Five months into operation, Norgalv's hot-dip galvanizing plant in North Bay employs 34 people full time on a two-shift run, and it's already poised to introduce a third shift, adding another 11 jobs to its workforce.
The response from clients and the city has been a welcome one for managing director Andre van Soelen, who first announced the plant in 2019.
"We're very proud of the positive impact that we continue to have on the economy and the society of Northern Ontario,” van Soelen said during a virtual grand opening for the plant, held on May 21.
"We look forward to growing along with the City of North Bay.”
Constructed in just nine months, the $21-million 35,000-square-foot semi-automated Norgalv plant opened in North Bay's Airport Industrial Business Park in January.
FedNor provided $1.5 million for the project, the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund contributed $5 million, and the city is providing a tax rebate and more than $70,000 in grants to cover municipal fees through its Growth Community Improvement Plan.
Hot-dip galvanizing is the process of dipping steel components into a kettle of molten zinc to add a protective coating that guards against corrosion.
Steel parts are shipped to the plant from the customer, where they're prepped, coated, and repackaged before being returned.
The Norgalv facility is the only one of its kind in Northern Ontario.
“Our plant really is a marvel,” said Noam Sugarman, Norgalv's commercial manager.
“The world-leading technology in our plant, combined with the amazing workers we've been lucky enough to recruit, don't just allow us to galvanize according to specification.
“These things allow us to treat the steel of our clients as if it is our own and do our part to make sure their project is a successful one.”
Watch below to take a virtual tour through Norgalv's $21-million state-of-the-art hot-dip galvanizing plant in North Bay. (Norgalv video)
The Norgalv approach is also an environmentally friendlier one, releasing zero emissions into the environment, he noted.
“Galvanization is, by far, the most effective means of corrosion protection for steel,” Sugarman said. “It should be far more likely used, and it is our mission to make it the standard method of corrosion protection by making the process as painless and as customer-friendly as possible.”
Northern Ontario's long-established mining industry played a key factor in Norgalv's plan to build a plant in North Bay, but the process is also used in industries including construction, telecommunications, marine, agriculture, and power generation.
North Bay Mayor Al McDonald said the plant is a welcome addition to the business park, which was constructed nine years ago in an effort to attract new business and diversify the available offerings in the city.
“We truly believed that, if we invested and built it, they would come,” McDonald said. “One just has to drive through the park to see the true success story it truly is.”