Doing Business in Canada – A Chinese Perspective

Andrew and Andrew Elasto Proxy


Photo: Andrew Yang and Andrew Beaulieu (Megan Beaulieu’s husband) out in downtown Montreal.

Andrew Yang
Sales Representative for Elasto Proxy

Does your manufacturing company do business globally? Do you enjoy international travel? Much has been written about doing business in China, and what Westerners need to know to succeed there. There are also valuable insights about doing business in Brazil, another key part of the world economy. For the Chinese traveler to North America, there are also important lessons to learn and experiences to share.

As a sales representative for Elasto Proxy, it’s my job to represent the company’s interests in China and to help discover business opportunities there. That’s why I attended CRTS China 2013 along with Doug and Donna Sharpe, co-owners and co-founders of Elasto Proxy. Based in Boisbriand, Quebec, Canada, this global company custom fabricates high-quality, low-volume rubber products for many industries.

From the Suburbs of Montreal to Shanghai

Before visiting CRTS China 2013, I traveled to Elasto Proxy headquarters to learn more about our sealing solutions and the highly-skilled people who provide them. Custom fabrication is often a manual process, and it takes teamwork and craftsmanship to produce rubber parts to exacting specifications. Canadians are a hard-working people, I observed, and very easy to communicate and work with.

At Elasto Proxy, employees are the driving force behind the company’s continued success. Doug and Donna Sharpe treat the entire team as family, and encourage open and honest communications. Each morning, members of the various departments greet each other warmly. This united atmosphere fosters a can-do spirit and encourages loyalty to both company and community.

Quality Control and Attention to Detail

As an ISO-certified company, Elasto Proxy adheres to strict quality controls and written standards. There are policies, procedures, and workflows for almost every aspect of our business – from welcoming a new employee to headquarters to operating the water jet cutting machine. Before production tasks move to the next stage, employees must request and receive sign-off from team leaders.

How well do these rules, regulations, and responsibilities work? While at Elasto Proxy headquarters, I saw for myself how they promote efficiency, ensure accountability, and safeguard quality. If any part of the production process fails to meet our standards, we know right away and can identify and correct even the smallest sealing challenges.

First Impressions, Food, and Fun

This commitment to detail extends to the production facility itself, which is painted white and always looks very clean. Although I’d expected to find a rubber shop with plenty of dust, there weren’t even any dark spots on the floor. I could have eaten the beans that I dropped there, but I recommend trying a Cherry Coke and smoked meat sandwich instead. These Canadian delicacies are some of my favorites!

Chinese cuisine in Montreal is also worth trying. With their distinctive Canadian taste, familiar dishes become truly unique. Dining in Canada is different, too. Before discussing business in China, partners may hold a banquet to establish or deepen their personal relationship. Canadians are a friendly people, of course, but North Americans often emphasize business first or in tandem with relationship-building.

During my time in Canada, I ate at many different restaurants and enjoyed visiting the Notre Dame Basilica, Laval, downtown Montreal, Old Port, and Saint-Sauveur. With its grand Gothic architecture, Notre Dame impressed the most. The lights surrounding this historic cathedral project images of statues onto nearby buildings for a stunning visual effect. It’s no wonder Celine Dion held her wedding there!

Tour Guides Extraordinaire

Many thanks to Megan Beaulieu, Paulo Arruda, and Clyde Sharpe for taking time out after work to show me around Montreal. I hope all of the Elasto Proxy team will visit China someday, where I’ll be happy to serve as your tour guide. Each country has different customs, of course, but global enterprises like Elasto Proxy are helping to expand business opportunities and promote international understanding.

Growing Global – Doing Business in China


Doug Sharpe
President of Elasto Proxy

Flight map

Twenty years ago, I helped start a small manufacturing company while the world was in turmoil. First the Berlin Wall fell. Then the North American Trade Agreement (NAFTA) revolutionized the rubber and plastics industry, causing waves of consolidations. Medium-sized fabricators dropped smaller customers. Larger companies streamlined operations. Yet the need for smaller, specialized shops remained.

SMEs and the CCBC

The small business that Donna Sharpe and I started, Elasto Proxy, helped fill this void. By designing and custom-fabricating low-volume rubber and plastic components, our Quebec company found partners in a wide variety of industries. After expanding operations to Ontario, Elasto Proxy opened a facility in the United States. Today, we have a sales office in China and opportunities in Brazil.

As a member of the Canada China Business Council (CCBC), Elasto Proxy has benefitted from this private, non-profit group’s efforts to encourage Sino-Canadian relations and ensure member success. With its connections to China’s most senior government and business leaders, the CCBC helps both large, blue-chip companies and small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) like Elasto Proxy discover opportunities.

ERAI and Shanghai

Building a business in China takes time, effort, and proper planning. Today, Elasto Proxy is preparing to grow again by starting an import/export business and opening a warehouse there. Recently, we formed a new partnership with enterprise rhone-alpes international (ERAI). Headquarted in Lyon, France, ERAI helps companies like ours to boost international exports in booming markets such as China and Brazil.

Recently, Donna Sharpe and I visited the ERAI office in Shanghai, China along with Andrew Yang, our in-country sales representative. Elasto Proxy’s visit to CRTS China 2013 was productive, but Donna and I wanted to visit our new business partner, too. ERAI’s Shanghai office is in an excellent location (one of the buildings used in Shanghai Expo 2010) with plenty of space to meet customers.

Planning, Siting, and Logistics

Although Shanghai offers numerous economic benefits, Elasto Proxy may locate its China warehouse in one of that nation’s secondary cities. As China continues to grow, these hubs of 5 to 8 million people will experience significant growth, especially in building and construction. In addition to finding the right location logistically, Elasto Proxy is also seeking to partner with a government development agency.

Planning, siting, are logistics are important, but it’s committed business relationships that have helped our company to enjoy nearly 25 years of business success. In addition to working with ERAI, Elasto Proxy will partner with Expansion Quebec, an organization that helps companies like ours to increase exports and grow internationally.

Remembering Our Roots

As Elasto Proxy continues its global growth, Donna Sharpe and I remember our roots. Through the years, we’ve received admirable support from the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal, another excellent business organization. Along with Quebec International, the Board of Trade is now helping Elasto Proxy to discover opportunities in Brazil through the SME Passport program.

How can we help you? Do you need help with selecting seals, or information about potential sealing solutions? Would you like to learn more about Elasto Proxy’s experience of growing global? Please comment on this blog entry, or connect with me on LinkedIn to discuss doing business in China. Hope to hear from you soon!

Elasto Proxy Prepares for Défi Deux-Montagnes | Healthy Lifestyles Blog

Elasto Proxy employees are preparing for the Défi Deux-Montagnes (Two-Mountains Challenge), a June 9th event that lets participants run or walk a distance of their choice. It’s all part of our Boisbriand, Quebec company’s goal of promoting healthy lifestyles for our employees. This healthy lifestyles blog is one in an ongoing series.

Now in its sixth year, the Two-Mountains Challenge is a local footrace in Ville de Deux-Montagnes that features courses ranging from 1km and 2km sprints, to the more challenging 5km and 10km distances. The goal of this fun-filled event is to encourage people of all ages to be more physically active so that they may experience more fulfilling lives.

The poster below provides additional details. Come join us for this fun event and cheer on Elasto Proxy! Click here for directions to the race.

Défi Deux-Montagnes
Défi Deux-Montagnes

About Elasto Proxy

Elasto Proxy designs and custom fabricates specialty seals, thermal and acoustic insulation, vibration dampening products and materials, EMI shielding, and other high-quality rubber and plastic parts. By listening to all of your requirements and analyzing all of your needs, Elasto Proxy’s solutions providers can recommend solutions that are right for your application. How can we help you?

Head Injuries, Hockey Helmets, and ASTM Standards

Clyde Sharpe
President of International Sales for Elasto Proxy

Lars Eller InjuredImage source:

Playoff hockey challenges you physically, mentally, and emotionally. This year’s strike-shortened season is no exception. Just ask any of the players on the 16 National Hockey League (NHL) teams that entered the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. After playing 48 hard-hitting games in just 98 days, these skaters and stick-handlers don’t want to rest tired legs or nurse injuries. They want to raise the Cup!

Concussions and Hockey Head Injuries

Then there’s Lars Eller, the Danish-born center for the Montreal Canadiens. After sustaining an illegal hit from Ottawa Senators defenseman Eric Gryba, Eller collapsed on the ice. Along with a concussion and loss of consciousness, the Canadiens star suffered facial and dental fractures. Eller recently skated again at Montreal’s practice facility, a simple act that delighted hockey fans who expect championships.

Hockey can be dangerous sport. Head injuries aren’t new, but attitudes are changing and reporting is improving. During the late 1990s, Philadelphia Flyers captain Eric Lindros was criticized for sitting out games after sustaining concussions. By 2011, no one wanted to rush Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby back onto the ice.  So was Crosby’s concussion a game-changer for hockey head trauma?

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) and Hockey Headgear

The NHL has tightened rules about hits to the head, but Lars Eller’s concussion is just the latest injury in a pro sport where some players start fights by trying to rip the hockey helmet from an opponent’s head. Today, youth hockey players are also at risk of traumatic brain injury (TBI). According to a recent study by St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, 43% of all TBIs among Canadian children involve ice hockey.

Could better hockey protective gear prevent head injuries and protect players from health problems such as migraines, memory loss, and depression? How can the NHL preserve the excitement of playoff hockey while ensuring that hockey players don’t face their post-career years with physical, mental, and emotional challenges? How well are hockey helmets designed, manufactured, and tested today?

ASTM Standards and Hockey Helmets

ASTM is a standards organization that’s better known for industry specifications such as ASTM D2000, which provides buyers and suppliers with a standard way to describe rubber. Yet ASTM also publishes ASTM F1045, a performance specification for ice hockey helmets. This standard establishes minimum areas of the head that a hockey helmet must cover, and defines the number and size of openings.

ASTM evaluates helmet performance by testing the chinstrap for elongation and strength, and by testing the helmet liner for impact absorption. All tests involve attaching a helmet to a head form that simulates a different size of the human head. By placing the helmet on a head form and applying a load, the test simulates the chin bone structure and tests the retention system.

ASTM also evaluates the strength and elongation properties of the helmet strap. To test hockey head gear for impact absorption, helmet and head form are dropped onto a hard, flat surface. Instruments are then used to measure the force that’s transmitted from the helmet to the head form. Since hockey is played at different indoor and outdoor conditions, these tests are performed at various temperatures.

Concussions and Conclusions

Are the NHL’s standards for hockey helmets adequate for today’s bigger, faster, stronger players and hard hitting games? Should the league work more closely with standards organizations  such as ASTM to ensure that players are better protected from concussions and traumatic brain injuries (TBI)? Before any NHL team hoists the next Stanley Cup, I hope that all players will receive this consideration.

Rubber Bumpers for Shock Absorption and Traction

Rubber Bumpers
Rubber Bumpers

Rubber bumpers are solid rubber profiles that provide shock absorption and traction for industrial and commercial applications. They are made of various rubber materials and/or compounds, and can be recessed or threaded per application requirements. Rubber bumpers are available in different shapes and can resist moisture, dust and corrosion. Extruded rubber bumpers are also available.

Rubber Bumpers

When selecting rubber bumpers, product specifications to consider include parameters such as rubber material selection, shape, dust resistance, chemical resistance, and other material and chemical properties. Vendor selection and compliance with industry, quality and/or regulatory standards is also important.

Automotive Parts – Rubber and Plastic | Elasto Proxy

Rubber Bumpers
Rubber Bumpers

Automotive parts are used in cars, trucks, buses, and motorcycles. Rubber auto parts are made of elastomers such as EPDM, NBR, CR, and SBR. Plastic auto parts are made of thermoplastics such as ABS, polyamides, polyacetals, and polycarbonates. Rubber and plastic auto parts are molded or extruded.

Automotive Parts

Elasto Proxy manages the inventory of automotive suppliers who count on continuously-running assembly lines and prompt deliveries of just-in-time (JIT) inventory. We understand that inventory shortages are not an option for Tier 1 and Tier 2 auto suppliers whose supply chains cross continents.

CANSEC 2013 – Visit Elasto Proxy in Booth #935

CANSECClyde Sharpe
President of International Sales

Does your company do business with Canada’s defense and security industry? Do you want to reach more of a market that generates $12.6 billion in revenue and includes over 2,000 firms? If your business works with defense contractors, security companies, or the Canadian military itself, than CANSEC 2013 is the place to be on May 29 and 30.

Join Elasto Proxy in Booth # 935 and meet our experienced team of solutions providers as we showcase samples of our high-quality rubber products along with line cards and product catalogs. I’ll be at CANSEC 2013 along with Paulo Arruda, Purchasing and Logistics; Alexandre Bergeron, Sealing Solutions Provider; and Megan Beaulieu, Executive Support Specialist.

So bring us your sealing challenges and ask how Elasto Proxy can partner with you to find solutions.

Why Visit CANSEC 2013?

CANSEC 2013 is Canada’s leading defense technology tradeshow. This year’s two-day event will span 120,000 square feet of indoor exhibits and include an outdoor display. Held at the Ernst & Young Centre in Ottawa, CANSEC provides a platform for government buyers and industry suppliers to exchange ideas and learn about the latest military and security technologies.

CANSEC is sponsored by the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries (CADSI), a trade organization that includes leading defense and security companies such as Bombardier. This year’s event will feature over 250 exhibitors and provide valuable networking opportunities with senior government officials.  A private event, CANSEC 2013 is open only to CADSI members and government personnel.

Supply Chain Strength and Specialized Seals

As an active CADSI member and the holder of a Controlled Goods Certification (CGC), Elasto Proxy appreciates the needs of the military marketplace. Defense cuts are coming, but there are opportunities for suppliers who can add value across the supply chain.  For example, because the availability of spare parts is critical, the defense industry needs manufacturers who can make one-off components.

Although Elasto Proxy has attended previous CANSEC tradeshows, this is the first year that our Boisbriand, Quebec company will be an exhibitor. From experience, we know that Tier 1 and Tier 2 defense contractors need specialized sealing solutions to meet the military’s demands for quality, cost-effectiveness, and performance. Even in this era of reduced military spending, Elasto Proxy is optimistic that this year’s CANSEC tradeshow will be the best one yet.

Let’s Join Forces

Does your company supply components to defense contractors or military buyers? If so, how do you help your defense and security customers to meet all of their requirements while containing costs?

If you plan to visit CANSEC later this month, please visit Elasto Proxy in Booth # 935. We’ll be meeting with current and prospective partners, and hope to have a chance to speak with you, too.