Each month, discover a Sherbrooke company profile…
Entity encompassing Dalkotech, Rad Technologies Innovation (RadTech), and Dalkopak:
Dalkotech – Manufacturing of fabricated pieces and steel tanks (Sherbrooke)
RadTech – Design and manufacturing of innovative accessories for manufacturers of tractors and utility vehicles (Thetford Mines)
Dalkopak – Welding and tube bending (Valcourt, USA, and Mexico)
- Creation: 1986 – Dalkotech // 1959 – RadTech Innovation // 2012 – Dalkopak
- Number of employees: 500 (with 120 in Sherbrooke)
- Target markets: Civil construction // Material handling // Mining // Forestry // Airport ground support // Utility vehicles // Agriculture // Specialized industrial equipment
In business for over 30 years, Dalkotech and its president Jean-Guy Dalton have experienced their share of turbulence, from a localized storm to the tidal wave driven by globalization. The secret of rising to the challenges of the day (or the decade)? Innovation, expertise, quality, and resilience, explained the co-founder.
The company, specialized in mechanized welding, is stronger and more competitive than ever: in 2016, it became Dalkotech Group, which includes recent acquisitions RadTech Innovation and Dalkopak. In total, there are 500 employees in five plants and a business office in Sherbrooke, Thetford Mines, as well as in the United States and Mexico!
Innovating (since) always
For as far back as Jean-Guy Dalton can remember, the company that he holds now with the Fonds de solidarité FTQ has always focused on innovation, at several levels. The strategy has clearly become one of the keys to Dalkotech’s longevity and competitive edge.
Technological innovation, firstly, to deliver mechanically welded parts – frames, platforms, levers, ramps, etc. – and quality steel tanks. In doing this, Dalkotech has gradually incorporated robotics on some production lines.
For other parts, custom-made or produced in smaller batches, Dalkotech relies on the expertise of its personnel in various manual welding processes: G.M.A.W. (gas metal arc welding), F.C.A.W. (flux core arc welding), and M.C.A.W. (metal core arc welding).
The services offered by the Sherbrooke company include other processes that enable it to offer customized turnkey projects to its clients: plasma and laser cutting, pre- and post-machining, mechanical assembly, grit blasting, painting, etc.
Dalkotech has also demonstrated innovation, as well as boldness in its strategic business decisions.
Over the years, and through turbulences in the global market, Dalkotech has also stood out for its resilience. At the dawn of offshoring to China, the Sherbrooke company increased its innovation efforts and reaffirmed its commitment to quality and to client service to make its mark on the global stage.
Because it had the foresight to diversify its markets beforehand, Dalkotech was able to cope with the periods of economic slowdown that have punctuated the last three decades.
“We never stopped being proactive and repositioning ourselves, in relation to market trends and our competitors here and beyond, to always remain on top of the needs of our clientele,” added Jean-Guy Dalton.
Dalkotech now has three plants covering a total of 90 000 square feet in Sherbrooke, on Bourque Boulevard in the Deauville sector, and a site on Cabana Street, within the facilities of TLD Canada, a long-time client.
Dalkotech collaborates with several other original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) of machinery and industrial equipment in Canada, the United States, Europe, notably John Deere, BRP, Kubota, and Komatsu.
To attain, and even surpass its clients’ quality standards, Dalkotech has introduced numerous initiatives in terms of manufacturing management, combined with recognized certification. Thus, the company is certified ISO 9001:2008 for its quality management system and CWB CSA W47.1 for the qualifications of its personnel and its welding processes.
“Over the years, we have also adopted a lean manufacturing approach, and an approach to improvement through the Kaizen and the Six Sigma management programs (formerly 5S, but now including the CSST) and the PPAP (Production Part Approval Process) tool,” noted Jean-Guy Dalton. “We have, furthermore, introduced a colour code to identify and better manage material flow, as well as a bar-code system to ensure production tracking.”
This same concern with quality is also found at Dalkopak, a joint venture created out of the merger of Dalkotech and Ecopak in 2012, which now has over 150 employees. The division, also ISO 9001:2008 certified, specializes in pipe bending, as well as robotic and manual welding.
In addition to the head office in Valcourt, where engineering, tooling design, and business development are primarily concentrated, there is a satellite office in El Paso, Texas and a 130 000-square-foot manufacturing plant in Juarez, Mexico.
There, too, state-of-the-art equipment – robotized systems for welding, pipe bending/crimping, milling, and CNC lathes, etc. – covers a large part of the production floor, where more than 120 employees work.
“We are reaching a production capacity of 95 000 to 100 000 parts per month meeting the highest standards, thanks to numerous checks by our quality control lab, all delivered just in time and at competitive prices.”
Four years later, in January 2016, Dalkotech acquired RadTech Innovation… a few days before the Thetford Mines plant was ravaged by a powerful fire, a difficult blow from which the company recovered quickly and vigorously.
“A week after the fire, we were once again up and running at 80% thanks to agreements with our subcontractors that enabled us to relocate some of our activities while waiting for reconstruction. It was a daily challenge, but it gave me, as the new leader, an opportunity to get to know the team in place, and to recognize their strengths and determination. Our order books were full and we delivered!” underscored Jean-Guy Dalton.
RadTech Innovation has regained and even accelerated its growth, specializing in manufacturing accessories for tractors and utility vehicles intended for original equipment manufacturers working in the agriculture, forestry, municipal, commercial, residential, and landscaping sectors.
As its name suggests, the company runs on innovation to design and perfect its products. Among other things, it designed and marketed the first patented front-mount system for riding tractors. Its product range also includes snow blowers, brooms, blades, rotary slashers, flail mowers, mid-mounted mowers, etc.
“RadTech Innovation’s expertise in the development of innovative products adds value to Dalkotech’s ecosystem,” pointed out Mr. Dalton. “Its R&D team – 15 or so engineers, technicians, and inventors – collaborate to create new products to be manufactured in Sherbrooke. Inversely, Dalkotech and Dalkopak also supply RadTech with mechanically welded parts. This complementariness with the services offered at Dalkotech, as well as a mutual commitment to quality and innovation, motivated our two acquisitions.”
Expertise at work
Undoubtedly, Dalkotech Group’s reputation is a reflection of the extensive knowledge of its personnel, which enables it to aim for these high quality standards and to nourish the spirit of innovation. In Sherbrooke, there are 120 welders, assemblers, labourers, electrical mechanics, machinists, technicians, painters, engineers, inspectors, managers, etc., and nearly 400 in the Group’s other entities.
“The shortage of labour in some trades is a key issue at the moment,” noted the leader, who emphasized that a quality work environment and motivating challenges are factors in attracting and retaining workers.
9330, boulevard Bourque, Sherbrooke (Québec) Canada J1N OG2
819 868-1997 / 1 888 868-1997
2835, chemin de l’Aéroport, Thetford Mines (Québec) Canada G6G 5R7
418 338-4499 / 1 800 338-1615
9072, rue De La Montagne, Valcourt (Québec) Canada J0E 2L0
7362 Remcon Circle, El Paso, Texas USA 79912
No.198-1, Col. Lote Bravo, C.D. Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico C.P. 32695
Photo credits: Dalkotech
– – – – – – –