A conversation with Dominique Plouffe of Service Marine Canada
Service Marine Canada, located in Quebec, Canada, is one of the largest propeller shops in The Great White North. Founded more than 50 years ago, it boasts four subdivisions and 28 employees. They are specialists in commercial ships, including: barge, lake, fishing, tug, ferry, and ice break, in addition to pleasure craft and propeller repair and sales. We spoke with owner Dominique Plouffe about Service Marine Canada and how they are using HydroComp’s PropCad and PropExpert software.
Dominique himself has an impressive career arc. “I was a simple employee of the business in 2000 (a welder) and after three years in the business I left the job for a new challenge. I came back in 2009 and bought Service Marine. After two years, I bought five other propeller shops in Canada who were competitors.” From welder to owner in a decade, he has a unique view of his business that has enabled him to see areas of potential growth. “After my second year as owner, I increased the service range with machining and other parts related to propulsion. I did many courses in that area and learned from my former colleagues at Stone Marine in England.”
Now, Service Marine repairs propellers up to 39 feet in diameter. They offer the complete package of coupling, brake, bearing, shaft, nozzle, and rudder. Their four divisions consist of two machine shops and two large plants for propeller repair. PropExpert is used for their propeller sizing calculations, while PropCad is for the designs of their new propellers, as Service Marine has two major foundries that cast propellers full-time. Service Marine’s customer base extends south of the border, with clients in the United States and Central and South America.
Once Dominique became President of the company, he knew new tools were an imperative investment. “After two years of growing demand, I went to the web to try to find a CAD software that could be a complement to my business. I wanted the easiest way to calculate and design propellers for the many clients we have. Of course, I found HydroComp and the moment we started using it, our business quickly grew and we were able to give full service to our clients.”
“PropCad is perfect not only for the design of new propellers, but also for repowers,” explains Dominique. “It is also a good tool if we are working on a propeller with better fuel savings or fewer cavitation problems.” He appreciates that PropCad is “user-friendly.”
Meanwhile, his favorite thing about PropExpert is the different calculation options, including DAR (developed area ratio), speed, and fuel impact.
“We are now able to give the right answer to our client. When we do a calculation, we are spot-on more than 90% of the time,” Dominique states. “This has resulted in a bigger range of clients.”
In the case that Dominique and his team need some technical support, he says it has been “quick and clear – not complicated. Easy to reach a member of your office.”
Service Marine also uses TrueProp, which is software for propeller inspection and repair. As HydroComp’s partner company, it pairs well with PropExpert. “We use TrueProp on our scanner arm for retro-engineering and pitch adjustment for better geometry,” explains Dominique. “We use this to find vibration problems and where we need to fix it.”
In summary, Service Marine has used PropCad and PropExpert for many projects, totaling more than 1000 calculations and 1500 new propeller designs, all with “150% satisfaction.” It is an absolute pleasure for HydroComp to work with Canada’s largest propeller shop. We are grateful for this beneficial partnership and look forward to seeing how Service Marine Canada continues to grow and perfect their craft with the help of HydroComp tools.
Download this interview here.
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