A North Bay based welding company is getting a large cash injection from the province to aid in its development of a new innovative way to maintain and repair bridges in the province.
David Zimmer, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, was at Central Welding to make the funding announcement of $480,000 through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation’s Northern Innovation Program to support the project by Central Welding and Iron Works.
Central Welding has been around for 50 years and is the one of the largest steel bridge fabricators in Canada.
The North Bay facility that employs 80 people will use the funding to weld stainless steel on bridge girders, which is a new material experts believe will increase the life of a bridge by 25 to 30 percent.
“Bridge fabrication has essentially been the same for many, many years and this is the first new thing to come and we are always hearing in the news that our bridges need work, this new type of material is going to extend the service life of any new work we do now so it’s going to help,” said Erik Thomsen, Vice President, Operations, Central Welding & Iron Works.
"This new concept, this new type of steel, it’s the first one that anybody has built in Canada so we are really starting from scratch, we are starting on the ground level so the funding helps us buy equipment, it’s a different type of equipment we need to actually work with this stuff."
Thomsen, whose family has operated the business since 1955, adds that bridge fabrication is a competitive business.
However, he is optimistic this will set a new standard for bridge fabrication in Ontario.
“The steel that the ministry may want to change to, it’s got more nickel and chromium in it, so it will last longer, you get a longer service life which reduces costs over the life of the bridge,” said Thomsen.
Zimmer believes that will lead to more business for the North Bay company which is expected to add four more jobs through this project and the new funding.
“Everybody is going to want to beat a path to North Bay to find out how to do this,” said Zimmer.
For more informijton on Central Weldcing go here: http://www.centralwelding.ca