An old product has received a new lease on life.
Jetfloats are blow molded flotation devices made from high density polyethylene. Developed specifically for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, the products have been used as docks, but now are approved for use in temporary roads by Canada's Alberta government.
With the price of gas reaching terminal heights, companies in Alberta have been trying to find new oil wells at the province's northern limits. Unfortunately the terrain is swampy, and the companies have to spend millions on temporary rubber and wooden roads.
On Aug. 19, Guelph-based Jetfloat Inc. put on a demonstration at McCann Redi Mix yard. First, a 16½-ton cement mixer drove over a platform constructed of Jetfloats. Then, a 22-ton front-end loader followed.
The platform remained undamaged, and consequently Jetfloats were cleared for use in construction of temporary roads up to a kilometer (0.62 mile) long and 5 meters (16.4 feet) wide.
Frank Zawalsky is the owner of Exi-Plast Custom Moulding Ltd., a Huron Park, Ontario-based company that blow molds the Jetfloats and injection molds the product's locking pins.
Zawalsky said he hopes the contract will lead to bigger production orders for his company.
``We're looking forward to expansion, but at this point we don't know how successful [the new application] will be. But if they start using them in Alberta, other places might follow,'' Zawalsky said by phone Aug. 26.
Exi-Plast began molding for Jetfloat about a year ago. Its Huron Park site is 16,000 square feet and employs 16. The plant runs three injection molding and five blow molding machines.
Jetfloats can be used as rafts or deck components. They even have a military application: ``We sell a lot of these to the militaries for portable helicopter pads,'' Zawalsky said.