A few days ago, a barge pulled out of the loading docks at Ideal Welders Ltd. on Annacis Island in Delta, B.C. It was transporting a module destined for a newly modified diesel storage facility in nearby Port Moody. With structural steel neatly encompassing a network of pressure piping and electrical-instrumentation, the module was an impressive 200 feet long, 30 feet high and 30 feet wide, weighing in at more than 125 tons.
When the module arrived at its destination, the true beauty was the simplicity of its installation. Crews quickly incorporated the module along with the eight other modules that Ideal Welders had built to help transform the former oil refinery into a safe, environmentally friendly and reliable fuel terminal.
“By performing this type of work in a safe, controlled indoor facility like Ideal’s on Annacis Island, you save man hours in the field and reduce environmental risks at the site,” says V.P. of Operations Dale Hamill. “When you deliver modules like these to the site, it’s like putting a Lego set together. It all fits together and you’ve eliminated up to 85 per cent of the field work.”
It’s not that Ideal Welders is hiding its 26-acre, 300,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility, but its ability to work on large projects such as LNG plants and shipbuilding modules comes as a surprise to most owners. Over the years, Ideal has worked on many large infrastructure and construction projects that fuel Western Canada’s economy. In doing so, Ideal Welders provides upwards of 180 well-paying jobs and contributes to the West Coast’s overall economy by reducing reliance on off-shore manufacturing, thereby keeping Canadians working.
Some 50 years ago Ideal Welders was born with a vision by then and still current president Jim Longo.
As time went by, he grew the business. Ten years ago, he bought the shuttered Island Paper Mill on Annacis Island to begin the long process of custom designing it to become an industrial welding shop.
With a total of 250,000 sq. ft. of production space plus 50,000 sq. ft. of storage, Ideal now operates from its three facilities which are accessible by road, rail and water. The main shop has six bays and is capable of producing pipe work in all grades and types of steel. The 50,000 sq. ft. alloy shop is completely segregated, and all six bays at this new facility are outfitted with specialized state-of-the-art equipment including overhead cranes with single lift up to 120 tons.
There are virtually no limitations on the size of fabrication since access to the Pacific Ocean is right at the Ideal plant.
Together with a dedicated and loyal group of long-term employees, Longo has made certain that as the business has grown it has remained true to his original motto — to ensure a commitment to uncompromising standards and attention to fine details. Every project is fabricated to exact specifications, completed within budget and delivered on schedule.
While some owners might think they have to contract such large projects to offshore suppliers, Ideal Welders has the facilities right here in B.C. to produce top-quality workmanship, Canadian jobs, and eliminate the need of transporting the finished product into Canada from offshore locations.
“When it comes to building pressure vessels, pipe fabrication or modules, Ideal has undoubtedly established itself as an elite welding company of choice on the West Coast,” Longo says. “Our clients have total faith in us and the people who work at Ideal. We have qualified, repuable people and we’re a company that prides itself on its integrity and an exemplary safety record.”
As a true-blue Canadian, Longo believes in supporting Canadian jobs. Ideal maintains a strong apprenticeship program and reaches out to high school students to let them know of the fulfilling career possibilities right in their backyard.
“I always treat our employees the same way I’d want to be treated myself,” Longo says. “I teach them to be attentive to detail, as excellence is founded upon attention to the small things. Do it right the first time and exceed client expectations — these are just a few of our enduring core values at Ideal Welders.”