Plastiques Gagnon Inc., a Saint-Jean-Port-Joli, Que.-based plastic parts manufacturer, is building a new facility in Lévis, Que. to serve growing demand for batteries used in electric vehicles and energy storage.
The 35,000-square-foot, $10-million facility for small and medium injected parts is to begin operations in July 2024, focusing on Plastiques Gagnon’s interest in electrification and batteries.
It will be located at the Lévis Innoparc on 165,000 square feet of land, and the facility could eventually be doubled in size as part of expansion plans, Plastiques Gagnon said.
The Lévis facility will provide plastic components for companies building battery packs, such as Saint-Jérôme, Que.-based electric bus manufacturer Lion Electric and American Battery Solutions, Philippe Pelletier, a general director at Plastiques Gagnon, said in an interview with Sustainable Biz Canada.
The planned facility is part of a diversification strategy, according to Guy Jourdain, Plastiques Gagnon's sales and marketing director, who also spoke to Sustainable Biz Canada.
“There’s a lot of people now working on the electrification of transport," Jourdain said. "There’s a lot of money invested from different companies. We hope to be able to find and serve the market with the right technical plastic parts. We hope we will be part of the transformation of the car market to have more green vehicles or electric vehicles on the road.”
Expansion into Lévis
Plastiques Gagnon has been operating since 1958, producing plastic components for industries such as powersport, defence, mining, electronics and automotive. It also supplies the parts used in battery energy storage, electrical transportation, battery pack assembly and electric vehicle charging stations, according to Jourdain.
As part of a five-year investment plan that has cost $25 million since 2019, Plastiques Gagnon took steps to potentially double its production capacity in Lévis, Pelletier said. It reached the production limit at its Saint-Jean-Port-Joli facility, and sought another location to boost capacity.
Comparatively, its facility in Saint-Jean-Port-Joli measures 85,000 square feet.
Millions of plastic parts related to battery management systems and battery cell assembly will be made in Lévis, according to Pelletier.
Lévis was chosen for the facility because it is close to Quebec City, where the company has access to a wider pool of talent such as engineers and project managers, and the market it serves, Jourdain explained.
Construction has already begun and is expected to be finished by May 2024, Pelletier said. The facility will employ approximately 70 people.
Charging up its battery business
Quebec has been chosen to house significant battery factories, most notably in Bécancour. Plastiques Gagnon seeks to be a part of the battery community, and has been collaborating with two universities on battery pack research, Jourdain said.
Thirty per cent of the battery market is in transportation, Pelletier added, but the remaining 70 per cent is in energy storage for residential or commercial businesses.
“That will also be a market that we want to be (in). There’s a lot of things coming. We want to be in the first spot to serve that market.”
Plastique Gagnon’s sustainability initiatives
Plastiques Gagnon has taken steps to reduce its waste and environmental impact.
Pelletier outlined Plastiques Gagnon’s efforts to recycle cardboard, use reusable plastic bags with its customers, and a collaboration with a plastic reprocessor to reduce its carbon footprint.
The company reuses or resells the plastic waste from its regrinding department and offers bioplastics that are degradable or compostable as an alternative to petroleum-based resin, Jourdain said.