A newly launched Canadian business will make polyurethane composite utility poles in Tilbury, Ontario.
Global Composite Manufacturing Inc. plans to begin making the poles by June 1, according to Vice Chairman John Millson. The company will work under contract for RS Technologies, an Edmonton, Alberta, firm that developed the poles.
Global Composite will introduce robotics to improve manufacturing of the PU/glass-fiber poles by filament winding. The poles, called RStandard, will be sold to HDSupply, a division of Home Depot Inc. of Atlanta, which will market them to public utilities. The value of the contract will be about C$60 million (US$50.8 million) over two years.
Millson said his firm is scouting existing locations in the Tilbury area to set up pole production. It could spend more than C$21 million (US$17.8 million) to acquire a 90,000-square-foot building and equip it for production. Global Composite expects to have 100 permanent employees.
RStandard poles are modular in 15-foot sections that can be joined to create poles of different lengths. Utilities in the United States and Canada have been testing them. The modular design simplifies shipping and inventory, and the poles are touted as durable and more environmentally friendly than wood poles that are chemically treated.
RS Technologies decided to contract out pole production to make it more efficient and to avoid high costs in Alberta's labor market due to rapid expansion of the province's oil sands complexes. RS Technologies is a subsidiary of Resin Systems Inc. of Edmonton.
Global Composite is a subsidiary of Global Vehicle Systems Inc. of Tilbury. Global Vehicle operates a painting and assembly division for vehicle parts and a tooling and automation division. The firm, formed in 1998, is closely held by the Boucher family.
While its new subsidiary gears up to make utility poles, Global Vehicle is expanding its painting and assembly plant. Floor space is being doubled to 25,000 square feet and the paint line is being reconfigured and automated, Global Vehicle President David Butler said. The line has focused on painting large vehicle parts in short runs, but the project will allow the company to bid on longer runs of smaller parts, Butler said.
Butler said Global Vehicle recently landed a three-year contract to paint air farings for truck roofs.