Bringing Unique New Processes to Ontario’s Metal Industry
Salto Heat Treating
Salto Heat Treating Limited is a commercial heat treating service based out of Sudbury, Ontario that offers a range of full-treatment services with top-tier equipment. The company is unique in its area, capable of tackling larger projects with unmatched service and quicker set-up times.
Salto primarily offers these services in the context of heat treating, ranging from annealing through hardening (using processes like case, air, and induction hardening) to carburizing, normalizing and black oxide, and to cutting services, with additional capability in induction hardening for both pins and drill rods.
Many different processes are involved in heating and cooling metals and improving overall properties as well as performance and durability, and this complexity necessitates state-of-the-art product-order charting and traceability.
A concept takes shape
The initial stages of development for Salto began in March 2019 at the behest of company owner Felix Lopes Jr.
The company’s lead hand, Christophe Mehanna, remarks that he has known Lopes for a long time and that when Mr. Lopes Jr. sees an opportunity, he does not pass it up. Mehanna himself was called upon during the development period for his 25-plus years of experience in the field – to give input into the design and layout of the shop and make it as efficient as possible.
The initial crew, including Mehanna, brought equipment together over the course of a year and a half before joyously opening the company’s doors on May 4, 2020. Now, given its newcomer status in the industry, the team at Salto are eager to demonstrate what makes the company stand out from the competition.
Born to lead
Mehanna explains that Salto operates by employing the most up-to-date technology available and that its processes are highly automated. One of the company’s primary focuses is to be reliable to its customers and consistent in its level of quality, and automation helps the team achieve this.
Salto is ISO9001:2015 certified. All the company’s furnaces and carbon probes are calibrated and certified, with the business itself being fully certified across industry standards (Technical Standards and Safety Authority, Electrical Safety Authority, Trescall, International Organization for Standardization, etc.). “We have superior quality control measures,” Mehanna adds. “All temper furnaces are digitally equipped and monitored by temperature control. In the event of a disruption or malfunction, the system alerts us by alarm and via email and text messages to all supervisors.”
Salto also boasts a lab in its Sudbury location that offers onsite testing – a big advantage that allows the company to perform hardness testing and analysis – along with a portable digital tester allowing for off-site hardness testing as well.
The company’s customer service measures operate in tandem with its robust service offerings with a 24- to 48-hour turnaround on most applications (regardless of size) at competitive pricing.
Thanks to its all-digital interface, clients even have their own online Client Portal to access their information – which is stored indefinitely on company servers, cloud-based with quadruple backups – at a moment’s notice. In short, Salto Heat Treating offers a full suite of customer-focused processes coupled with a modern approach.
A variety of firsts
In summer 2020, not long after its doors opened to the public, Salto added two significant new service offerings to its catalogue: a black oxide line, and pin induction.
Salto is one of the first companies in the northern Ontario area to install this cold oxide system, a process that’s an environmentally friendly counterpart to hot oxide, with the black oxide finish preventing rust and giving an appealing glossy finish.
Salto is also the only provider in the area to offer pin induction up to 7 feet in length. It can handle parts of up to 1000 pounds, with 24 different diameters and coils to do any job up to a 9.5-inch diameter. The company’s pin scanner has quick-change coils to reduce time between different size pins, allowing for faster set-ups and savings for customers.
Salto’s rod induction systems are also unique to the northern Ontario area, as the systems are fully automated and can harden up to 12 inches at either end of any drill rod up to five inches in diameter.
The rod induction scanners are outfitted with heat sensors to ensure each rod is heated to the same temperature. As Mehanna puts it, “We guarantee that the first drill rod we heat will be at the same hardness as the last. Uniformity is important to our clients.”
Further measures like surge protectors guard the processes from electrical interference and minimize factory downtime, leading to both a superior customer experience and final product.
The tough get going
2020 was a challenging year for businesses across myriad sectors and Salto felt the crunch of COVID-19 as much as anyone. With the company opening midway into the year (and midway into worldwide quarantine measures), Mehanna ruefully admits that it was – understandably – not as grand an opening as originally envisioned.
The company depends on both local and international business to survive and, as borders close off to nix the spread of coronavirus, it is increasingly difficult for Salto employees to meet with potential customers face-to-face. Nevertheless, Mehanna remains supremely confident in the Salto team as one with the experience and will to overcome challenges like pandemics and recessions.
He is candid in praising the company culture that has encouraged this attitude: “I wish every company treated employees like this one does and had the culture that this one has.”
Indeed, there is a deep vein of trust that runs from top to bottom of Salto and there’s no hint of micromanagement from general contractors, suppliers or from the companies that commission Salto. The company stands by a creed of employees first in recognition that work need not follow its people home and that, more than anything else, employees are the greatest asset to a company.
Recognizing the workforce’s continued efforts to deliver on the company’s principles no matter what, Mehanna hopes that the coronavirus will be managed soon so the industry can return to business as usual and Salto can offer its full breadth of services with no added hassle.
A bright future
The team’s positivity toward the future is buoyed by that of MTI (Metal Treating Institute), of which Salto is a member. The institute is optimistic about the opportunities that 2021 will present for heat-treating businesses and, in turn, Salto will be looking to execute on a plan to take advantage of these opportunities beginning early this year.
However, at the present time the market is still somewhat unstable due to the ongoing pandemic – Salto is currently working with one of the biggest customers in the market (both in North America and worldwide), so Salto seems to be getting off to a bright start.
Beyond this, Mehanna reveals that the company has in mind a five-year plan to add another line and build a new warehouse. Hilary Hancock, office administration at Salto, explains that Salto has plans to broaden its customer base throughout Ontario. “Meeting customers is a unique difficulty right now,” Hancock remarks, “but we want to make sure we don’t become isolated.”
Salto will look to coordinate with its regional contracts, getting potential clients into the shop so that it can display its impressive capabilities on a heat-treating level. Mehanna adds that the reviews of both the company’s quality and service have been “our focus and our priority.” The company will keep that momentum going into its first full calendar year.
Although Salto Heat Treating is a new startup business, it is a dynamic business with a solid plan for its future, and one that is eager to make its mark in the metal service industry.