Happy Holidays from Elasto Proxy!

Happy Holidays from Elasto Proxy!
Happy Holidays from Elasto Proxy!

Doug Sharpe
President of Elasto Proxy

Elasto Proxy hopes you are enjoying this holiday season and creating special memories with family and friends. Recently, we celebrated Family Day here at our headquarters in Boisbriand, Quebec, Canada. We hope to have some pictures of this fun-filled event on our Facebook page soon!

Holiday Schedule

Elasto Proxy will close for the holidays on Friday, December 20, 2013 and reopen on Monday, January 6, 2014. Just as we thank our partners for their business and their continued support, we thank our hard-working employees for their efforts throughout the year.

Santa’s Sleigh

Looking for something rubber-related to read while we’re away? Visit our blog on CR4: The Engineer’s Place for News and Discussion and read our latest blog entry, “Does Santa’s Sleigh Have Rubber Parts?” You might be surprised by what you learn!

Operation Nez Rouge

Holiday gifts come in many shapes and sizes, but the ones who wear red vests deserve special acclaim. Each year, red-vested volunteers from Operation Nez Rouge (Operation Red Nose) provide Canadians who feel unfit to drive with a safe way to get back home.

If you have too much to drink this holiday season, please don’t drive. To find your local Operation Nez Rouge dispatch, call (866) 337-5273. You can also find Operation Red Nose on the Web and use the Get a Ride feature.

Elasto Proxy wishes everyone a happy – and safe – holiday season! See you in 2014!

Will You Run the Race? Elasto Proxy Supports Healthy Lifestyles

Beth Running Elasto ProxyClyde Sharpe
President of International Sales

Beth Branyon used to play softball. Today, she’s directing her competitive energy in different ways.  Recently, the Customer Service Representative at Elasto Proxy’s office in Simpsonville, South Carolina finished second in her age group in a road race. The Furman Flatlander 5K was “a beautiful run on a beautiful day”, Beth says, with a loop around the lake on the campus of nearby Furman University in Greenville.

Cheered on by her husband, who encouraged her to stay after the race to see how she’d done, Beth was pleased with the results of her run. “I knew there weren’t many people in front of me,” she explains, but her second-place finish was still a nice surprise. Beth had been running for only a year, since the spring of 2012. Now she’s training for another 5K race in January, a 10K in in April, and hoping to compete in a half-marathon by this time next year.

From Couch to 5K to Half-Marathon

Beth’s dedication is extraordinary – and inspiring. Her journey from softball player to competitive runner didn’t happen overnight, and involved some lifestyle changes. The Couch to 5K Running Plan that she followed eases beginners into a training program, but that’s doesn’t mean the regimen is easy. Would-be runners must find the time to exercise and the willpower to pound the pavement instead of reaching for fast food or junk food.

Training for a race also means working out when the weather is less than ideal. South Carolina isn’t always warm, and temperatures can fall to 20° F on winter nights. That’s when Beth stays indoors and runs on a treadmill instead. Here at Elasto Proxy headquarters in Boisbriand, Quebec, Canada, we know something about cold-weather conditions, too. Many of us played hockey instead of softball, but we’re now running to compete – if only against ourselves.

Two Mountains and Zero Five Thirty

Last June, Elasto Proxy employees participated in Défi Deux-Montagnes (Two Mountains Challenge), a local footrace that lets participants run or walk a distance of their choice.  With courses ranging from shorter 1K and 2K sprints to longer 5K and 10K runs, this fun-filled event helped Elasto Proxy to promote our goal of healthy lifestyles for employees. Although it’s not even January yet, we’re looking forward to running the Two Mountains Challenge again in the summer of 2014.

In the meantime, we’ll continue to train hard and make healthy choices. Each day, some of us go running at lunchtime. When it’s time for a snack, the refrigerator in Elasto Proxy’s Boisbriand cafeteria has oranges, plums, and bananas – all healthy alternatives to vending machine fare.  The “Zero Five Thirty” initiative in Quebec makes great sense. That’s zero tobacco, five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, and thirty minutes of daily exercise.

Join the Conversation

What are your goals for 2014? The New Year is still a few weeks away, but it’s never too early to think about your health, or what your company can do to promote healthy lifestyles among employees. We’ve shared some experiences that we think can help, and congratulate Beth Branyon and other Elasto Proxy employees for their achievements in 2013

Look for my post with a link to this blog entry on LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter. Elasto Proxy has pages on all of these social media websites, so all that’s missing is you. I also hope you’ll subscribe to our free e-newsletters. They’re a great source of information delivered right to your email inbox, with links to blog entries like this one.

How Would You Stop Oil Spills?

Image source: bbc.co.uk
Image source: bbc.co.uk

Clyde Sharpe
President of International Sales

Qingdao is a bustling seaport that overlooks the Yellow Sea. Named China’s most livable city in 2009, this coastal community in Shandong Province is home to nearly 9 million inhabitants and the world’s longest sea bridge. The name Qingdao, a combination of the Chinese words for “green” or “lush” and “island”, delights visitors who appreciate the city’s combination of historic stone buildings and modern skyscrapers. Today, however, Qingdao is also known for something else.

Last month, a pair of petroleum pipeline explosions in Qingdao injured 136 and claimed the lives of 52. Oil from the pipeline, which is owned by the Sinopec Group, contaminated 3,000 square meters of water and forced the evacuation of 18,000 residents. As on-line photographs show, the blasts reduced roads to rubble and shattered windows in residential buildings. The Qingdao incident is one of China’s worst industrial accidents this year, and reminiscent of Canada’s own Lac-Mégantic Disaster.

Rail Safety and Pipeline Safety

What do these petroleum-related disasters have in common, and how are they different? First, there’s the method of transportation to consider. As you may recall, disaster struck Lac-Mégantic last summer when an unattended freight train with 72 tanker cars of crude oil derailed. Explosions rocked the quiet lakeside community, claiming the lives of 47 and injuring many more. Oil spilled into the Chaudière River, requiring the removal of 43 million liters of oil water so far.

Elasto Proxy has followed the Lac-Mégantic disaster closely, and shared information we hope might help. In our blog on CR4: The Engineer’s Place for News and Discussion, we asked if rubber bladders could enhance rail safety by containing oil spills. Crashworthy, self-sealing bladders that can withstand high temperatures are in use today, both on aircraft and in motorsports. Are there existing rubber-related technologies that could promote pipeline safety? We’d like to know, and ask for your assistance.

Cheddar or Swiss?

Analyzing the Quingdao and Lac-Mégantic disasters isn’t just a matter of comparing rail shipments to pipelines, however. In each incident, what was the role (if any) of human error, technical failure, and a lack of regulatory oversight? This isn’t about playing the “blame game”. It’s about helping to find sealing solutions that account for these factors. James Reason, a safety theorist from the U.K., explains as much in his “Swiss cheese model”, a favorite of NASA scientists.

According to Reason, safety measures are like slices of cheese. When safety-related technologies are sound and proper procedures are followed, the “slices” are like cheddar – solid and impermeable. If technologies fail, standards slip, and employees (and inspectors) become complacent, then the slices become like Swiss cheese – full of holes through which mistakes can pass. Tragically, these “slices” change from cheddar to Swiss all too often, ruining the recipe for safe transportation.

Join the Conversation

What’s the safest way to transport oil? Is there an acceptable failure rate for petroleum shipments? Are oil spills an inevitable part of our modern, industrial economy? Have you heard of existing or emerging technologies, especially ones that involve rubber, which could promote rail safety or pipeline safety? We’ve shared our thoughts with you, and would certainly welcome yours.

Look for my post with a link to this blog entry on LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter. Elasto Proxy has pages on all of these social media websites, so all that’s missing is you. I also hope you’ll subscribe to our free e-newsletters, as well. They’re a great source of information delivered right to your email inbox, and provide links to blog entries like this one.