By George Fullerton
Building on their success as a forestry equipment manufacturer, Technologies Élément PSW Inc. is now undertaking a major manufacturing plant expansion.
Located in Val d’Or, Quebec, Technologies Élément has been building their ELTEC harvester/loader/buncher machines for the past eleven years. Annual production has been around 30 machines per year.
Technologies Élément has been building forest harvesting machines in their 14,000 square foot facility in the Val d’Or industrial park. The expansion will see a new assembly plant, with 35,000 square feet, go into production this year. The new plant is located adjacent to the current plant, which will continue in production as the new plant is completed.
Val d’Or is located in the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region of western Quebec. Val d’Or translates to English as ‘Valley of Gold’, recognizing the significance that gold mining had on the settlement and development of the region. Since the 1930s, mines in the region have produced in the range of 45 million ounces of gold. Mines in the region continue to produce gold, lead, zinc, copper, molybdenum and lithium.
Situated in the boreal forest, the forest industry also makes a very major contribution to the regional and provincial economy. The Abitibi-Témiscamingue region produces 65 per cent of the total lumber production of Quebec.
As a result of the resource extraction industries, the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region has developed major, highly technologically advanced service and support industries to serve the mining and forest industries.
Technologies Élément PSW Inc. is one of those technology companies which grew out of the support industries, to carve a manufacturing niche that sees their highly developed logging equipment sold in six countries around the world.
Patrick Élément started working in his family’s forestry businesses at the age of 16. He launched Eltec as his entrepreneurial contribution to the group of businesses under his management and over the last decade that business has reached its current nexus.
“We are expanding our production capabilities to meet the overwhelming demand from our customers and customers in waiting,” says Patrick. “We’re in a transition phase currently. We need to shift from hand-built to assembly line production line methods. As with most things, production potential is influenced by more than one factor, size being a main factor.
“With the expansion, we will have sub-assemblies directly on our production line to increase our operational efficiency,” Patrick added. “This will save us a significant amount of time.
“The manufacturing plant location remains the same, but we’re more than doubling our factory floor square footage with the expansion. We’ll still have room to grow again in the future as well, but we’re focused on the phase we’re in for now.”
Technologies Élément currently employs 43 factory and office employees. That number will increase noticeably in the next twelve months as the new manufacturing facility comes on line.
The ELTEC family of forestry machines was born out of the DIRECT harvester which was developed in Quebec and originally manufactured in Quebec City. The DIRECT design was bought by Volvo and manufacturing was moved to Korea.
When Volvo underwent restructuring following the 2008 financial crisis, they decided to drastically downsize their forestry equipment manufacturing and the tracked harvester was discontinued. The rights to the design became available and once again found a home in Quebec, with Technologies Élément.
Technologies Élément was founded by the Élément family in 2011, joining an established group of businesses operated by the enterprising family.
In 1965, Donat Élément moved his family from Clova, Quebec to Val d’Or, and established Donat Élément et Fils, focussing on forest harvesting and building roads for the mining and forestry industries.
Donat expanded his businesses to servicing and repairing heavy equipment and established Equipments Élément, a dealership for Tree Farmer forestry equipment. Equipment Élément continues to be a major forestry equipment dealership in the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region, representing several lines of forestry equipment.
In 1980, Donat’s son, Jacques, created Abbatteurs Jacques Élément and established the business as one of the major road building and forestry harvesting businesses in the region.
In 1988, Jacques acquired Hydraulic Val d’Or which provides hydraulic service to Élément companies, in addition to the forestry and mining industries. In 1991, Jacques established the Foresco machine shop, which focuses on process machine fabrication and repair.
Les Abbatteurs Jacques Élément, Hydraulic Val d’Or, Foresco and Technologies Élément form the divisions of Group Élément.
Both Hydraulic Val d’Or and Foresco are key product and service suppliers to Technologies Élément and the ELTEC brand.
“Foresco and Hydraulic Val d’Or are integral partners to our supply chain management,” said Patrick.
ELTEC previously offered four models in harvester and feller bunchers, the 220, 270, 310 and 410 (A series) models. The A series features Tier 3 engines. In addition to harvester and buncher models of the 310, it is also the base for the 317 log loader.
The B-Series of the models was introduced in early 2021, and in addition to Stage 5 Engines, the electrical and control system has been redesigned.
Other updated features include (ten degree) increased forward angle visibility.
“The B series also includes new boom configurations, a redesigned platform optimized for the new component set-up, a new Linde block valve bank and our proprietary FRS (Fluid Recovery System) which is exclusive to our B series,” explained Patrick.
“We are now using the new Linde hydraulic control valve, which allows us to reduce the number of components for a much cleaner and more compact assembly. The anti-stall system has been replaced by a new load control system.”
ELTEC machines are currently manufactured with the Danfoss computer control system, with the internal programming of the system done by ELTEC technicians.
Technologies Élément builds their own track frames entirely, and the machines utilize Cummins engines.
All ELTEC models are offered with a leveling option, except for the LL317 loader. Patrick pointed out that for the loader application, it is important to have long tracks for machine balance, to maintain maximum stability during forestry operations.
ELTEC has been supplying machines to British Columbia operations since 2017 in buncher, harvester and shovel logger models.
“All our shovel loggers are currently built on a 270 model, but we have the possibility of offering it in a 310 model as well,” says Patrick. “To date, all of our shovel loggers that we have sold are on a tilt platform.”
Dealer and customer support is fundamental to the ELTEC business philosophy.
“We travel to our dealers to provide the necessary training to meet the needs of our customers. We also offer assistance during the delivery of our machines to our customers,” explained Patrick. “We have dedicated people to take care of customer and dealer support. Industry-wise, we distinguish ourselves from competitors with our rapid response.”
In addition to dealers in Quebec, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia, ELTEC also has dealers in the United States, New Zealand, Chile, New Zealand, South Africa and France.
Eltec continues to develop and test new technologies to help improve operator experience and respond to market demands, so customers can expect new developments from the company as it grows both its production capacity and evolves their products at the same time, says Patrick. In many ways they are one of Canada’s best kept secrets in terms of manufacturing
success stories, he added.
On the Cover:
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