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Whitby manufacturer expands its scope to support refurb

 Whitby manufacturer expands its scope to support refurb

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​OPG’s Darlington Refurbishment project is acting as a launch pad for a Whitby-based manufacturer to expand beyond the aerospace industry.

For AeroTek Manufacturing Ltd., it all started with partnering up with fellow manufacturer Triumph Gear Systems to support OPG’s mega-project.

​“Triumph approached us four years ago asking whether we were interested in doing the chrome plating on parts they were going to produce for Refurbishment,” said Jonathan Schofield, President and Director of Quality at AeroTek. “It took about two-and-a-half years for both companies to get set up to meet the need. On AeroTek’s side, we had to develop new processes, update and refine our procedures, modify our building and purchase equipment.”

A close up of nuclear reactor components with special corrosion and wear resistant coatings
Nuclear reactor components with special corrosion and wear resistant coatings.

During the planning stages, AeroTek worked side-by-side with OPG and Triumph to develop a more modern, repeatable procedure for the application of corrosion and wear resistant coatings on nuclear reactor components. AeroTek also implemented changes to ensure their process would meet the stringent environmental requirements of the nuclear industry.

“We invested $700,000 to purchase the necessary environmental equipment and resources to support the project,” says Cathy Geddis, Vice President and General Manager at AeroTek. “We also sourced and trained a quality assurance technician for the role they now fill as quality assurance manager.

“In total, we hired four people and promoted staff within the company directly as a result of Refurbishment and we anticipate hiring more people over the next few years.”

Schofield established AeroTek in 2007 after purchasing its predecessor, a company with decades of experience in aerospace technology. The company’s support of the Darlington Refurbishment project is changing the way AeroTek does work today and how it will do work in the future, says Schofield.

“Normally, for aerospace, we work with parts that can fit in the palm of your hand,” he says. “For Refurbishment, we’re working with components that are 11 or 12 feet long. Everything we do is in-house, so we’ve had to develop and modify all our processes as a result.”

OPG’s Darlington Refurbishment project, Canada’s largest clean energy project, is generating thousands of jobs and environmental benefits for Ontarians. AeroTek is one of 200 companies located across the province that are supporting this 10-year venture.

“AeroTek has changed a lot over the years,” says Schofield. “And Darlington Refurbishment is directly responsible for a big part of that change.”