H2O Control Products soaking up business
Small packages, big results
Brent Marcon, managing director of H2O Control Products Inc., empties the contents of a small one- inch by oneinch packet into half a glass of water on his desk.
In seconds, the water is absorbed into the tiny polymer-based beads. Marcon pours more water in, and it too is absorbed in a flash.
The packet, which comes in sizes from one-inch square to seven-by-seven inches, is the company’s main mining industry product.
The packets are designed to go into enclosures such as electrical panels, junction boxes and equipment controls – wherever moisture might build up.
“Our product will absorb 360 times its weight and it will absorb free water and atmospheric moisture,” Marcon said. “It bonds to the water molecule and it expands. It is non-toxic and environmentally friendly. There is no real comparable product.”
Marcon began working in the mining supply industry when he was 18. He set out on his own in September 1987 when he was 23, selling moisture-absorbing products to mine sites out of the back of his truck. He built his company, Normac Distributing, through determination. It was incorporated in 2001, and became H2O Control Products in January 2002.
He sources the polymer-based beads from a company in the United States and distributes and sells from his location on Lorne Street in Greater Sudbury. All of the products produced and sold by H2O Control Products are stock-coded at Vale.
“It was hard when I first started on my own,” Marcon said. “I drove all around Northern Ontario selling to niche companies. It took years and years, but I knew I had the right product.”
The packets are unremarkable to look at – like tiny pillows made for a doll, but the beads will absorb “1,000 times more than silica gel-based moisture absorbing products,” he claims.
The packets can keep an enclosure up to 20 cubic feet safe from condensation and moisture and are straightforward to use.
No chemical tests have to be done to see if the packets are spent. They fluff up like a big pillow. MacLean Engineering, a key client, uses the packets for all the equipment it repairs and has them spec- in to the warranty.
The packets keep corrosion from building up and causing contact failure.
“Silica is toxic … the dust that comes off it is bad,” Marcon said. “Silica absorbs 29 per cent of its own weight and it has to be changed constantly.”
In 2004, Marcon was waiting in a truck outside a major mine. He saw a silicabased filter being used on a transformer.
He knew his product would do a better job. That was the birth of the Transformer Breather Kit, which has become popular across the country. The kit is designed for any reservoir with moisture.
“It removes 99.9 per cent of all moisture in one pass,” Marcon said. “B.C. Hydro changed over all their filters in the province and are using our product. We are in 20 power generating companies across Canada.”
H2O Control Products also developed the Water Worm. It is a cloth tube with the company’s water- absorbing desiccant in it that collects water from the bottom of fuel and oil storage tanks.
“The Water Worm has taken off with fuel suppliers,” said sales manager Gary Smiljan. “They are starting to buy it in bulk. As long as it comes in contact with water, it will absorb it. It will not absorb oil or fuel.”
H2O Control Products completes the moisture-fighting line-up with its Corrosion Control product, a polymerbased, anti-corrosion and penetrating lubricant spray.
“It can be sprayed on live circuitry when running up to 30,000 volts,” Marcon said. Slowly, but surely, the company’s innovations are winning fans in the mining industry.
“We’re going to keep promoting our product as the best, which it is,” Smiljan said. “Word of mouth is getting us a lot of business.”