in Simpsonville, South Carolina finished second in her age group in a road race. The Furman Flatlander 5K was “a beautiful run on a beautiful day”, Beth says, with a loop around the lake on the campus of nearby Furman University in Greenville.

    Cheered on by her husband, who encouraged her to stay after the race to see how she’d done, Beth was pleased with the results of her run. “I knew there weren’t many people in front of me,” she explains, but her second-place finish was still a nice surprise. Beth had been running for only a year, since the spring of 2012. Now she’s training for another 5K race in January, a 10K in in April, and hoping to compete in a half-marathon by this time next year.

    From Couch to 5K to Half-Marathon

    Beth’s dedication is extraordinary – and inspiring. Her journey from softball player to competitive runner didn’t happen overnight, and involved some lifestyle changes. The Couch to 5K Running Plan that she followed eases beginners into a training program, but that’s doesn’t mean the regimen is easy. Would-be runners must find the time to exercise and the willpower to pound the pavement instead of reaching for fast food or junk food.

    Training for a race also means working out when the weather is less than ideal. South Carolina isn’t always warm, and temperatures can fall to 20° F on winter nights. That’s when Beth stays indoors and runs on a treadmill instead. Here at Elasto Proxy headquarters in Boisbriand, Quebec, Canada, we know something about cold-weather conditions, too. Many of us played hockey instead of softball, but we’re now running to compete – if only against ourselves.

    Two Mountains and Zero Five Thirty

    Last June, Elasto Proxy employees participated in Défi Deux-Montagnes (Two Mountains Challenge), a local footrace that lets participants run or walk a distance of their choice.  With courses ranging from shorter 1K and 2K sprints to longer 5K and 10K runs, this fun-filled event helped Elasto Proxy to promote our goal of healthy lifestyles for employees. Although it’s not even January yet, we’re looking forward to running the Two Mountains Challenge again in the summer of 2014.

    In the meantime, we’ll continue to train hard and make healthy choices. Each day, some of us go running at lunchtime. When it’s time for a snack, the refrigerator in Elasto Proxy’s Boisbriand cafeteria has oranges, plums, and bananas – all healthy alternatives to vending machine fare.  The “Zero Five Thirty” initiative in Quebec makes great sense. That’s zero tobacco, five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, and thirty minutes of daily exercise.

    Join the Conversation

    What are your goals for 2014? The New Year is still a few weeks away, but it’s never too early to think about your health, or what your company can do to promote healthy lifestyles among employees. We’ve shared some experiences that we think can help, and congratulate Beth Branyon and other Elasto Proxy employees for their achievements in 2013

    Look for my post with a link to this blog entry on LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter. Elasto Proxy has pages on all of these social media websites, so all that’s missing is you. I also hope you’ll subscribe to our free e-newsletters. They’re a great source of information delivered right to your email inbox, with links to blog entries like this one.

  • Plastic Bags and the Environment: It’s Not That Simple

    Plastic Bags and the Environment Plastic Bags and the Environment

    Image source: planetforward.ca

    Doug Sharpe President of Elasto Proxy

    Chennai, India generates hundreds of tons of plastic waste every day. Plastic bags like the ones used at take-out counters in local restaurants are used briefly and then discarded. Eventually, this plastic waste finds its way to landfills, where it can remain for hundreds of years.

    “We have spoiled the entire world with plastic,” says T.S. Shankar, Director of Biotech Bags.  His Chennai company has yet to turn a profit, but Shankar prides himself on making bags from what CNN calls “the world’s first 100% biodegradable plastic.”

    Biodegradable Plastic Bags

    Biotech Bags cost more, but clients such as Kentucky Fried Chicken in Mumbai are willing to pay the higher price. The environmentally-conscious owner of Sangeetha Restaurants also wants customers to understand how Shankar’s technology works, and prints a brief description of it on the bags themselves.

    As customers can learn while enjoying a quick meal, Biotech Bags contains an enzyme that acts as a catalyst when the material comes into contact with soil. Within six months, the plastic bag degrades completely and, according to CNN, leaves no “toxic” residues behind.

    Compostable Bioplastic Bags

    Shankar’s technology is impressive, but other entrepreneurs are replacing petroleum-based plastics altogether. BioBag is a U.S. and Canadian company that makes shopping bags, commercial liners, and packaging films from plants and vegetable oils instead of polyethylene (HDPE, LDPE, and LLDPE).

    Because micro-organisms that live in the soil consume plant-based materials, BioBag products are both biodegradeable and compostable. The company’s claims comply with California law as well as ASTM D6400, a standard specification for the labeling of plastics designed for aerobic composting in municipal and industrial landfills.

    Government Regulation and Job Creation

    California isn’t the only place that regulates “green marketing”, and cities like Los Angeles aren’t the only municipalities that restrict or even ban plastic bags. Here in Quebec, shoppers in the town of Deux Montagnes (Two Mountains), must ask for papier or bring their own recyclable bags. In other Canadian communities, plastic bags are available for a small fee.

    According the Plastic Bag Ban Report, U.S. communities from coast-to-coast are following suite. In recent months, cities like Santa Fe, NM and villages like Great Barrington, MA have banned thin-film, single-use plastic bags. At the same time, Cereplast – another California company that makes bioplastic bags – may need to boost production to meet international demand from India and Italy.

    Petroleum-Based Plastics and Carbon Nanotubes

    In Australia, researchers at the University of Adelaide have developed a nanotechnology process that could trump the efforts of companies like Cereplast, BioBag, and Biotech Bags altogether. Using what Dr. Dusan Losic calls “nanotechnological recycling,” professors at the School of Chemical Engineering have found a way to convert non-biodegradeable plastic bags into carbon nanotubes.

    Hundreds of times stronger than steel, carbon nanotubes are comparatively lightweight materials with unique electrical, mechanical, and thermal transport properties. Today, applications include electronics, energy storage, wind turbines, and sensors. By recycling polyethylene plastic bags into nanomaterials, applications could also include filtration and biomedical products.

    Plastic Bags and the Environment

    So are plastic bags ever “good” for the environment? The petroleum-based products from Biotech Bags may not pollute the soil, but do the compostable bioplastics from BioBag and Cereplast truly enrich it?  If these biodegradable, compostable plastics wind up in landfills alongside other, harmful materials, how much is gained?

    As manufactured products, all plastic bags require energy – and some of these energy sources may cause pollution. At the same time, manufactured products come from workplaces where employees earn paychecks and spend money that supports other industries and the people who work there.

    Could recycling plastic bags into carbon nanotubes help the environment – and perhaps the economy – most of all? Or does our a continued reliance on disposable products inevitably lead to more pollution, especially in fast-growing parts of the developing world? I look forward to your comments. 

  • Moon Cakes and Trade Missions to China

    Moon Cakes Autumn Festival

    Image source: oregonlive.com

    Andrew Yang Sales Representative for Elasto Proxy

    China’s Mid-Autumn Festival celebrates the harvest and reunites families and friends under a bright, silvery moon. In ancient times, members of the country’s various ethnic groups worshipped this fullest moon of the year and held nighttime ceremonies to greet the coming winter. Today, people break from their busy routines to give thanks and remember those who are far from home. While gazing at the mid-autumn moonlight, we wish the very best to those who cannot be with us.

    Dynasties and Traditions

    Like our Chinese New Year celebration, the Mid-Autumn Festival is rich in tradition and rooted in China’s dynastic past. Beginning with the ancient Xia and Shang Dynasties (2000 B.C. to 1066 B.C) and through the Zhou Dynasty (1066 B.C. to 221 B.C.), China’s altar was the nighttime sky. Observance of the Moon Festival grew during the Tang Dynasty (618 to 907 A.D.) and blossomed during both the Ming Dynasty (1368 to 1644 A.D.) and the Qing Dynasty (1644 to 1911 A.D.).

    During the time of the Southern Song Dynasty (1127 to 1279 A.D.), the Mid-Autumn Festival added a culinary custom that continues today.  To express their fondest wishes for a joyous family reunion, celebrants began sending moon-shaped cakes to each another.  Measuring three inches in diameter and a half-inch thick, these sweet treats resemble Western fruitcakes in taste and consistency.  Ingredients typically include melon seeds, lotus seeds, almonds, minced meats, bean paste, orange peels, eggs, and lard.

    Family and Country

    According to legend, these delicious pastries also served a national purpose. During the Yuan Dynasty (1280 to 1368 A.D.), China rebelled against Mongolian rule. To avoid detection and share battle plans, rebel leaders sent messages hidden in cakes as the Mid-Autumn Festival drew near. Under the light of the year’s brightest moon, the rebels then executed their plan of attack and overthrew the invaders. Today, moon cakes are eaten to commemorate this victory and to honor family members.

    Modern moon cakes come in various shapes and sizes, but traditional pastries usually include a salted duck egg at the center of the cake. Each pastry’s golden-brown crust is decorated with symbols of the Mid-Autumn Festival, and 13 pastries are piled in a pyramid to represent the 13 moons of the Chinese year. With so many delicious cakes to enjoy and share, the Moon Festival is a time for celebration that falls on the 15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese lunar calendar.

    From Cakes to Conferences

    As many readers know, autumn is also an important time for tradeshows and business meetings. This year’s Mid-Autumn Festival ended on September 19, but October also promises to be an exciting month.

    As Elasto Proxy’s sales representative in China, I look forward to traveling to Shanghai and Jinan as part of a trade delegation on October 14. Along with the Chinese government and Export Quebec, I’ll be meeting with forward-thinking companies, attending various seminars, and sharing how Elasto Proxy provides high-quality sealing solutions to a variety of industries.

    On behalf of Elasto Proxy, I hope that all who celebrated the recent Mid-Autumn Festival enjoyed their time with family and friends, and will enjoy luck and prosperity in the year to come. To learn more about how Elasto Proxy meets sealing challenges (or just to discuss moon cakes!), please feel free to email me at ayang@elastoproxy.com.

  • “World’s Greatest!” TV Show to Feature Elasto Proxy

    Worlds Greatest

    Clyde Sharpe President of Sales - Elasto Proxy

    Would you like to see how the world’s greatest custom gaskets are made? Would you like to meet the people who make them? Thanks to How 2 Media, producers of a popular television series called  “World’s Greatest!...”, you’ll soon have that chance. Viewers will also get to go behind-the-scenes at Elasto Proxy, the industrial rubber goods company that was started nearly 25 years ago.

    Family-Owned Company and Global Player

    Now in its seventh season, “World’s Greatest!...” takes an insightful, informative look at companies, products, and technologies that are considered best-in-class. Episodes air on various cable networks, and are also available on the TV show’s website and YouTube channel. When How 2 Media selected Elasto Proxy for an episode of “World’s Greatest!...”, we welcomed the opportunity.

    As Gordon Freeman, the TV show’s executive producer, explains, “Elasto Proxy has become a leader in providing industrial customers with high-value, low-volume rubber and plastic components. Founded as a family-owned company in 1989, Elasto Proxy is  now a global player in the rubber and plastics industry. We think their story will be meaningful as well as educational for viewers.”

    TV Production and Rubber Fabrication

    Filming of the TV show will happen here at our headquarters in Boisbriand, Quebec, Canada. The film crew that How2Media sends north from Delray Beach, Florida will capture fast-paced footage of our tube fabrication process, and also interview members of the Elasto Proxy team. On behalf of our close-knit company, I’m looking forward to sharing our application knowledge and design expertise.

    As viewers will see, Elasto Proxy designs and custom fabricates many products, including industrial tubing for low compression force sealing and shock absorption. Partners in a variety of industries typically choose soft, bendable tubes made of compounds such as silicone, neoprene, and EPDM. Elasto Proxy can also cut lengths of industrial tube into tube rings to reduce mechanical vibrations.

    Seeing and Sealing

    Would you like to see how industrial rubber products are made? Would you like to meet the people who design and fabricate the world’s greatest custom gaskets? I hope you’ll watch “World’s Greatest!...” when the episode about Elasto Proxy airs. Until then, we’ll keep you informed as we prepare for filming some of our sealing solutions.

  • What Oil Spills Teach Us about Industrial Hoses

    Ao Prao

    Image source: abc.net.au

    Clyde Sharpe President of International Sales

    Ao Prao was once a clean, pristine, and peaceful place. With its sweeping white sand and deep blue water, this part of Thailand’s Kao Sahmet Island welcomed tourists who enjoyed quiet walks on the beach. Today, Ao Prao is the scene of a massive cleanup effort. Earlier this month, an estimated 50,000 to 100,000 liters of oil (approximately 13,200 to 26,400 gallons) spilled into the nearby sea.

    Independent analysts and representatives from PTT Global Chemical, Thailand’s partially state-owned oil company, disagree about the scope of the disaster. The images of slick, black beaches and a rust-red sea are irrefutable, however, and cleanup crews report a heavy smell of oil in the air. Although the effects of the oil spill are limited largely to Ao Prao Beach, fishermen are already reporting smaller catches.

    Hose Failure

    According to CNN, crude oil spilled into the Gulf of Thailand when a giant, flexible rubber hose burst during a routine transfer operation between a seabed pipeline and an oil tanker. Made by Goodyear, this heavy-duty conduit is replaced normally every two years, but failed after just one. The manufacturer plans to test the failed hose to pinpoint the cause of the catastrophe.

    As the oil spill off the coast of Ao Prao proves, the failure of heavy-duty hose or industrial tubing can threaten livelihoods, harm the environment, hurt a company’s reputation, and affect the bottom line. For businesses that don’t deal in petroleum products, the stakes are still high. Whether a liquid comes from the ground, an oven, or an engine, a hose may fail if it’s made from the wrong type of rubber.

    Chemical Compatibility

    According to the National Association for Hose and Accessories Distribution (NAHAD), chemical compatibility describes the degree to which one material can contact another without an adverse change in properties. In other words, technical buyers need to consider how a liquid will react with the rubber that a hose is made of.

    Buyers also need to know that different chemicals react in different ways with different types of hose materials. All rubber is not the same, and reactions may differ with nitrile, Buna, silicone, and EPDM. Diesel fuel and crude oil have different chemical properties, as do the fatty acids that come into contact with food equipment. That’s why suppliers refer to guidebooks that describe these interactions.

    Applications and Requirements

    Even coffee machines need to use the right type of hose or tubing. To avoid changing the beverage’s taste, buyers may choose platinum-cured hosing. This shows why suppliers need to ask application-related questions. Do you need a rubber hose for purified water or salt water? What happens to this water after it’s transported? Does it matter if the hose imparts a taste or smell?

    Hose suppliers also need to ask about application requirements such as hose length, pressure, heat or temperature, and reinforcement materials. For example, high-heat applications often require silicone hoses. If a high-pressure hose requires reinforcements, do you need metal or fabric? If it’s fabric, how many plies do you need?

    Lessons Learned

    For companies in all industries, hose failure comes with consequences. Even if your business doesn’t deal in diesel fuel or crude oil, it’s important to source the right rubber parts. The oil spill off the coast of Ao Prao, Thailand offers one example. The recent failure of Buna seals provides another. For both buyer and suppliers, there are important lessons to learn.

  • Rail Safety, Canada’s Energy Future, and the Lac-Mégantic Disaster

    Lac megantic

    Image source: ctvnews.com

    By Clyde Sharpe President of International Sales

    Lac-Mégantic is a town of 5,900 that sits on the shores of a freshwater lake near Quebec’s border with Vermont.  According to the area’s original inhabitants, the Abenaki, the word Mégantic means “place where fish gather”. What most people now know about Lac-Mégantic, however, is that it’s the site of a recent train derailment marked by fire, death, and unanswered questions.

    Freight Train Derailment and Crude Oil Explosion

    On the night of July 6, 2013, an unattended freight train rolled down a 1.2-degree grade and picked up speed. By the time the runaway train reached a curve in nearby Lac- Mégantic, the locomotive and all 73 cars were traveling too fast. Owned and operated by the Montreal, Maine, and Atlantic (MMA) Railway, the freight train included 72 tanker cars carrying crude oil from North Dakota to New Brunswick.

    Although firefighters extinguished a blaze in the locomotive, explosions rocked Lac- Mégantic during the early hours of July 7th. While much of the downtown was immersed in oil and fire, as many 30 buildings were destroyed. Over 1,000 residents were evacuated from their homes, with some still unable to return. Today, a boil-water advisory remains in effect for the “place where fish gather”.

    As a family-owned company based in Boisbriand, Quebec, Elasto Proxy is saddened by this tragedy that has now claimed 15 lives with 60 people missing.  For those of us who visited Lac-Mégantic before the train derailment, our memories of this beautiful community are fond ones. We will keep the residents of Lac-Mégantic in our thoughts and prayers, and encourage them as they rebuild the place they call home.

    Energy Controversies

    Yet we must also ask how similar tragedies can be prevented. Although the cause of the Lac-Mégantic train derailment is still undetermined, CTV News reports that that rail shipments of crude oil have increased 28,000% over the last five years. Billed as a cost-effective alternative to controversial pipelines such as the Keystone XL, oil trains may provide the fuel for a new political firestorm.

    Then there’s hydraulic fracturing, the controversial process used to extract the North Dakota crude oil that spilled in Lac-Mégantic. Commonly known as “fracking”, this technique mixes water with sand and chemicals and then injects the mixture at high pressures into a well bore.  According to opponents, the environmental damage from fracking far outweighs its economic benefits.

    Emerging oil extraction technologies may also spark debate about Canada’s energy strategy. As Reuters reports, energy companies want to remove a sludgy, tar-like substance called bitumen from porous rock in northern Alberta. Today, Canada holds the third largest oil reserves in the world. By extracting some a projected 500 billion barrel of oils from bitumen, however, Canada would claim the top spot.

    Rail Containment Systems

    What place will technology have in debates about Canada’s energy future – and are there ways to make rail shipments of crude oil safer today? Tank spill prevention and containment systems are available, but can they be safely, reliably, and economically modified for railcars? How about fuel bladder containment systems that could absorb impacts and provide high structural strength?

    There are still many questions surrounding the Lac-Mégantic train derailment and disaster. What are your thoughts on rail shipments of crude oil? How about fracking and the extraction of bitumen from Canada’s oil sands? Can new containment systems make rail shipments safer, protecting not only lives and property, but also our natural resources? I hope you’ll join the conversation by commenting below.

  • Elasto Proxy Invites You to Support Centraide Laurentides

    Megan Centraide Elasto Proxy Award

    Doug Sharpe President of Elasto Proxy

    Are you more likely to tell your friends about a good experience or a bad one? In recent years, books like Satisfied Customers Tell Three Friends, Angry Customers Tell 3,000 have warned organizations about the power of disgruntled people in our hyper-connected age. Blogs and social media channels make it easy to complain to a large audience – and sometimes bad news travels fast.

    But what about the good work that a great group is doing? Is there a way to encourage your neighbors to support a charitable organization that is meeting a diverse range of needs? Of course there is! The Elasto Proxy blog entry that you’re reading proves it. In September, our Boisbriand-based company will also visit neighbors face-to-face to encourage them to support Centraide Laurentides.

    What is Centraide Laurentides?

    Centraide Laurentides is a non-profit organization that helps a network of community assistance groups throughout the Laurentians, the region north of Montreal that Elasto Proxy calls home. By collecting donations from businesses and individuals, Centraide supports food banks, provides tuition assistance, buys eyeglasses, and even pays for children’s visits to museums.

    Although Centraide Laurentides is part of the United Way, this organization is independent. There are 18 Centraide branches in Quebec, but all of the money that is donated is used to help our local community. Last year, nearly 9 out of 10 Elasto Proxy employees contributed to Centraide Laurentides via Direct Deposit paycheck deductions. For every dollar employees gave, the company added 2.5 dollars more.

    Community Outreach and Increased Involvement

    Elasto Proxy continues to support Centraide Laurentides in 2013 and is grateful for the awards the charitable organization has given us. Last year, our family-owned company received the Grand Prize of Excellence for encouraging other employers to donate. Elasto Proxy also earned awards for our rate of employee participation (86%) and for year-over-year increase (36%) between 2011 and 2012.

    This year, we will expand our efforts on behalf of Centraide Laurentides by appealing to our neighbors in the industrial park where Elasto Proxy is based. First, we will mail invitations and follow-up with phone calls. In September, Elasto Proxy employees will walk throughout the industrial park, visit neighbors door-to-door, and discuss this year’s fundraising campaign face-to-face.

    Help Spread the Word

    Is it true that people are more likely to tell their friends about a bad experience than a good one? Perhaps. In our fast-paced, hyper-connected world, it’s now easier than ever to complain. But what about you? Will you share this blog entry via social media, or perhaps leave a comment below? And will you tell your neighbors about the good work of Centraide Laurentians?

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