Journal of Commerce – September, 2007
The sound of the live rock music from band Nearly Neil cemented the grand opening of the Kryton Group of Companies’ new 35,000-square foot manufacturing, warehouse and office building on East Kent Ave. Sept. 14 with more than 200 clients turning up to dance, dine and do the plant tour.
“It was the best event we have ever had,” says Kari Yuers, president and CEO of Kryton, complimenting the firm’s organizing committee as it arranged every detail right down to parking attendants. The new headquarters includes wheelchair access entrance from the second floor to an Argyle street entrance via a concrete bridge built by Humphrey Construction. However, it has a street address of 1645 E. Kent Ave. by the Fraser River in South Vancouver -just four blocks east of its old building located at 8280 Ross Street.
The move to new premises has been prompted by growing sales internationally but also in Canada where increased inclement weather has caused water problems for new construction and existing homeowners. Approximately 90 per cent of Kryton’s product goes outside Canada to Europe, Asia, the Middle East and south of the Canadian border.
The new facility houses a laboratory used for research and development and product testing for clients. “We have one of the largest concrete labs in North America. We do permeability testing on concrete,” she says, as well as other characteristics to determine how products respond. For example, she says, a foreign supplier might need to ensure that the product will perform when applied to concrete made from local aggregate and materials. The company may also test specific mixes needed for large scale projects such as damns and bridges, doing strength comparison analysis.
“We also do liaison work with the universities such as the University of B.C., Simon Fraser University and the University of Victoria and do other ‘third party’ testing,” she says, or use the arm’s length universities to verify test results. The company recently sent a permeability test machine to Mexico as a supplier didn’t have necessary equipment to sustain test results locally. The company is seeing strong growth in the Middle East where the range of water-related uses includes the need to conserve water. The Kryton product is used on water storage facilities as well as deep foundations (which hit water levels below the desert) for the towering skyscrapers being built.
Two massive resort areas are being created off the UAE Dubai’s coast. One is the Palms, where the islands are shaped like a palm while the other is The World, shaped like the world, and an individual can buy an island resembling a portion of the globe.
Yuers says such off-shore developments require large tunnels carrying services to them and the Kryton product is proving popular in waterproofing these service links.
Yuers says the new facility triples the size of the former building. “We really needed more space,” she says. The company was founded in 1973 by Yuer’s father Ron who had worked in the construction industry and was not satisfied with products on the market for concrete water proofing. He thought he could make “a better mousetrap”, tells Yuers, adding a chemist was called in and the Krystol (trademark name) technology was born. It is concrete water proofing system that when applied grows crystals between the granular elements of concrete providing a water barrier.
“Concrete is like a rigid sponge,” says Yuer, adding the crystals that form block the path of the water. The product is also proving effective in areas such Alberta or the desert climates where there is a high degree of sulfates carried into the water which can affect the integrity of the concrete. “Our material helps calm the degradation,” she says.
Yuers says the Kryton products are being used on Olympic sites and three of the new Canada Line.
Kryton produces a range of products. They include: KIM (Krystol Internal Membrane) which is added to concrete by companies such as Lafarge and Ocean and allows below grade pours without placing an exterior membrane; Krystol T1 and T2, a crystal forming product applied to existing structures; Krystol Crack Repair Systems, allows for interior repair of cracks from the inside; and Krystol Waterstop Systems, a crystalline system for concrete joints, currently being patented.