ABB's Emergency lighting plant in Dorval has a long history and a solid reputation as one of the most trusted names in Canadian industry. From halogen to fluorescent to LED lighting, this state-of-the-art facility, which manufactures more than 70 lines of emergency lighting products, has evolved from the creation of the basic exit sign to the highly sophisticated Nexus®Pro remote monitoring systems that are essential in ABB's shift to the digitalization and connectivity of the Internet of Things (IoT). The well-known Canadian brands Emergi-Lite®, Lumacell®, Ready-Lite® and Hazlux® are all manufactured at this location.
Customer-driven methods for industry-quality and sustainable results
With research and development, engineering and assembly based in Canada, the facility can design, and manufacture based on the voice of the customer. Its customization ability is grounded in solid customer relationships and an understanding of their local needs, allowing for hundreds of possible configurations for a given product. There is an important sustainability aspect through the optimized of the emergency lighting footprint. “With high-performance LED lighting, there are less product needs, and that allows us to operate with a smaller footprint” says David Blier, Global Portfolio Manager, Emergency Lighting Solutions, Smart Buildings divisions, for ABB Canada. “The innovative work amongst the team—which considers sustainability and technology to be drivers for growth—is what gives our emergency lighting solutions an edge.”
Since 2018, the facility lighting has been changed to LED, which, in addition to fans installed to recycle heating, has allowed for a combined yearly reduction of 14 tons of CO2, saving several tens thousand dollars in annual costs. Two solar walls were also installed in 2022, which will result in a 27% reduction in CO2 this year and the next. A further 179 tons in yearly CO2 reduction is also expected by next year through the elimination of natural gas heating to make the site nearly carbon neutral.
Driving innovation while sourcing local and reducing waste
The facility also serves as the North American product development centre for emergency lighting, producing electronic assemblies for a dozen ABB plants in Canada and the USA. While the facility plays a key role for all North America, it also strives to stay local: close to 70% of raw materials that go into these brands are Canadian, and products are 100% assembled in Quebec. ABB also self-sources and internally recycles—between 80% to 90% of the plastic and 50% of the metal used comes from other ABB facilities. Parts from ABB’s St-Jean-sur-Richelieu plant are also sent in metal production cages rather than boxes so they can be reused as packaging to avoid waste production.
"As a technology leader, ABB is focused on the areas where we can have the greatest impact: reducing carbon emissions, preserving resources and promoting social progress," says Said Elaissi, Director, National Health, Safety and Environment. "ABB is committed to implementing sustainable practices throughout our value chain and the life cycle of our products and solutions. The Dorval plant is a perfect example of the sustainable practices that ABB strives to implement.
Staying focused on people to expand business
The workforce includes more than 250 employees representing more than 30 nationalities, with an average of more than 13 years of service, spanning four generations (from 16 to over 70 years old). This extensive diversity allows for collaboration and knowledge sharing between generations, which reinforces the multidisciplinary culture of the workplace. Employees are encouraged to take advantage of a variety of learning opportunities, such as cross-disciplinary learning projects, where disciplines are blended to deepen knowledge, which greatly promotes internal development and engagement.
Over the past few years, we have incorporated IoT connectivity into our products, one of many examples that illustrates our commitment to innovation, safety, reliability, and simplicity. We are the only manufacturer that specializes in emergency lighting with IoT systems integrated into products, which is a key differentiator that sets ABB's Dorval facility apart in the industry.