Gord Lawley Retires!

Gord Lawley Retires!

After putting in over 26 years of dedicated service at Mainland Machinery, Gord Lawley finally decided to retire.

Gord had numerous roles: driver, detail production, sandblasting, painting and he spent the last 12 years operating the burn table.  “Anything large and complex!” was his response to Mainland’s president Paul Hiebert’s question of what he enjoyed working on.  “The Woodward’s Building stands out … 614 intricate sheets of plate burned out on the plasma table.”


As for advice to others starting out in the industry, Gord’s suggestion was, “Work hard.  Always be willing to learn and don’t ever think you know it all – have an open mind.  I am still learning after all these years!”

Mainland was able to celebrate Gord over a lunch-time barbeque where over 60 employees gathered to honor him.  As for plans for his future, “I’m looking forward to getting out and doing lots of outdoor stuff, fishing, gardening, general puttering around!”

We celebrate you Gord!  Thank you for your dedication to Mainland, your hard work, and for being someone that we enjoyed having around!  Enjoy your retirement!


New Maintenance Inspection Program

Maintenance Inspection Program

Mainland Machinery is happy to introduce our new Maintenance Inspection Program.

With over 45 years in Industrial Manufacturing and Maintenance, and knowledgeable staff that are attentive to detail, we are well versed in what is needed to keep facilities operating at their best.

Built with the primary goal of providing our customers an overall assessment of the condition of their facility, we are able to provide insight and suggestions on preventative, corrective, perfective and adaptive maintenance.

Contact us now to schedule your Plant Maintenance Visit at an introductory rate

Equipment Installation Services

With services ranging from Installation to Commissioning and Decommissioning, we are capable of taking on mechanical installations or special installation projects. Our field personnel have a wide range of industry experience and are comfortable working in any environment.

Learn more about our Equipment Installation. Commissioning and Decommissioning services



Mainland Machinery’s Machining Center is fully operational and capable of meeting your heavy plate forming and project needs.

brake press

Our recently opened third facility located in Aldergrove, BC features our new Accurpress Model 7 1500 16 Brake press with ETS3000 Control System.

brake press

Mainland Machinery’s state of the art Accurpress Brake Press is now available for your heavy plate forming needs. We are pleased to announce that we are currently processing orders for its use at introductory rates.

Visit our website for more information and to submit a request form

brake press

Product Capacity

  • 1500 ton
  • 16′ Bed with increased opening of 4″
  • 575 Volt motor
  • Series 7 (rocker arm style)
  • Die Holders
    • 12W-2H-16′
  • Bends 1″ plate

bending resized

Visit our website for more information and to submit a request form


Abbotsford MLA Darryl Plecas Films at Mainland Machinery

Abbotsford MLA Darryl Plecas Films at Mainland Machinery

Yesterday Mainland Machinery was excited to host Abbotsford MLA Darryl Plecas and his crew as they filmed our shop as part of his upcoming Constituency Video. MLA Plecas was first here a few weeks ago, touring and learning about Mainland’s 45 year history in the community and the work that we do. We were honored when Darryl asked that we would be a part of his upcoming Constituency Video. The video will be highlighting various companies and organizations in the area.

As our President, Paul Hiebert said “Really appreciate the effort of Darryl Plecas to highlight companies in his constituency!”

We look forward to seeing the finished product, and will be sure to share it once it is ready. In the meantime, here are a few “behind the scenes” photos from the shoot!

Abbotsford MLA Darryl Plecas Abbotsford MLA Darryl Plecas Abbotsford MLA Darryl Plecas Abbotsford MLA Darryl Plecas Abbotsford MLA Darryl Plecas Abbotsford MLA Darryl Plecas Abbotsford MLA Darryl Plecas Abbotsford MLA Darryl Plecas

Merry Christmas from Mainland Machinery!

A very Merry Christmas from everyone here at Mainland Machinery Ltd!

Merry Christmas from Mainland Machinery












Henry, Paul and Dave Hiebert

Mainland Machinery



Ramada’s Toys for Tots 2015

Toys for Tots 2015

The results and reviews are in for this year’s Ramada’s Toys for Tots Breakfast, and the numbers are awesome!

toys for tots

Mainland was very happy to again be a sponsor at the 3rd annual breakfast which took place last Friday, November 27th.

toys for tots

It was a record turnout with the most donations seen to date! 1300 toys and over $26,000 were donated. What wonderful things can happen when a community comes together!

To read more about the event, check out the Abbotsford Food Bank’s wrap up blog post.

The Abbotsford Food Bank continues to bless the community, and we are excited to be a part of the work being done. Companies can get involved too! Take a look at what is involved in sponsoring a family this Christmas season, or put out a donation bin in your office.

If you are interested in helping, the Christmas Bureau is still taking donations for toys and food items. If you are outside of Abbotsford, reach out to your local food bank and see how you can help!

Wishing you all a joy filled Holiday Season!



Could Deep-Sea Mining Be Canada’s Next Gold Rush?

deep sea miningCould Deep-Sea Mining Be Canada’s Next Gold Rush?

Traditionally, mining has been a prolific source of income for Canada and other countries throughout the world. With land-based deposits becoming increasingly scarce, mining companies have had to seek out other sources that could be mined, including ocean floors. Vastly covering two-thirds of the Earth’s surface, oceans have been largely unexplored until now. However, the ocean floors are known to possess abundant mineral resources.

This is exciting news for the mining industry in Canada. With the longest coastline in the world and access to three different oceans, Canada has great potential for deep-sea mining resources. So much that we need to ask, will deep-sea mining be Canada’s next gold rush?

The Ocean is a Rich Source of Minerals

The ocean floor is covered in aqueous vents, which are geothermal fissures that cut deeply into the earth’s crust. These vents spew minerals from deep inside the Earth into the ocean that settle in rock deposits known as massive seafloor sulfides. 

Massive seafloor sulfides consist of coveted rare earth metals, including copper and platinum. These deposits are of high quality because they are newer than dry-land deposits and have not had a chance to degrade or disperse. Many of the dwindling copper deposits on dry land feature copper with a 0.6 grade, while deep-sea copper deposits have been shown to be as high as 7.2.

Deep-Sea Mining Methods Differ from Traditional Methods

Deep-sea mineral deposits cannot be extracted through traditional mining methods. Many of these deposits are found at depths that make manual extraction impossible. Moreover, because these mineral deposits are located underwater, most established mining methods would not apply.

In order to bring these minerals to the ocean’s surface, mining companies are developing remotely operated robots to do the work for them. These robots are connected to ships floating above the mineral deposits that are used to operate the machines and collect the minerals that are extracted. Much of this technology is still in the early stages of development, but it appears to show promise.

Worries of Possible Environmental Impact

Many critics have warned of the potential environmental impacts of deep-sea mining. Little is known about the complex ecosystems located on the seafloor and scientists worry that deep-sea mining operations could cause irreversible damage.

Proponents of deep-sea mining argue that it could actually be more environmentally friendly than surface mining. Surface mining has had a significant negative impact on the environment by causing polluted waterways, devastated habitats and displaced communities.

Deep-sea mining does not require companies to drill into the Earth’s surface. As a result, it does not produce the same waste that surface mining does and there is less disruption to surrounding ecosystems. Additionally, human communities are not displaced, as the mineral deposits are not located in habitable areas.

What Deep-Sea Mining Means for Canada

Canadian companies are leading the charge in developing deep-sea mining technology. Toronto-based Nautilus Minerals is the first company in the world to be granted a deep-sea mining lease in 2014. This 20-year lease is located 30 kilometers off the coast of Papua New Guinea on a site known as Solwara 1. Nautilus plans to start operations within the next five years.

Though other deep-sea projects are in development in Europe, Nautilus Minerals’ Solwara 1 operation is set to become the first active deep-sea mining site in the world. With Canadian companies on the cutting edge of deep-sea mining, Canada is poised to be a leader in this exciting new industry. 

When Precision Counts, Count on Laser Cutting Technology

laser cutting metalWhen Precision Counts, Count on Laser Cutting Technology

Experienced metal fabricators know that when it comes to projects that require the utmost in precision cutting, there is no cutting corners by using outdated and inefficient equipment. Laser technology has provided the fabrication industry with not only the means to allow for more precise manufacturing, but also a way to make their operations more efficient and less costly.

What is Laser Cutting?

The origin of the word LASER stems from the acronym for “light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation.” Laser cutting is accomplished, true to its name, through a process that stimulates emission. Laser cutters for industrial use are able to cut through flat sheets, piping or structural metals. Cutting is made possible by the laser’s ability to burn, melt or blow away the area to be cut.

Electricity or special lamps used within a closed environment generate the power needed to charge up the material that creates the laser beam. There are three types of laser cutting available to metal fabricators, including:

  • CO2 for boring, cutting and engraving
  • Nd for boring that requires high-energy
  • Nd-YAG for when high power is required

Both the Nd and Nd-YAG lasers are used in the welding process.

Different types of material require different types of laser beams using various methods to allow for cutting. These methods include, but are not limited to:

  • Burning stabilized laser cutting
  • Cold cutting
  • Melt and blow
  • Melt blow and burn
  • Scribing
  • Thermal stress cracking
  • Vaporization

A typical laser cutting setup for a metal fabrication shop includes:

  • A power source to produce a laser beam
  • Positioning table to secure material with clamps, magnets or straps
  • Laser material
  • Stimulation apparatus
  • Mirrors
  • Lens for focusing the laser beam

Pros and Cons of Using Lasers for Cutting

Laser cutting is more precise than mechanical cutting methods because machines can be easily contaminated from the materials that are being cut with them. Additionally, their blades are subjected to continual use that can dull them and cause their cuts to be inconsistent which can often lead to wasted material.

With laser cutting, you can expect:

  • Cleaner cuts without burrs that require additional processing
  • Faster production time
  • Less human error
  • Improved accuracy resulting in waste reduction

However, using laser cutting machinery does have a few drawbacks. It requires more energy than mechanical cutting methods. Because of the heat process involved, the laser process requires a cooling source, where water is commonly used as a coolant for a heat transfer or chiller system.

Advances Continue to Make Cutting Process More Efficient and Cost-Effective

Improved technology continues to develop cutting equipment that will require less laser gas and power to operate while dramatically improving cutting speeds and accuracy. These advancements help to increase production and transform other areas of the business process for metal fabricators who are taking advantage of this technology to greatly improve their bottom line.

Business Risks That Threaten the Mining Industry

mining industryBusiness Risks That Threaten the Mining Industry

No industry is immune to business risks that threaten its members’ ability to continue operating efficiently and cost effectively, while remaining competitive within their market. It is no secret that the mining industry has been especially hard hit with challenges as it has sought to expand during the past decade. Increased regulation, economic instability, price volatility and political unrest throughout the world are just some of the factors behind the following business risks that are threatening the mining industry in 2015.

Risks that Have Remained Consistent for the Mining Industry

As participants in the mining industry sought opportunities for growth at any cost during the past decade, their overall productivity has significantly declined as a result. While some have tried to address this loss with cost-cutting measures, this has continued to increase losses due to productivity. The enormity of this problem calls for solutions that transform how companies are doing their business overall, including:

  • Increasing automation
  • Reassessing their mining methods
  • Updating and reconfiguring their equipment fleet
  • Changing their mine plans

As credit markets tighten, capital allocation and access remain a business risk to both major and junior entrants in the mining industry. While major producers are in the best position for continued growth because of their increased commitment to capital discipline, new or junior entrants to the industry often find their access to capital limited. This inability to raise equity will put many into survival mode or force them to leave the industry entirely. As a result, smaller companies may be forced to:

  • Seek to be acquired by larger companies
  • Consolidate with other small companies to pool their resources
  • Halt exploration, which limits potential business growth
  • Institute lay-offs and operate with minimal staff

Emerging Challenges to Watch for in the Mining Industry

The mining industry’s access to water and energy is essential for many of its operations and projects. Rising energy costs and unreliable power supplies are a growing threat. This threat further increases in countries where these resources are in limited supply, including those with emerging economies. This puts the industry at odds with governments and communities who are struggling to function with these limited resources, in addition to their environmental concerns. In order to deal with this risk, the industry needs to:

  • Become more sustainable by taking advantage of renewable energy sources
  • Switch to more resource-efficient operations that will lessen their environmental impact on communities
  • Develop solutions that will reduce their dependence on water

Of growing importance for those in the mining industry is to maintain their appeal to not just their shareholders, but also all stakeholders in general so that they can maintain a social license to operate (SLTO). Increased environmental awareness can threaten project acceptance by means of protests, violence and sabotage in communities that maintain a high SLTO. This can lead to blocking or significantly delaying projects if this license is lost. Therefore, it is important to ensure that the right controls are in place to promote stakeholder acceptance, including:

  • Acting responsibly by maintaining commitments and acknowledging the community’s concerns
  • Sharing an equitable amount of the benefits obtained from the project with the community
  • Addressing employee concerns concerning wages, safety, imported labor and job security

As with any industry, risks are always to be expected, as it is just the nature of doing business. However, the mining industry can benefit by taking a proactive stance against these risks that threaten its existence, instead of remaining in a consistently reactive state.

Reclaiming Oil Sands

oil sand reclamationReclaiming Oil Sands

Canada’s oil sands have always been controversial. Despite their economic benefits, critics are concerned over the environmental damage the oil sands cause. Alberta’s oil sands are surrounded by pristine wilderness, and development has caused what is considered irreversible damage.

However, a number of Canadian companies are working to return the area to its natural state. With companies such as Syncrude pumping up to $60 million a year into researching land reclamation techniques, Canadian oil field companies are on the cutting edge of oil sands restoration efforts.

The Challenges of Land Reclamation

Alberta’s oil sands are located under an area covered by dense Boreal forest and wetlands. In order to extract the petroleum from the ground, large swaths of forest must be cleared to make way for open pit mines, or steam must be pumped into wells to separate bitumen from the soil. The waste water generated by these processes is stored in highly toxic “tailing ponds,” which account for about 25 per cent of the area disturbed by oil sands development. These ponds are one of the largest problems for environmentalists.

To be certified as reclaimed, any traces of man-made impact must be removed, and the land must be capable of generating native plant and animal life. This makes reclaiming wetlands complex, due to the diverse mix of life contained therein.

Can a Forest Be Rebuilt?

A number of companies operating in the oil sands region are doing their part to ensure that disturbed areas are restored to their native Boreal forest.

Collaboration between industry heavyweights such as Shell Canada, Suncor Energy, Nexen Energy and Husky Energy has resulted in 2.5 million trees and shrubs being planted. The project has replanted about 700 hectares of land disturbed by industrial development.

Replanting these areas rather than allowing them to regrow on their own ensures that the areas are not overtaken by invasive plant species and that animal habitats are not disrupted.

Cutting-edge Techniques

Completely restoring the wetlands disturbed by oil sands development is the greatest challenge of land reclamation. Syncrude’s Sandhill Fen research project, however, is making strides.

The purpose of the project is to create a sustainable wetland environment and share successful techniques with other companies and organizations. This has resulted in a 50 hectare, man-made pollution-free watershed built from tailing sands. Although no animals have been reintroduced to the area – as it is still part of an active mine site – some animals have begun to return on their own.

Other projects, such as Suncor Energy’s Nikatonee Fen, have achieved similar success.

Cleaning up Tailing Ponds

The removal of tailing ponds is another key priority in restoration efforts. The most important development in this aspect of cleanup has been Suncor’s centrifuge plant. The centrifuge returns the water from tailing ponds to its natural state by spinning it rapidly to remove the solid pollutants. The plant became operational in early 2015 and is expected to reduce tailing ponds by 50 per cent.