Alain Guilbert has been with Rio Tinto for 30 years and has dedicated his career to Vaudreuil Works as a process engineer. He has worked in all areas of the plant and is currently Manager, Technical Services for the Vaudreuil Refinery and its chemical plants. His knowledge and experience are invaluable and make him a mentor to his teammates. After all these years of service, Mr. Guilbert continues to distinguish himself in his work by participating in the continuous improvement of the process. He jokes that, “The Vaudreuil Works process runs through my veins.”
Your patience and perseverance have recently paid off with the implementation of a new technology. Tell us about that.
To get the full potential of continuous precipitation at Hydrate East, we had to find a way to improve the control of the flow in the head tank. A work team then investigated the matter, and everyone thought that they had a key to the solution. I also had a solution in mind, but the rest of the team did not find it suitable. This solution, however, had been brewing in my mind for a long time, as it had already been tested in a similar situation 20 years ago. This time, for this project, the stars were aligned, and I wanted it to be considered. In the end, the solution proved to be optimal for the team and this technology is a first at our plant. When you believe in the potential of an idea, you have to stick with it and see it through. My patience and tenacity were finally rewarded.
In your 30-year career, what are you most proud of?
With my work, I feel that I bring added value to the organisation. Both from a technical and a human point of view, I influence and contribute through my experience with optimising operations and carrying out future-oriented projects. When I started my career, the future of Vaudreuil Works was rather uncertain. Today, because of the various projects to which many employees have contributed, the plant is an important and recognised strategic asset in the Rio Tinto value chain. It is a great source of pride to have put our shoulder to the wheel to ensure the plant’s long-term viability. When I started here, production was just over one million tonnes. Today, we produce more than one million five hundred thousand tonnes.