Saving Lives in the Harshest Arctic Conditions
Benoit Corbeil’s mantra is “everything can be improved.” When the Department of National Defence needed to improve their sea rescue kit for search and rescue operations across Canada, they turned to Benoit and his team at Tulmar. The original raft was not optimized for inflation in rough Arctic conditions which put the lives of Canadians living and working in the North at risk — the raft was in need of an upgrade.
Together, Benoit and his team developed an improved raft that could be deployed by air into Arctic conditions. The raft needed to be compact and inflate at temperatures reaching minus 50ºC, which wasn’t possible with the previous design. Benoit wanted it to be light, durable and protected from ice punctures. By pushing the limits of innovation, the team designed the raft to be as efficient as possible.
Even the position of a handle on the raft can be the catalyst that saves a life.
When Canada’s Search and Rescue operators need to rescue survivors in the Arctic, the raft can be safely airdropped and inflates manually on the ice or automatically in water. With a fully enclosed canopy, those rescued can be immediately sheltered from the cold wind and freezing ocean spray.
Benoit’s love of the intricacies of machines led him to engineering where he could play a part in the “big picture” mechanics of a project. It takes a dedicated and talented Design Engineer like Benoit to take individually created parts and understand how they will best work together. His passion is all about improving his work down to the finest detail. “Even the position of a handle on the raft can be the catalyst that saves a life.”
The final step was to see the rafts in action. Once the project was complete, Benoit and the team were invited to the National Search and Rescue Exercise in Yellowknife to watch the deployment of the rafts. “The feeling of seeing the fruits of our labour perform flawlessly was phenomenal,” says Benoit. “There is something thrilling and so rewarding knowing that we contributed to a product that has such impact on the safety of our people up North.”