News

Neutron Factory Works featured in The Manufacturing Safety Alliance’s Spring 2017 Newsletter

Over the last several decades, the introduction of automated production lines and robotics has become commonplace in most food processing and manufacturing facilities. From basic conveying systems, to complex robotic cells, the ability to produce goods at high speed and accuracy have allowed North American companies to compete in a world of global trade.

Rick Gibbs, President of Neutron Factory Works, believes that automation allows companies to grow through increased production and consistent quality while improving the health and safety of the workers. Neutron specializes in the installation and maintenance of equipment in manufacturing, processing and warehousing facilities. The implementation of robotics has decreased worker exposure to hazardous environments and shielded operations staff against unsafe or repetitive tasks, such as welding and heavy lifting. Automation may initially reduce the number of entry-level, low-skilled jobs, however, over the medium to long-term, automation creates new demand for technically-competent operators, maintenance, inspection, and logistics roles. “Generally, after companies automate, they employ more staff than when they started due to an enhanced competitive position overall” says Gibbs. Nonetheless, a movement to automation alone is not a guarantee of a safer workplace. One of the biggest challenges Rick and his team see for companies importing automated equipment into Canada is related to Safety;

It can be very costly to upgrade equipment to Canadian standards, which are some of the highest in the world. Safety is the centrepiece of these standards. While the low sticker price of imported equipment may seem like an attractive choice, the liability, safety hazards and subsequent costs to bring the equipment up to domestic standards can quickly outweigh any perceived windfall.
– Rick Gibbs, President, Neutron Factory Works

The primary hazard from automated and robotic equipment is motion. Whereas humans can always maintain an awareness of surroundings, robotics simply follow a preprogrammed routine. Without effective safety integration and design, these robotic systems can start and continue to run, creating a dangerous, or even lethal environment to humans. Consequently, the human operator needs to understand how to safely stop and restart machinery, as well as knowing where to stand to avoid injury or exposure. “Including your company’s health and safety representative in the planning stages for new equipment ensures policies reflecting the new process are updated and workers are appropriately trained,” says Rick. “Involving your team in the decisions to introduce robotics and automation is always a good idea.”

Good planning and training will ensure that new production processes will meet the needs of the company, its workers and clients.

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For more information please contact the Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC
Phone: 1.604.795.9595
Email: manufacturing@safetyalliancebc.ca

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Neutron Factory Works Inc. Opens Vernon Branch

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Vancouver, BC – Delta based Neutron Factory Works announces the opening of their Vernon BC branch to serve the interior of BC.

Neutron’s Vernon branch will provide the same services their customers in the lower mainland have come to rely on over the last 20 years. “The manufacturing sector in BC has never been as strong as it is today, as a result many manufacturers are opening facilities in the interior where the cost of living is less and there is access to labor. We saw both a need and an opportunity to provide this market with the same level of technical expertise and rapid response that our customers in the lower mainland count on to keep their factories running.” says Neutron President Rick Gibbs.

About Neutron Factory Works Inc.
Neutron was first established in 1986 as a small electrical contractor under the name Neutron Electric. In 1999, Neutron Technologies was formed to provide the manufacturing sector with refrigeration, mechanical, automation, fabrication, electrical, rigging and general contracting services. In 2010, Neutron rebranded itself as Neutron Factory Works Inc to better align their brand with the markets they serve. Today, Neutron employs over 50 staff and keeps 30 trucks on the road 24/7/365 servicing industry in the Greater Vancouver Area and throughout BC.

For more information on Neutron’s new location, please contact Landon Taylor at:
1.250.307.0238
landont@neutronfactoryworks.com

News

Neutron Representing in Pink

Pink Shirt Day

Pink Shirt Day takes place every year across the nation to stand in solidarity against bullying! The campaign was started after two students in Nova Scotia stood up for a fellow class mate who was bullied for wearing pink, and thus Pink Shirt Day began!  Bullying is closely associated with playgrounds and high school hallways, but ultimately bullying is not confined to just children and teenagers. The type of work we do here at Neutron requires everyone to work as team and teamwork simply cannot be achieved if we are not collectively working together, respecting each other, and encouraging each other. It is important to us at Neutron that we take a stand and say that “Bullying Stops With Me!”

 

News

Neutron featured in The Globe and Mail

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May 2, 2016

Imagine thousands of pounds of molten metal in the ladle of a broken-down crane.

That’s the kind of problem Warren Geraghty doesn’t need. If a crane or furnace processing molten metal stops working, “we can actually get into real trouble,” says Mr. Geraghty, who is foundry manager at Robar Industries Ltd., a Surrey, B.C., manufacturer of pipe products and castings.

That’s where Neutron Factory Works Inc. comes in. Its staff of roughly 40 includes electricians, millwrights, mechanics, refrigeration technicians, welders and software experts, making the company a one-call problem solver for manufacturers in British Columbia. Among its clients are a steel and rubber fabricator, a pharmaceutical biotech firm and commercial fishing boats.

Robar Industries relies on Neutron to keep its foundry running. An employee of Neutron, which is based in Delta, B.C., spends two days each week at the foundry doing routine work, but Neutron is also on call 24 hours a day for operational emergencies.

While new installations and upgrades are a significant part of Neutron’s business, what is unusual about the company is its focus on keeping production going. Its customers are concentrated in B.C.’s Lower Mainland, and when a client has a problem, Neutron staff can usually be there within an hour, says Rick Gibbs, co-founder and president.

Customers “can lose literally thousands of dollars a minute” when things break down, he says.

Pacific Bolt Manufacturing Ltd. in New Westminster, B.C., first called Neutron several years ago to fix a major equipment breakdown. Neutron had the plant up and running in a couple of hours, says Trevor Borland, owner of Pacific Bolt, but what impressed him more was that the company set out to find the cause so the problem wouldn’t happen again.

Neutron isn’t the cheapest option, Mr. Borland says, but if you spend 20 per cent more and the equipment doesn’t fail again for four years, it’s worth it.

More than half of Neutron’s business is in service, maintenance and emergency response. As they do at Robar, Neutron employees may spend time at a customer site each week to deal with routine issues and maintain equipment. Many factories are too small to hire full-time employees to do that, says Mr. Gibbs.

Neutron’s unusual business model partly reflects the nature of manufacturing in the Vancouver area. It’s very different from Ontario, Mr. Gibbs says – “95 per cent of business here is small business.” It’s not practical for factories with 20 to 200 employees to keep in-house experts.

What Neutron does isn’t always easy. “I’ve often compared it to running through a burning building and someone throws a Rubik’s Cube at you and you’ve got to solve it,” he quips.

Mr. Gibbs got his start as an electrician in Alberta in the mid-1990s. He then moved to Vancouver and started his own business. He began working with two other firms, and they formed a joint venture, Neutron Technologies, in 1999. “We saw an opportunity to do a better job by bringing all these skill sets under one roof rather than subcontracting everything,” says Mr. Gibbs, who became president in 2006. The company was renamed Neutron Factory Works, and today Mr. Gibbs and James Gibson are equal partners.

The company expects revenue of $5-million to $6-million this year.

Neutron encourages employees to learn new skills, and pays for training. “A lot of our electricians can weld,” he says. “A lot of our refrigeration technicians can do electrical work.”

Neutron’s trucks have specially designed shelving that allows them to be stocked with the tools needed to resolve problems.

If Neutron doesn’t have the right person available, Mr. Gibbs says he will call another contractor rather than keep the customer waiting.

Mr. Borland of Pacific Bolt says Neutron sometimes suggests improvements, too. They have helped the manufacturer cut energy use 15 to 20 per cent, Mr. Borland says, and safer, cleaner machinery boosts productivity.

“There’s a lot of good contractors out there that do aspects of what we do,” says Mr. Gibbs, but such a range of in-house expertise is rare.

“We believe our model will benefit the manufacturing sector and communities elsewhere in Canada,” Mr. Gibbs says, but he adds that doing it requires a network of strong personal relationships. “Our vision for expansion would include partnerships with well-trusted local contractors in other areas.”

Visit www.theglobeandmail.com for more information.

News

30 NS CEOs sign groundbreaking health & safety charter

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October 14, 2015
For immediate release

HALIFAX, NS – On October 8th, 30 top executives from across Nova Scotia committed to do all they can to make Nova Scotia the safest place to work and live in Canada.

The CEOs signed the Nova Scotia Health and Safety Leadership Charter, committing them to reducing injuries in their workplaces. The Charter is the first of its kind in Nova Scotia and stands as a public declaration by the CEOs to do better on health and safety.

Jeff MacLean, President of Michelin North America (Canada) Inc. is one of five CEOs who have volunteered to serve on the CEO Steering Committee, which will establish the goals and develop an action plan for the upcoming year.

“Michelin is proud to support this initiative and engage with other businesses and organizations in Nova Scotia, all who share the belief that a safer province is a more productive and prosperous province,” said Mr. MacLean. “The leaders who join this initiative have all agreed to share best practices and with this senior leadership commitment, we will all improve the health and safety performance in Nova Scotia.”

“We’re signing the Charter to raise awareness and encourage every business leader in Nova Scotia to make safety a priority,” says Jason Shannon, COO of Shannex Incorporated. “Safe workplaces are a right of every employee and something that should be at the top of business planning agendas.”

Over the next weeks and months, the Steering Committee will work to engage more Nova Scotia businesses and organizations, and will start implementing internal and external health and safety strategies.

“Safety leadership is an essential part of a strong safety culture,” says Kelly Regan, Minister of Labour and Advanced Education. “These 30 leaders are showing they’re committed to creating a better future for workers in this province. I applaud their efforts, and encourage more top executives across Nova Scotia to join them.”

Companies whose top executives signed the Charter include:

Acadia University
Acadian Seaplants Ltd.
Atlantic Crane & Material Handling
Dalhousie University
Department of Labour and Advanced Education
Emera Utility Services
Falck Safety Services Canada
Halifax Harbour Bridges
High Liner Foods
IMP Group
IWK Health Authority
Intertape Polymer
Kohltech International
Michelin North America (Canada) Inc.
Mount Saint Vincent University
Municipal Group of Companies
Northern Pulp
Nova Scotia Health Authority
Nova Scotia Power Inc.
Oxford Frozen Foods
PCL Constructors Canada Inc.
Port Hawkesbury Paper
Pratt & Whitney Canada
Saint Mary’s University
Scotsburn Ice Cream Company
Shannex Incorporated
Sobeys Inc.
Staples Inc.
Tandus Centiva
Workers’ Compensation Board

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PHOTO DESCRIPTION: Thirty top executives from across Nova Scotia have signed the province’s first-ever CEO Safety Charter, publicly promising to do all they can to make Nova Scotia the safest place to work and live in Canada. At the signing ceremony, held at Nova Scotia Power’s head offices on October 8th, they were joined by colleagues who had signed a similar charter in British Columbia.

L to R: Jason Shannon, COO, Shannex Incorporated; Bruce Chapman, General Manager, Northern Pulp; John Young, General Manager, PCL Constructors Canada; Ken MacLean, Municipal Group of Companies; Mike Dunning, Sobeys Inc.; Rick Gibbs, President, Neutron Factory Works, British Columbia; Steve Snider, CEO, Halifax Harbour Bridges; Stephane Turbine, General Manager of Halifax Operations, Pratt & Whitney; Joel Carroll, CEO, Falck Safety Services Canada; Ray Ivany, President, Acadia University; Jean-Paul Deveau, President, Acadian Seaplants Ltd.; Cecila MacLellan, Director, Contact Centre Operations, Staples Inc.; David Hoffman, Co-CEO, Oxford Frozen Foods; Janet Knox, CEO, Nova Scotia Health Authority; Marc Dube, Port Hawkesbury Paper; Tracey Kitch, CEO, IWK Health Authority; John Kennedy, Operations Manager, Intertape Polymer; Jack Miner, President, Atlantic Crane and Material Handling; Fraser Gray, VP Manufacturing, Tandus Centiva; Stuart MacLean, CEO, WCB Nova Scotia; Bob Hanf, President and CEO, Nova Scotia Power Inc.; Jeff MacLean, President, Michelin North America (Canada) Inc.; Ramona Lumpkin, President, Mount Saint Vincent University. Signatories missing from photo: Dalhousie University, Department of Labour and Advanced Educaiton, Emera Utility Services, High Liner Foods, IMP Group, Kohltech International, Saint Mary’s University, Scotsburn Ice Cream Company.

For more information, contact:

Harris McNamara
Emera | Director, Safety
T. (902) 428-6669
E. harris.mcnamara@emera.com

News

Neutron signs Solutions Provider agreement with Climate Smart

Neutron takes pride in doing everything they can to protect our environment by helping their customer base reduce energy and increase efficiencies. Neutron is now working with Climate Smart to provide their clients with on site industrial services to help them meet their C02 reduction initiatives. From finding refrigerant leaks, and installing air curtains and heat exchangers to upgrading lighting to state of the art LED fixtures and upgrading motor starters to VFDs to providing live monitoring on various equipment to monitor energy usage. Going green has never been easier!

Link to webcast: https://climatesmartbusiness.com/

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