12.06.2017

Fuller Industrial Expanding in 2018 Legacy Series

Hugh Kruzel

Jeff Fuller – Industrial Solutions for Today and Tomorrow

Fuller Industrial expands and delivers new opportunities in pipeline safety

It has been exciting times for Jeff Fuller. This fall he was so often in transit; I finally tracked him down at the Maple Leaf Lounge at Pearson International Airport between another business flight to Alberta. He was eager to share the results of much planning, intentional and strategic moves.

Is success – not just in business – a matter of right place, right time? This sounds so passive and relies on chance or good fortune; as if one just plucked a star from the sky. Or is it making it happen – having that drive – that determines the goal and the size of the win? Need I really ask the question?

At the Northern Ontario Business Awards (NOBA) 2017 in Timmins. From Left to Right: Mayor of Timmins Steve Black, Jeff Fuller, recipient Entrepreneur of the Year 2013, and from the City of Greater Sudbury, His Worship Brian Bigger.

“The most amazing thing was September 29th when we purchased our peer, ACR in Edmonton. It makes us coast to coast. They have a 40-year heritage… a proven track record in western Canada and beyond. ACR Fuller is now – in total – the biggest rubber liner in North America.”

Fuller Industrial, established in 2004, manufactures carbon steel pipe, coatings and linings for pipe and tank systems. ACR and Fuller are a logical match.

I suggested we call it a vaccination against any blips in any one business sector. Fuller instead names it a “stabilizer” that insulates against any downturns, and can respond rapidly to upswings. “Where Fuller is more project based, ACR is more into providing ongoing wear parts and maintenance.”

ACR fabricates custom solutions and cast polyurethane products to meet specifications for impact and corrosion resistance, durability, and longevity of systems that incorporate steel, ceramic or other components. “ACR is very much a diversified company. It has sales and service in mining, oil and gas, forestry/wood processing, marine, heavy vehicle and transportation. Fuller is a “piping ninja” with 14 years of expertise.” Fuller’s two word descriptor offers an insight into a business idea that followed his tenure at the rubber and urethane molding company started by his Dad. Bill Fuller founded Abraflex Ltd in 1980. Naturally, his father is enthusiastic about this acquisition too.

Fuller Industrial motto: “Fuller will lead the way to the future of delivering and maintaining process piping systems and corrosion and abrasion control. We will be the partner of choice for our customers, employees, suppliers and communities.”

Combined the staff has increased to 150: 60 in Sudbury and 90 in Edmonton. Now get ready for the next leap: leak prevention. “It is one thing to build piping, assemble it in systems, but can you be predictive and avoid spills? I really see the value in this, and so does the oil and gas industry; the oilsands projects love this.”

“What you don’t see is the abrasion inside a pipeline. Not unless it fails, or you shut-down and take it apart, or replace, and those are expensive problems and solutions,” continues Fuller. In development for more than 3 years, the leak detection unit monitors a circuit to alert when the liner is breached; but the pipe will still be whole. “No false positives, we all want to catch a potential problem before a leak actually happens.” The housing, hardware and software, were all locally built by the NORCAT resident company AdvanceWorx Inc. and associates.“

“One [monitor] on each individual piece of pipe. That’s a massive number when considering all the thousands of miles of pipelines” – Michael Dolinar, CEO & Chief Computer Scientist, at AdvanceWorx

Photo courtesy of Michael Dolinar, AdvanceWorx Don’t have X-Ray vison? Early warning is essential in preventing leaks and spills in any industry. This detection unit was developed and built for Fuller by AdvanceWorx at NORCAT. Without disassembling a line these monitors gives assessors confidence on the state of health inside the pipe. It warns of a potential leak before it happens. The unit, installed on the exterior of the pipe, is designed to perform reliably across a wide weather regime.

 

Changing specs from steel liners to rubber liners has been the crucial piece in the move forward. Fuller states: “…we were ready for this change. Our Continuous Leak Prevention and Detection System, uses technology in tandem with our established and proven processes.” Should fluid makes the connection anywhere with steel, the circuit closes and a signal is sent. “It protects people and the environment,” Fuller said. “Leaks are expensive. It would pay for itself the first time it went off.”

“It is one thing to build piping, assemble it in systems, but can you be predictive and avoid spills? I really see the value in this, and so does the oil and gas industry…” Jeff Fuller

Jeff Fuller and Sudbury staff celebrate another project ready for shipment. Nearly 90% of output from the Sudbury operations is for export. Photo courtesy of Fuller Industrial

“This shows our innovative approach to the industry,” said Fuller. “This detection system is at the forefront. We wanted to improve our product and we did. It will make a difference across the industry.” NOHFC, Nickel Basin and others have been essential in achieving the next steps. Fuller attributes having

a local supportive network of funders, developers and testing facilities as key elements in moving this enhancement forward.

Fuller, a graduate of the Commerce program at Laurentian is now 50. He knows how to run a thriving international business. This one is now even a stronger leader in more ways than two.

Jeff Fuller’s final words as we both head off to board planes: “We didn’t do this to maintain the status quo. We aim to grow here and also through export.”