Founded in 1954, Enflo is one of North America’s largest makers of Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) and the only PTFE basic shapes producer in Canada. While it began operations in New Jersey, company owners met with New Brunswick officials in 1972; the province had land available in Grand Falls and was looking to attract new business. New Brunswick proved the right fit and production began here in 1973. That plant continues to be a small business success story for the Grand Falls region and the company’s overall success has caught the attention of leading North American specialty plastics extruder Pexco LLC, which acquired Enflo this fall.
CEO/CMO Mark Lamoureaux says when he joined Enflo in late 2016 he saw plenty of room for technology improvements that would make the company more productive and competitive. “We recognized that we needed to improve both our efficiency and quality in multiple ways if we were to continue to thrive in the markets we serve. Fortunately, we’ve improved in several key areas.”
The Many Benefits of Productivity Enhancements
With support from both Opportunities NB (ONB) and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), the company’s Grand Falls operation invested in three new extrusion machines in 2019/2020. (An extrusion machine is a device that pushes material through a die to form or create a continuous profile and can make almost any desired shape). This new equipment helped meet capacity constraints due to dramatic growth in extruded products. The investment in this equipment, the most technically challenging production line, helped Enflo increase that product line’s sales tremendously between 2018 and 2021.
“Through technology enhancements, we’ve also strengthened our capability and improved quality in our large billet department which supports our skived products,” says Lamoureaux. “Further investments in molding include new electronic controls to replace manual systems. Investments in our sintering operation via new ovens helped meet increased capacity demands as we continued to grow the business. Productivity enhancements have helped every piece of the business.”
The Grand Falls plant has benefited from several other pieces of new equipment aimed at shipping/receiving as well as blending, compounding, and reprocessing. Lamoureaux notes all of this has meant further investment in Enflo’s people, as staff skillsets and capabilities are improved to keep up with new technologies.
Lamoureaux says that thanks to its many productivity upgrades, Enflo has been able to grow its sales and profits by double digits over the past two calendar years and was able to limit the need to reduce its headcount during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The company has also witnessed an increase in interest in its business over the past two years, with more growth expected moving forward.
Support Comes in Many Forms
“We have been fortunate to have such great partners in ONB and ACOA,” says Lamoureaux. “We’re currently receiving support for investments in new blending equipment which will dramatically improve productivity and quality and allow us to add new R&D capabilities. ONB has also provided us with valuable benchmarking data that illustrated where we were vs the rest of the industry, that’s been extremely helpful in showing us exactly where we need to improve.”
Lamoureaux says New Brunswick manufacturers serious about enhanced productivity should first determine where they hope to be in five years. “Once you envision that, you can put a plan in place to move in that direction. Productivity will be a huge part of it, and your plan will be the outline needed to keep you focused on which investments you need to make in equipment and resources. It’s paid off for Enflo, it can work for you.”
Looking for help with productivity improvements? Companies can work directly with their regional ONB Business Development Executive (BDE) who are here to support and facilitate the entire productivity process by providing guidance and partner connections to position your business for that next level of success.
Learn more at www.enflo.com.
Productivity is the single most important determinant of a province and country’s prosperity. ONB has prioritized productivity improvement as a key driver that will help New Brunswick businesses increase their competitiveness and overall profitability. Check out this page for a look at how ONB’s focus on productivity is delivering results.