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Readiness and ingenuity combine to meet complex customer requests for this Bowmanville-based mixed materials manufacturer

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Recent technological advancements have helped to make great strides in fighting climate change, both in ways that are obvious to the average consumer and through incredible innovations behind the scenes. A perfect example of the latter is Evercloak: an advanced material manufacturer based in Waterloo, Ontario.

Founded in 1987, advanced materials industry leader Canada Rubber Group (CRG) has always called Durham Region home, with their facilities located first in Oshawa and now in Bowmanville. With 30 years of materials experience to draw on and a workforce of more than 60 people, CRG is 100 percent Canadian-owned and operated, but the company serves customers from around the globe. These are notable stats on their own, but what this company does makes it all the more impressive.

In a nutshell, CRG “transforms materials and ideas into products that help shape the world,” says Angelo Lyall, Vice President of Business Development. “As a mixed manufacturer, we make products that meet a customer’s designed specs,” says Lyall. “So they’ll tell us they need a component, and we determine how to make that product, and out of what material.” You would find CRG products in cars, in equipment in the agriculture sector, in delivery systems for water and electricity. As Lyall says, “What we make tends not to be front and centre, they tend to be hidden in our lives, but they are extremely important.”

It takes a lot of work to be on top of the materials game. “We aggregate materials from around the world,” says Lyall. “We bring the materials here and inventory them, and then customers will come to us with their application needs and we’ll work with them to find the materials solution.” That means the company always has to anticipate what might get thrown at them. The answer is to have a wide variety of in-house materials and production technologies and expertise, as well as extremely strong supply chain management in terms of knowing what materials needs might be on the horizon for different sectors.

“We bring the materials here and inventory them, and then customers will come to us with their application needs and we’ll work with them to find the materials solution.”

With this in mind, it’s easy to understand why CRG has to have a foundation of innovation. “We’re doing three things when we take on a project. Firstly, we’re creating solutions with customers to give them the performance they’re looking for, so we’re constantly finding the right combination of design, materials, and production methods,” says Lyall. Secondly, CRG is consistently working to improve its manufacturing methods and processes, in order to stay competitive and keep their business. “There has to be a lot of innovation in terms of how to do things efficiently, and how to accommodate change, so our production system has to be flexible and agile,” says Lyall. Thirdly, CRG prioritizes the customer experience and is constantly looking for ways to innovate and deliver what the customer needs. “A lot of companies are going through digital transformation, for example, and we’re seeing more online buyers, so we see value and opportunity in that,” says Lyall.

Canada Rubber Group’s ability to adapt became apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic, too. The company sought out partners and began manufacturing face shields, ear protectors and other parts for PPE. “This is a great example of our innovation,” says Lyall. “We used materials, relationships, and production capabilities we already had, but we had just never combined them that way before.” Bottom line: Preparedness pays off.

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