Tube-Mac Industries

Pipes done Right

It’s the classic Cinderella story—except there’s no princess, glass slippers or talking animals. Instead, the story begins with an innovative Ontario man, running a hydraulic piping business out of the back of his pick-up truck. Thirty years later, Gary Mackay is now the president of a multinational company, Tube-Mac Industries, with offices all over the world. Headquartered in Stoney Creek, Ontario, Tube-Mac has over 140 employees.

When Mackay first started Tube-Mac Industries in 1977, he felt that the traditional welded piping systems were not the best way to go. Pipe leaks were a growing problem in his industry. After researching European technologies, Mackay made the switch from welded to non-welded systems. Since introducing non-welded piping to North America in the early 1980s, Mackay and his team have expanded on existing designs to improve product lines. Now, Tube-Mac carries at least four types of pipe connections to suit various applications: flared flanges, mechanically attached fittings (MAFs), retain rings and Pyplok.

Setting themselves apart
As far as competition goes, there are only about three or four other companies in the world that offer non-welded, high-pressure piping systems. That said, Tube-Mac Industries still strives to differentiate itself from the rest of the pack. What’s their biggest advantage? Chris Peitchinis, Operations Manager at Tube-Mac, says it’s their complete system offering.

“We will take a project from its inception, estimate all the materials, do the design work, and provide the technicians to give a complete piping package,” says Peitchinis. “We have project managers to oversee the entire project to ensure that our equipment is installed properly and safely. Once that’s all done, we send flushing technicians to pressure test and oil flush the system to meet ISO cleanliness standards.”

“Our competitors send over a wooden box with all the parts, which becomes a nightmare,” he continues. “We pride ourselves in follow-through and our guaranteed customer satisfaction. That’s how Gary Mackay has always done it.”

Green isn’t new for Tube-Mac, but it’s still important
As in many businesses, the rising concern about the environment has had an effect on Tube-Mac Industries. Luckily, the impact has been a good one. The number one advantage is that non-welded hydraulic piping systems have leak-free connections. That means oil can’t leak out and seep into the ground anymore, which is good thing. The United States’ Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) agrees.

“The EPA started clamping down,” Peitchinis explains. “We’ve been approached specifically by some American companies who have been told to clean up their act, and our non-welded systems offer a solution.”

How else are non-welding piping systems making a difference?
For starters, they don’t have to worry about releasing any welding fumes into the air. Also, because there is no welded connection to crack or fatigue over time, Tube-Mac’s system has a longer life span, making it more sustainable.

“Welding requires acid pickling, a cleaning process that pours chemicals in the pipes to break off and flush out any slag,” says Peitchinis. “The entire process produces large quantities of chemicals that need to be disposed, which becomes a huge environmental issue.” “With our systems, those chemicals are eliminated from the equation. The only added process we do is run the customer’s oil through a filter to ensure it’s clean. Then we cap off the lines so it stays in our system. The oil has to be cleaner than blood. Any loose particles will eventually break down the pipe components because they move at such high pressures.” “You know, the whole environmental thing isn’t new for us,” Peitchinis chuckles.

“We’ve been telling customers about the environmental benefits for years. Fortunately for us, now, it’s becoming more mainstream.”

Getting certified, going global
The biggest change in the company happened when it started expanding beyond North America. Geoff Mackay, Corporate Accountant and Gary’s eldest son, explains that after the economic downturn in the early 1990s, Tube-Mac wanted to explore other markets and industries—the marine and offshore industry in particular.

As it turned out, new markets meant new certifications, such as the Lloyd’s Registry, ISO, DNV, American Bureau of Shipping, and Chinese Classification Society. The process meant inviting each association to audit product testing. “Tube-Mac decided to build its own test lab in Canada,” says Geoff Mackay. “Once complete, it became the first in the world to test impulse and vibration simultaneously (as opposed to testing each pipe separately). Finally, each representative came over, witnessed the tests and certified Tube-Mac Industries, allowing them to expand into various international markets.”

Slowly pushing themselves into different markets around the world, Tube-Mac now has distributors in Australia, Denmark, Sweden, South Africa, United Kingdom, China, Japan, Korea, Singapore and India.

Tube-Mac lives happily ever after
Tube-Mac Industries still has a lot up its sleeve. Right now, they’re experimenting with their latest product line, Pyplok, and examining its potential for other industries.

“It’s something we want to use to expand into other fields, like high-pressure gas,” says Chris Peitchinis. “Pyplok can be used on all kinds of fluids and gases, which can broaden our market to different applications in the future.”

“For a long time we were known as non-welded hydraulic piping systems, but we’re changing focus to become non-welded piping technology. We want to expand into all sorts of high-pressure piping.”

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