Advanced Dynamics Corporation
In 1965, Fergus Groundwater, a McGill graduate with a Master’s in mechanical engineering, founded Advanced Dynamics Corporation Ltd (ADCL) in the town of St. Bruno, Québec. Over the years, ADCL has expanded from a small shop to a reputable business that employs over 150 professionals and skilled technicians in the areas of project management, engineering, design production and sales. As a management-owned company, ADCL focuses on engineering, design and manufacturing custom-made systems.
Serving a large international and local client base, ADCL’s mission is to become and remain the foremost Canadian company in the designing and manufacturing of heavy duty material handling systems.
The Canadian Business Journal recently spoke with President Peter Hanna about the company’s product lines, new areas of business growth and its commitment to solving the specific needs of its clients.
Key Business Areas
As a mid-sized company, ADCL’s main product lines include aluminum heavy material handling and paper heavy material handling and packaging. However, the company supplies ultra-robust handling systems to a variety of metal industry segments, including primary and secondary aluminum producers; magnesium producers; lead-acid battery producers; steel producers; and copper producers.
In the pulp and paper industry, ADCL operates as designers and builders of world-class Pulper Charging Systems with manual and automatic bale de-wiring equipment, roll handling, wrapping and finishing systems. Everything the company offers for pulp and paper applications is designed to fit easily into mill management systems, allowing for labour savings and direct reduction of productions costs. From pulp bales and recycled bales to roll handling systems, ADCL has harnessed the engineering needed to cater to this industry.
ADCL has also supplied fibreglass batt stackers, balers, choppers and folders to the insulation industry, including all attendant conveying and handling systems. The company has executed selective projects in aerospace, valve testing and food and beverage packaging.
For years, ADCL has been looking to diversify. In 2015, it formed a new company called Advanced Dynamics Hydrometallurgy, which has become the company’s new copper, lead, nickel and cobalt product line. The new business line represents an area of growth for the company, as it is currently receiving orders and bid requests around the world.
ADCL is committed to improving the productivity of its clients’ production facilities. Its highly trained engineers, designers and project mangers help each client get the most out of their plant on time and within budget. Hanna says a key factor of the company’s success has been its ability to find out exactly what is required to maximize a client’s productivity and return on investment.
“We provide a system solution. We go into the facilities with intelligent sale engineers who have been in the industry for a long time, and ask: ‘What are your bottle necks? What are your problems?’” he explains. “Clients are very receptive, and very welcome to have us come in and discuss what their exact needs are. That way, we understand them, we understand their products, and their markets, and we put machine systems together specifically suited to their operation.”
“The equipment that we make is very customized, so it makes our client’s facilities more automated. Although we have product lines, we probably have 200 to 300 machines that we consider standard products,” he says. “When we go into a facility to solve their problems, we will pick and choose between our base of machine references and then we will customize it to their needs, because every single mill is different – they all need something different.”
Performance and Client Satisfaction
ADCL offers thorough after-market support. Service represents an integral part of the company’s commitment to superior system performance and client satisfaction. ADCL’s team of professionals wants to ensure that every system delivered continues to operate optimally over the course of its operating life.
After-market support offerings include:
– 24-hour pager support
– Four-hour technical response
– Maintenance audits
– Controls optimization
– Personnel training
– Custom support programs
– Equipment upgrades.
ADCL’s service team has the skills and experience in the materials handling field to cover its client’s equipment needs. In addition to providing a range of services, ADCL also offers a variety of spare parts for all of its equipment—all with rapid delivery and competitive pricing.
Ensuring the Highest Levels of Professionalism
ADCL has implemented a quality management system to ensure the highest levels of professionalism and effectiveness in its business processes. It provides customers with quality products and services which meet or exceed contract specifications, and that it constantly strives to exceed customer expectations.
Through ongoing and formal review, at Quality Management Meetings, ADCL’s quality team reviews, refines and continually improves the Quality Management System through the establishment of objectives and measurement of success. This continuous review process ensures the ongoing suitability of this Quality Policy.
The Marketplace is the World
In Quebec, Hanna says ADCL plans to stay its current size for the foreseeable future, even though the company’s revenue continues to increase by about $2 million a year. “Our business volume has gone from $20 million to about $35 million in the last five years and it has steadily increased every year by about $2 million dollars,” he says.
“We see ourselves in the five-year window as being a $50 million a year company, but not necessarily getting bigger. We think we can do $50 million and not get a lot bigger just because the size of the jobs we’re getting into now. We offer a broader base of products so we don’t just receive small system orders, we’re also considered for big system orders,” he adds. “We’ll continue acquisitions and startups going forward as they suit the industries we serve.”
ADCL continues to expand in the international market. In the last ten years, it has gone from operating mostly in North America to a worldwide customer base that is currently more than half its business. “We’re spreading our wings and doing successfully in all parts of the world. So definitely, the marketplace for us, is the world,” Hanna says.