Founded in 1946, Magnus is the country’s leading developer and manufacturer of specialized chemical and equipment solutions. The 100 per cent Canadian company is a pioneer in the industrial, commercial and institutional HVAC water treatment, process water treatment, waste water treatment, metalworking and cleaning, as well as leaders in the implementation of best practices in the detection and control of Legionella bacteria in cooling towers.

Multidisciplinary Specialties

Magnus started as experts in the application of specialized chemistry for steam boiler treatment and industrial cleaning. With a dedication to R&D early in its inception, Magnus emerged as a leader in anti-corrosion solutions, creating a cleaning line and rust inhibitors for the optimization and protection of equipment used in the automotive, public transportation and industrial sectors. Early in the 1950’s, the company expanded its expertise into the prevention of corrosion and the protection of equipment when Magnus was approached by global leader of aluminium mining Alcan (now Rio Tinto Alcan). Continued research undertaken by Magnus scientists, in partnership with engineers and process technologists, to continuously improve the efficiency and environmental sustainability of their products has resulted in clients saving several million dollars in capital expenditures.

Hvac Water Treatment

A prescient thinker, in 1965, Jacques Pichet started a division for the filtration and conditioning of water in an effort to reduce the amount of chemicals and the impact they have on the environment. By pre-treating the water before use in the industrial, commercial or institutional applications —water softening, for example – the properties of the water would be altered, and require less chemical treatment. Today, Magnus is still a leader in the filtration, injection and precondition of water, which represents 35 per cent of the company’s business. Manufacturing in its ISO 9001:2000 certified facility ensures Magnus can monitor and ensure quality in all its products.

Green Initiatives

Magnus is acutely aware of its clients’ needs to maximize the use of water, and the pressure to reuse as much of it as possible for both economic and environmental considerations. To accommodate these needs, Magnus is proudly the only Canadian-based company with Ecologo approved products. With five laboratories devoted solely to R&D and analysis located in Boucherville, Que., Magnus is dedicated to continuing its heritage of environmentally-sound products and practices, a practice recognized by the Ministry of Finance and Economy of Quebec when the company was awarded its second PerformAs award in November.

Magnus works diligently towards providing sustainable solutions. In fact, according to President and CEO Denis Pichet, “All of our R&D must be green certified, or I will refuse it.” In 2007, Magnus was the first water treatment manufacturer to receive the Ecologo certification for a specific product. In 2010 Magnus integrated ecodesign in its PDP (Product Development Process), which means that every product must pass an eco-evaluation test. The introduction of sustainable development guidelines in the process of product development has opened doors to new and innovative ideas.

In 2011, Magnus did an inventory of its greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). This exercise revealed that for the Boucherville plant, Magnus’ activities for 2010 only accounted for 328 tons of CO2 per year (the threshold being 10,000 tCO2). Magnus was also able to eliminate 105 dangerous materials from its ingredients list. “It is our duty as chemists to provide safer and eco-friendly products,” said Jean-Jacques Drieux, Vice President, Innovation and Sustainable Development. To invest in a sustainable future, it is not only in the interest of the company’s management but it’s everybody’s business. Henceforth Magnus managed to receive the level 2 certification of the ‘ICI ON RECYCLE’ program through the implementation of various reduction, recycling and redistribution actions – as well as carrying out various awareness activities, demonstrating the importance of a sound waste management. “More and more, our customers are seeking environmentally friendly products. Magnus’ approach puts us ahead of the competition,” says Drieux.

Legionella Detection

Water contains minerals and microbiological growth that can cause corrosion, scaling, and the build-up of other organic material inside of pipes that can cause damage, and compromise the cooling, heating, and industrial processes of the buildings in which the pipes are in.

In extreme cases, that microbiological material can cause serious disease and fatalities if contact is made with people. The largest Canadian outbreak in history was recorded in 2012 when a Legionella outbreak occurred in Quebec. In total, 13 people lost their lives to the bacteria, which can be found in untreated cooling towers, swimming pools, domestic hot-water systems, fountains, and similar disseminators that tap into a public water supply.

“Our programs really have a large impact on the overall health of the way a building is going to heat and cool itself,” says John Oldman, Ontario Vice-President Business Development and Operations.

“Every water process that we treat for cooling towers we check for legionella,” says Pichet. “We have a very unique program for comprehensive actions and maintenance where we will deploy special treatments to prevent bacteria growth and protect the workers. All bacteria monitoring and risk monitoring assessment we do for Legionella represents more than five to seven per cent of what we do, and that is growing.”

Cooling towers have to be maintained in proper operating condition. An appropriate anti scaling and anti-corrosive treatment and biocide program will help control the growth of Legionella. “In all likelihood, testing and detection of Legionella will be part of new regulations surrounding the maintenance of cooling towers like it is in Europe,” says Michel Poirier, Senior Account Associate, Engineers and Contractors. “The detection of the bacteria can be done with new techniques allowing us to get results within 24 hours, hence we can take action quickly to make sure an outbreak does not occur. Proper water treatment of a cooling tower process is not only to protect your mechanical investment, but also to protect the health and safety of the population.”