Produits de métal Vulcain: when quality rhymes with productivity and market development

One of the robots owned by Produits de métal Vulcain.

One of the robots owned by Produits de métal Vulcain.

Summary

Company: Produits de métal Vulcain

Region: Laurentides

Program: Quebec Economic Development Program (QEDP)

Financial assistance helped with: the improvement of the business’ productivity through the acquisition and implementation of modern equipment.

 

Without companies like Produits de métal Vulcain, Quebec would not be able to boast about being among North America’s leaders in customized and made-to-order metal fabrication.

Located in Saint-Jérôme’s industrial park, Produits de métal Vulcain specializes in processing sheet metal. Its customers, who sub-contract to them the manufacturing of their products, consist of companies whose reach is often international. The company manufactures roughly 5,000 types of parts per year for various customers in different sectors. Some of those parts go into building airport conveyors, trail groomers, trucks or construction equipment. Others become components in electrical boxes, school bus doors, power shovels, suspension brackets and many others for various types of vehicles. In total, nearly 5 million parts leave the plant every year for customers like Paccar, Prinoth, Microbird, Hydro Québec, Alstom and many others.

Daniel Saint-Pierre has been working for the company since 1998, as a folder.

Daniel Saint-Pierre has been working for the company since 1998, as a folder.

Being firmly committed to competitiveness, management makes a point of continually updating its strategic growth plan. Over the years, it has not hesitated to innovate by diversifying its operations and adopting leading-edge technologies. With assistance from Economic Development Canada, it recently upgraded its folding department by purchasing a press capable of folding different thicknesses of aluminum and steel, stainless or otherwise. Their digital control ensures the consistency and quality of all parts manufactured to the same criteria. In the opinion of Mr. Luc Lusignan, Executive Vice-President, [translation] “It was a wise decision and enables us to not only keep the number of rejects to almost nil, but also remain competitive by achieving considerable productivity gains and developing new markets”.

A great deal has happened near  the Rivière-du-Nord since brothers Edgar, Georges and Réjean Desjardins formed Vulcan Machine Works in 1957. Their first contract when they began, on Bélanger St.: [translation] “weld a chair leg for a nice parishioner”, as amusingly recalled by Yvan Desjardins, the current purchasing manager and son of Edgar, the founding president.

Produits de métal Vulcain – from the name of the patron saint of blacksmiths and Roman god of fire, metal working and volcanoes – has become a renowned supplier for most original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in the ground transport sector in North America.

Adhering to the principles of Lean Manufacturing, the company has made quality its standard. It is one of those rare Canadian companies to be TS 16949 certified. That standard, prepared by the IATF (International Automotive Task Force), validated and published by ISO (International Standards Organisation) in technical specification (TS) form, is the quality control standard that describes the processes for automobile parts development and manufacture.

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