BASE Engineering and Graymont recognized for health and safety leadership
October 9, 2015
WorkSafeNB honoured BASE Engineering Inc. and Graymont (NB) Inc. today for their outstanding achievements in workplace health and safety.
BASE Engineering, which specializes in radio remote-control technology in Saint John, and Graymont, a leading supplier of lime and limestone products in Havelock, were recognized during WorkSafeNB’s 2015 Health and Safety Conference in Fredericton.
“These two companies demonstrate exemplary commitment to employee health and safety,” said Gerard Adams, WorkSafeNB’s president and CEO. “We’re pleased to honour them among their peers today.”
BASE Engineering Inc. produces systems that allow workers to distance themselves from potentially hazardous environments in the petrochemical, aviation, military and construction industries. Safety is not only the focus of BASE’s products, it’s also embedded in its culture.
Employees are encouraged to discuss safety daily.
“It’s an open conversation,” said Stephen Belyea, president of BASE Engineering Inc. “We’re in the safety business and this begins at the hiring interview. Our products save lives and our staff members are highly trained to deliver on our safety promise. This includes our day-to-day activity at the factory.”
Graymont (NB) Inc. operates five processing plants and a quarry with a staff of 40. Extracting limestone is hard work, and often involves explosives and heavy equipment. Despite this, it’s been more than a decade since the company has had a lost-time workplace accident.
Dave Holmes, Graymont’s production supervisor, attributes this to its culture. Workers are involved in all workplace decisions, from human resources to safety, and every employee starts the day with warm-up stretches.
“It’s about ownership,” said Holmes. “Everyone here is considered a safety professional. They are the leaders and drivers of safety. Management is just here to back them up.”
WorkSafeNB has been hosting its annual Health and Safety Conference for 35 years. More than 550 people attended this year’s event.
What exactly IS propane? How do radio remote controls keep us safe?
What is Propane?
Propane is a naturally occurring gas that develops in the earth, specifically through the decomposition of organic matter over long periods of time. It’s found in a liquid called petroleum, where it’s extracted along with along with butane, ethane and numerous other compounds. It is a non-toxic member of the LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) family, which are known for their ability to convert to liquid with a little bit of atmospheric pressure. Propane is used for seemingly endless applications including engine fuel, appliances and home heating. Chances are you use propane much more often than you think you do!
How do we get it? A brief overview.
Propane can be extracted from the petroleum liquid mixture in 2 ways – through natural gas processing where it’s mined from fossils and ancient organic matter in the earth, and through petroleum refining.
The refining process begins with drilling. The liquid is piped out of the ground and goes into a separation chamber where the crude oil separates from the other “wet” gases; the crude oil sinks to the bottom, making the other liquefied gases easier to access. The “wet” gases (natural gas and LPGs) are then sent to a gasoline absorption plant where the natural gas and LPGs are removed, leaving about 90% dry methane gas for the gas utility companies’ use. We won’t worry about that bit for this article.
The natural gas and LPG mixture is sent to a still where the hydrocarbons are boiled off, separating the natural liquid gas (sinks to the bottom) from the LPGs (only about 10% on the top). The LPG mixture is then separated one last time into 3 parts – butane, isobutane, and propane.
Storage & Delivery
In North America, propane is pumped down and stored in liquid form in massive salt caverns (Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta; Mont Belvieu, Texas and Conway, Kansas). These caverns are the perfect storehouse for propane/liquid gases as no air or liquid can escape through the surrounding rock salt. From these storage facilities, it is withdrawn and shipped in liquid form by pipelines, truck, ship, barge and railway to the areas where it’s needed.
Where BASE Comes In
Propane, while extremely useful for everyday life, can also be quite dangerous. It is extremely flammable, and if it escapes the holding tank (thereby turning from liquid to gas) the potential disaster zone increases exponentially. In response to this fact and unfortunate past explosions, the DOT passed a law requiring every LPG delivery truck and driver have access to a wireless remote control Emergency Shutdown device. In the event of an emergency, the driver could run away from the truck while using the handheld to shut everything down and prevent a sizeable explosion.
BASE Engineering not only designs and manufactures these radio remote controls, but we’re also one of the only companies producing ATEX rated wireless controls – to the non-industry folk, that means they’re wireless controls for explosive environments. More details about that here.(link)
But why stop there? If we could shut the truck down, what else could we do? The process started with customers requesting things like Wireless Hose Reel control, Wireless PTO control, and a Query/timed safety feature and has evolved into over 50 options. We’re able to control, and even automate with the use of an on board computer, most aspects of the fuel delivery process.
Our remote controls for fuel trucks increase fuel delivery efficiency, and most importantly safety. By keeping the delivery trucks and drivers safe, we keep your families safe too.
So, it’s dangerous?
Surprisingly enough, propane is very safe and environmentally friendly once you omit the fire hazard. It’s clean burning and is even categorized as an approved clean fuel by the US Government.
Assuming it’s handled properly and at the correct temperatures, propane is not considered a greenhouse gas, is not damaging to underwater plants or marine life should a spill occur, and the vapor isn’t harmful if accidentally inhaled by animals or people. Environmentally, it’s actually one of the best and safest fuels around.
I Barely Use It
Propane isn’t going anywhere, and I guarantee it’s more prevalent in your life than you realize. This great video from the Canadian Propane Association outlines some of the uses and benefits I’ve talked about (albeit in a much more interesting way!).
Learn, and embrace the possibilities of propane!
Learn more from Industry Associations
BASE Engineering is a proud member of various propane industry organizations, some of which are listed below. These are great resources if you’d like to learn more about propane or the industry itself.
Learn about Wireless Remote Controls and Build a Case for Truck Automation
After hosting an extremely successful education session on wireless remote controls at the 2015 NPGA Southeastern Convention, “What to Expect when Implementing Truck Automation”, BASE has been selected to host another session at next year’s conference in Nashville!
Our 2016 education session, “Planning for Success with your Fleet: A Business Case for Automated Truck Control”, will walk both seasoned and new-to-the-industry audience members through the process of adding automation features to a vehicle or piece of equipment. Real life examples, hard data and the chance to interact with industry experts in a panel setting will ensure that the audience is engaged and having fun while learning valuable industry information.
Automation and wireless, advanced controls are vital to increasing truck performance and safety. As the industry moves forward, truck building practices must join it. Implementing truck automation is the first step for safer, more efficient, smarter trucks.
Join the change and improve your business – let the BASE team show you how.
After BASE’s Export Awards win in the summer of 2014, Heather MacLean of Opportunities NB (ONB) sat down with Steve Belyea, CEO of BASE Engineering, to discuss his success story and his company of radio remote controls.
Another Innovative New Brunswick Success: BASE Engineering
BASE Engineering is a market leader in radio remote control technology having now deployed more than 75,000 systems worldwide. With clients located in nearly every corner of the globe, BASE chose the most strategic location they could to build its world class facilities. They chose Saint John, New Brunswick.
Opportunities NB (ONB) wanted to learn more about this New Brunswick success story, so we spoke to Steve Belyea, President and CEO.
Belyea:It was great to be recognized for our export work. We decided on day one to ignore any and all borders where possible, and promote our technology around the world. Our efforts in the United States have paid huge dividends and we are the market leader in our space. I think the export award is reinforcement for our staff that we are doing a world class job – I am very proud of them.
ONB: BASE Engineering focuses on the petroleum industry, specifically developing radio remote control technology. Can you go into that technology a bit more for us?
Belyea:Nearly twentyyears ago we saw an opportunity to apply electronic technology in areas of the petroleum industry that were previously very manual or mechanical. We developed safety controls that would allow faster response to hazardous emergencies and allow the operators to respond to leaks and fires from a safe distance by remote controlling the petroleum tank and pipe valves and pumps. This initial product has grown into an entire catalog of remote control solutions for the gas and oil industry that now includes tanker trucks, fuel storage facilities, offshore and land based oil rigs, aircraft refueling, and ship refueling. We’ve also just installed a system at Virgin Galactic’s new Space Port America in New Mexico.
ONB: What countries are you currently exporting to?
Belyea:Primarily the US but we also have excellent distribution in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Turkey, Poland, Spain, Czech Republic, Israel, Chile, Brazil, Panama, Mexico and several other countries.
ONB: What country do you export most to?
Belyea:The United States due to its proximity, market size, and cultural similarities.
ONB: Your company could be located almost anywhere. Why did you choose New Brunswick? What is it about New Brunswick that has helped your company become so successful?
Belyea:We were born and raised here – my family has been here for 250 years – this is home. Our way of life outweighs the travel and winter challenges. Also, I think our people are genuine and have a great work ethic – I truly believe that we have the best people we could find anywhere on the planet.
ONB: Do you partner with any other New Brunswick companies to deliver your products?
Belyea:In terms of the supply chain, yes. We partner with as many local and regional companies as possible to secure our inventory and service needs. These relationships go back to our beginnings when we were a high risk and we haven’t forgotten the value these relationships add to our business.
ONB: Would you say there is a cluster of great companies that support the petroleum industry in New Brunswick?
Belyea:I think that cluster is developing right now, certainly. Traditionally, there have been few players in this space within the province but with recent natural gas, pipeline, and exploration initiatives, we are seeing increased momentum and opportunity.
The ProControl 2boasts up to 9 channels of customizable controls, remote meter display and RFID reader capability. This handheld is used primarily in the petrochemical industry for fleet refueling and home delivery trucks where pump and volume control is critical.
With a range of approximately 1000 feet, the ProControl 2 increases safety and reduces spill risk, ensuring more efficient operations for your company. The ProControl 2 can also be paired with the BASEstation for the ultimate fuel delivery system.
At this year’s NPGA Southeastern Convention, BASE’s own Jason LeVine, Director of Sales – Truck Automation, delivered a dynamic educational presentation: “What to Expect When Implementing Truck Automation”. Download the presentation here: NPGA 2015 BASE Presentation.
The latest issue of Butane Propane News focuses on the NPGA convention and the workshop where Jason presented!
Follow the link to check the e-version, or simply read below for the BASE section.
Jason Levine, director of sales, truck automation, for BASE Engineering (Saint John, N.B.), conducted an additional session in the Propane Delivery Automation Workshop titled, “What to Expect When Implementing Truck Automation.” The presentation focused on the project management involved with executing a truck automation system. Marketers buying an automation system should look at it as a project, not just a purchase, Levine noted. For many propane bobtail products such as valves and meters, the marketer can bolt the system on and walk away. He might not have to collaborate with anyone until something goes wrong. But executing products such as billing systems, inventory management systems, or fleet tracking systems involves dealing with more moving parts than a marketer can imagine.
“The idea is, this has to be managed like a project,” Levine said. “Like a civil engineering project, if you were to re-engineer the Hoover Dam, you wouldn’t say, ‘Build me a dam tomorrow.’ You want to have clear expectations, [and] understand what the scope of the project is. Even if you don’t believe it’s your responsibility, it’s good you’re educated on how and what to do. That will help the project move forward much smoother.”
Whether a marketer is switching to a new automation system or going to automation for the first time, it involves stress because you are in a sense changing the way you run your business. You’re changing the way the drivers interact with something in the vehicle, and you’re changing the way the accounting team interacts with a new piece of software in the office.
“This has historically been painful, and it’s better to be prepared for what to expect than to let that creep up on you. By the time the next November or even October arrives, you start getting ramped up for the next peak season, and you realize, ‘I waited too long to put the system on, and I’m still struggling,’” Levine noted. Planning should take place from contemplation to realization, answering questions such as who will install the product and how the truck builders are involved.
“If you have a road map laid out for you, you will feel more comfortable in all the discussions you have with the various vendors so you are not in the dark about ‘What are they talking about?’ ‘Why the delay?’ ‘Why are the lead times so long?’ These are all things you want to be aware of before you make the initial call to start discussing truck automation.”
Marketers should also identify a “champion” at their company to oversee the process. “The champion is the one who believes that without this solution, the project will not succeed, and at all costs will be the one that helps push through all the political issues both internally and externally.” In a small company, the owner might be the champion who makes sure the accounting team, the drivers, and IT staff have bought into the project. “Without a champion, I guarantee the project will not succeed, because when something needs to happen, you won’t have that one person who will drive meetings to completion [and] make sure everyone’s schedules are coordinated with the start-up.”
May 28, 2015 – Saint John, Canada:BASE Engineering Inc. – the world leader in radio remote control technology for the LPG and Refined Fuel transport industries – has signed a master distributor agreement with EGSA Mexico, an LPG equipment distribution company based in Celaya, Mexico.
EGSA’s Luis A. Cervantes, CEO, and Miguel González, BDM, are the main architects around the exclusive agreement. EGSA sales and technical staff underwent thorough BASE product training throughout the winter and they are now stocking product, ready to sell.
“After visiting with EGSA at the World LP Gas Forum in Miami last September, it was very evident that EGSA is the leading supplier of LPG products for Mexico and Central America”, said John O’Connell, Director of Business Development for BASE.
EGSA will focus their distribution efforts on BASE‘s customizable Radio Remote Controls and Emergency Stop shut-down products for the transport and bulk terminal industries. These products increase job safety and productivity, and are built to DOT specs with ATEX/IECEx certification, making them the perfect wireless controls for hazardous locations.
“We’ve been selling internationally for many years, and our strategic approach is to continue to grow this business using Master Distributors across the globe. EGSA Mexico is a very important step in that direction”, said BASE President Steve Belyea. “Although we’ve done business with EGSA before, our recent visits have confirmed that EGSA is a dedicated distributor and have great market knowledge to share based around both safety and support”.
NB Exporter of the Year Award goes to BASE Engineering!
The 2014 New Brunswick Export Awards took place June 9 in Saint John, NB. Six provincial awards were given to local companies for outstanding export performance in the international marketplace. BASE Engineering was honoured to accept the most coveted award of all – New Brunswick Exporter of the Year 2014!