B.C. Fabricator Ramps Up Business
Having celebrated its 25th anniversary this May, custom fabricator and thermoformer A.S.I. Plastics is positioned to enter its next phase of growth and maturity as a business, suggests Dan Sabourin, o...
Having celebrated its 25th anniversary this May, custom fabricator and thermoformer A.S.I. Plastics is positioned to enter its next phase of growth and maturity as a business, suggests Dan Sabourin, owner and general manager at the Port Coquitlan, B.C.-based company.
“Our goal is to double our sales to the $5 million range over the next few years,” says Sabourin. “To do that we have to become less of a one-off shop and more manufacturing oriented.”
Sabourin cites a new 75,000 piece order for a custom display shelving product as an example. Sabourin says profitably filling the order would have been difficult using standard materials and one-off thermoforming methods. Rather than turn the business away, A.S.I. did some research and found a supplier of roll-stock, recycled PET at a significant cost discount. It also built a new automated vacuum/thermoforming machine in-house to allow for continuous feeding of the roll-stock PET into the mold.
A.S.I.’s main product lines are display merchandising systems and bulk food storage bins used in a variety of retail outlets and service businesses. Its customers include Rogers Video, Future Shop, 7-Eleven Stores, Royal Bank, The Bay and others.
The company is also interested in stretching its technical resources and capabilities by taking on a variety of projects, some of which may be outside the realm of the traditional fabricator. One example is a project to supply water cooling pipes made from fluoropolymers to a Western public utility. The project requires using ultra-sonic thermoforming to contour straight sections of fluoropolymer tubing to tight tolerances. A design of experiment helped identify key parameters in the forming equipment that controlled dimensional shaping and reduced scrap. The project is expected to bring in one-quarter million dollars in revenue this year; as well Sabourin sees applications for the technology in other areas, such as transportation.
“We’re producing parts that have never been produced in Canada before,” says Sabourin. “Up till now, you had to go to Europe for this technology.”