R.A.P. Technologies is a New Brunswick-based green startup bringing innovative, environmentally friendly products to multiple sectors of the ocean economy. From its green production facility in Minto, R.A.P. is producing a host of non-toxic marine products for the global fishing industry, including weighted rubber lobster trap runners, oyster cages, and its new Rap-12 buoys.
Central to R.A.P.’s business strategy is the use of non-toxic materials to manufacture its products. Founder and CEO Kent Ferguson says an environmentally conscious approach is at the core of everything the company produces. “Initial feedback on our runners noted they were too soft. There were plenty of options, chemically, that could have hardened our rubber, but none were non-toxic,” he says. “We delayed sales until we could find a proper solution because adding toxicity to water that could harm marine life was a non-starter.”
Great Partnerships Make the Difference
To solve its rubber hardening challenge, the company turned to Fredericton’s Research & Productivity Council (RPC). “With the RPC team, we developed a formula that was both non-toxic and hardened our runners to meet customer expectations,” says Ferguson. “Only then were we ready to safely move product to market. Nothing we do is off the shelf. Our products are innovations, so we need invaluable innovation partners like RPC.”
Ferguson says he is thankful to the community in Minto and to the many partners that have made operating a successful export business in New Brunswick possible. “ACOA, NRC-IRAP, and ONB have all been important players in our journey. ONB, specifically our rep Barry Pope, has helped us with everything from CapEx projects, to recruitment challenges, to general business mentorship. Without Barry, we would not have met our Production Manager Robert Farrell, who has been an incredible addition to our team.”
Made-in-New Brunswick Innovation
What began as an idea – designing solutions for a niche field that hadn’t seen significant tech innovation in decades – morphed into a varied catalogue of patented innovative products for today’s commercial trap fishing sector.
“By encapsulating steel and rubber in our runners we put the weight on the bottom of a trap, so when you toss your traps, they always land in the fishing position. The Fisheries and Marine Institute compared our runners to similar products in North America, both in terms of efficacy and health and safety – we scored 100%, I’m not sure anyone else did. That’s great validation. We’re proud to say Minto is home to innovative green technology that is both long-lasting and offers the best ballasting solution on the water.”
R.A.P.’s design-registered buoys, meanwhile, are manufactured using non-toxic plastic that is completely recyclable at end-of-life. Ferguson notes the company plans to continue finding innovative solutions for its growing customer base, using environmentally responsible practices every step of the way.
The Future Looks Bright
“I think we’re in a great position in New Brunswick. As we improve the Saint John Harbour as a shipping lane to Europe, we’ll export even more patent-pending products over there,” says Ferguson. “We have a new press coming in, so that could mean growth in headcount and in business. It means continuing to diversify too, with new products and variations on our existing ones. The village of Minto has been so supportive, and the team we have assembled here is a joy to work with. It’s a diverse group, including people from all around the world. This team cares about being good stewards of the water and doing what’s best for the environment. I’m thankful to have a committed team of co-workers. And our team is thankful to our regional, national, and international customers. As they lead us in terms of what they need, we can provide long-term environmental solutions through our knowledge, experience, and technology.”
Learn more at http://raptech.ca/