Issue SS 11
Polycorp Ltd. has more to celebrate this year than it’s 15th anniversary alone. The Toronto-based manufacturer of polymer products has grown significantly since it launched its first product, Epflex Railseal, for the transportation industry in 1996. What began as a modest start-up is now a flourishing enterprise, President Peter Snucins says. He credits this accomplishment to the company’s commitment to clients’ quality, cost and delivery needs.
Polycorp specializes in engineered elastomeric parts that offer cost-effective solutions to problems associated with abrasion, impact, noise and vibration. Its products are applicable to three distinct markets. Specifically, its grinding mill liners benefit the mining industry, its protective linings suit the industrial market, and its track encapsulation systems are customized for clients in the transportation and light rail transit sectors. These items are produced from Polycorp’s 55,000-square-foot, ISO 9001-certified manufacturing facility by a highly experienced work force, Snucins says.
In recent years, the company has embarked on an aggressive expansion strategy to grow its customer base and broaden its geographical footprint, he notes. “Our goal was to become dominant in North America with our three product lines, and once we achieved that, we decided to expand internationally and through product line extension,” Snucins states. “We invested very heavily in R&D and have a significant patent development program underway. And now that we’ve established our reputation for reliability, consistency and quality, I think our ability to expand will be enhanced.”
Despite last year’s economic downturn, Polycorp opted to invest in state-of-the-art equipment to enhance capacity and productivity, specifically for its protective linings and mining divisions. It also developed a patent-pending product for a pulp lifter design that will increase mill throughput for its mining customers. This is currently on trial at ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest iron ore company.
In addition, Polycorp strengthened its position in light rail transit. “We made a conscious effort to penetrate that market, created a product, and now we have the largest light rail transit contract in our history with the city of Salt Lake City, Utah,” Snucins states.
It continues to find success in its geographic expansion in transportation and mining, he adds. “There are big opportunities for the protective lining business going into Mexico and Brazil,” Snucins says. “On the mining side, we are experiencing good success in Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela, Dominican Republic and Chile. We’re also penetrating the West African market through Ghana.”
Investing in Talent
Although the soft economy was difficult, Polycorp expended more in capital expenditures in 2010 than it had in its history, Snucins says. If anything, the recession taught the company how to “work smarter,” he explains.
Polycorp also consistently collaborates with the Mining Engineering Department at Queen’s University in Ontario and the University of Utah School of Mines to attract new talent. “Through our scholarship programs with these schools, we hope to generate interest in our industry and specifically our company,” Snucins remarks.
Snucins was a merchant banker by trade who was interested in investing in promising companies in the manufacturing sector and converting them into the successful powerhouses of their respective industries.
“It won’t be long before we will have joint venture, alliances or standalone sites in different parts of the world to service local market requirements,” Snucins says. “We’ve done acquisitions and joint ventures in the past, so we are open to those and continue to pursue them with vigor. From the speed of transaction to the cost of raw material to the international nature of the competition, the whole industry has changed. Thirty-four years ago, it was a sleepy industry. Now, it is a very dynamic, fast-moving, rapidly changing, innovative and creative industry.”