Essroc – Picton, Ontario

As a leading cement producer in North America, Essroc Cement Corp. has the capacity to produce more than 6.5 million metric tons of cement each year and is known for its quality, consistency, innovation and exemplary service. A subsidiary of Italian cement giant Italcementi Group, the Nazareth, Pa.-based company has grown to include six cement plants, two cement grinding facilities, one cement blending and packaging facility, 14 cement terminals, 30 ready-mix batch plants, three aggregate facilities and two chemical admixture plants in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Puerto Rico, North Carolina, South Carolina, Massachusetts, New York, Quebec and Ontario.

Essroc’s Picton, Ontario, plant opened in 1958 as Lake Ontario Cement Co. It was acquired by Ciments Francais in the 1980s, and was subsequently acquired by Italcementi Group when it purchased controlling interest of Ciments Francais in 1992. Benefitting from the vast resources of its Italian parent corporation, the Picton plant ships to terminals along Lake Ontario, Lake Erie and Lake Huron for ready-mix customers in Canada and the United States.

Essroc produces cement for concrete, cement for masonry and colored masonry. In addition, “We are vertically integrated in Canada in the sense that we own ready-mix businesses in the Ottawa and Brantford-Cambridge areas,” says Mike Meysing, plant manager at the Picton plant.

Cornerstone Quality

Essroc prides itself on the quality of its product, Meysing says. “We work to make a very consistent product ensuring that what our customers use today will perform the same as what they purchased last month,” he states. “We maintain consistency by following our quality standards throughout the manufacturing process.”

Essroc follows American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM) standards for strength. “But we also have our own standards, which are above the ASTM standards,” Meysing notes. “We’ve provided that for such a long period of time based upon customer needs that, over time, it has become the basis for the quality that’s being demanded in the marketplace.”

Essroc continuously seeks to improve its product quality and introduce new types of cement to the industry. The company developed its TX Active product line, which is a photocatalytic cement technology for self-cleaning and pollution-reducing concrete. The product has been utilized on a number of high-profile projects in North America and Europe including the Greenbuild 2010 Legacy Home in suburban Chicago; Sun Life Financial in Waterloo, Ontario; the Air France headquarters at Roissy-Charles de Gaulle International Airport in Paris; and Ciments due Maroc’s headquarters in Casablanca, Morocco.

The Picton plant is in the development stage of a new type of cement that Meysing describes as an environmentally friendly product based upon new standards set in Ontario regarding clinker ratio in the cement. 

“This is brand new,” Meysing remarks. “It’s not on the market at this time, but it’s a new product we came up with in following these new standards.”

Along with its significant manufacturing capabilities, the company prides itself on its comprehensive customer support. “We have quite extensive support services capabilities,” Meysing says. 

The company maintains similar relationships with its suppliers, Meysing adds. “We have very good working relationships with our suppliers, and we also hold them accountable to what they promise to deliver,” he states. Key Essroc partners include Scott Environmental Group Ltd.

Doing the Right Thing

Essroc’s corporate philosophy emphasizes safety as one of its core values. “We are working to heighten awareness and not only correct facility deficiencies, but also to audit and observe employee behavior,” Meysing says. “We recognize that behavioral issues account for over 85 percent of industrial accidents, so we put a lot of emphasis on training for any of the common tasks that we do at the plant. We are proud of our safety statistics and communicate these statistics with the plant work force, and we also share statistics from the other plants.”

Community outreach is another corporate objective that Essroc values. The company donates money and materials to a number of community initiatives. In Picton, the organization donated materials, such as crushed stone and cement, for a youth skate park in the community, as well as for the Wellington and District Community Centre in Wellington, Ontario, built late last year.

Looking forward, Essroc’s Picton plant intends to embark on several projects to upgrade and automate its production facility to increase its efficiency. “The downturn has made us look at our business transactions and really work on taking out inefficiencies and developing cost control methods,” Meysing says. “We put a lot of effort into looking at how we were operating and determined that we could make some adjustments in our process to reduce our fuel and electrical consumption.”

Creating more efficiency in its day-to-day operations will benefit Essroc when the economy improves and demand increases.

“We see the market right now as being stable at this level, and we believe there will be some slight improvement this year with significant improvements in subsequent years,” Meysing says.

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