Employee Ingenuity Pays Off

Pictured: Martin Tremblay, Rémi Tremblay, Marc Perron, Danny Plourde, Joel Pageau, Guy Gagné, Dominic Michaud and André Simard. Absent: Frederick Lemay, Étienne Larouche, Éric Langevin, Charles Desbiens and Richard Côté.

The employees of Alma Works have achieved an amazing feat that has resulted in substantial savings of one million dollars. Since the air conditioning system on the overhead cranes needed to be replaced to comply with current standards, the team decided to modify the existing equipment instead. The work was spread over three years and made the system more reliable and greener.

Before making any major changes to the existing equipment, a prototype was produced and tested for one year. Marc Perron, Building Systems Technician, explained, “We modified the refrigerating circuit substantially and managed to solve some fairly complex problems to create a more efficient and environmentally friendly product, while retaining the original components of the equipment.”

A significant gain for the environment was also possible thanks to the new gas used. “Before, we were using 124 gas and when there were leaks, we had to recover and destroy it. Now we are using 134a gas, which can be reused during maintenance,” Mr. Perron added.

In the end, 45 machines were modified thanks to the ingenuity of the employees. “We have made the air conditioning system more reliable—we used to have to change it every year, but now it can last two or three years,” said Martin Tremblay, Maintenance Supervisor, HVAC and Mechanical Workshop. “It also performs better, and the operators are more comfortable operating the cranes. Before, we had a hard time getting it to go below 24 degrees and with the modifications it can now go down to 21 degrees.”

Charles Desbiens, HVAC Technician, coordinated the project. He was responsible for ordering the required materials and coordinating replacements with the different areas (PTM and furnaces). This remarkable team effort has resulted in capital savings while adding value to the existing equipment.