75 Years of Service: Danfoss Celebrates A Milestone
Danfoss Flomatic Corp. located in Glens Falls, New York, is a manufacturer of high quality valves primarily for domestic and municipal water and wastewater applications.
And it recently had a birthday – a big birthday. Flomatic has turned 75, an impressive milestone for any firm.
“Our 75th anniversary is a rare opportunity to celebrate our history and plan for our future,” says Nick Farrara, Flomatic’s vice president of sales and marketing. “It’s at this milestone that we re-affirm our deep commitment to our customers, employees, and global partners to continually improve the design, production, and marketing of high quality valve products that are environmentally sensitive and meet or exceed our customer expectations.”
Forrest S. White founded the company as the White Flomatic Corporation in 1933 in Hoosick Falls, New York, a town approximately 40 miles northeast of Albany. At that time, the main products were bronze check valves, regulators, and hot water circulators for industrial and domestic heating. Wilbur C. Rice became the company’s president in 1962; he modernized the plant and its machinery, as well as focusing on domestic water well valves.
Flomatic then expanded internationally in 1975 by joining forces with Socla, a French valve company respected throughout Europe. Flomatic’s history is highlighted by a series of achievements in the valve manufacturing industry. Check and foot valve products for the domestic water well industry were brought into focus in 1962. The company continued to move forward with its entry into the larger industrial and municipal valve market as the years went on, and Flomatic received a new valve patent covering the WCR check valve, now its most popular valve product.
In the late 1980s, the introduction of automatic control valves and backflow preventers gave Flomatic new opportunities for sales growth. The company’s position in the worldwide market was further improved in 1992 when it introduced the first unleaded bronze valves, the Enviro-Check. Today, these unique patented valve products have become an industry standard for both performance and quality.
Also in 1992, a third new valve product family, backflow preventers, were designed and manufactured for the fast-growing water safety market. Flomatic became a member of the water valve division of the Danfoss Group, which is a global manufacturing company with nearly $4 billion in sales last year and 20,000 employees operating in 120 countries. The corporate headquarters are located in Nordberg, Denmark.
Flomatic began its move in 1996 to a new larger facility in Glens Falls, New York, which is only about 40 miles north of its original location. Bo Andersson, current president of Flomatic Corp., stated at the time, “This move will allow our company to continue to grow and expand our high quality valve product offering.”
In 1998, Flomatic showed it emphasizes environmental issues in its manufacturing operations and products. The company received certification to ISO 9001 and took a leadership role in the valve manufacturing industry by installing an environmentally friendly custom powder coating operation to coat all municipal and industrial valves. This process uses only the highest quality NSF-approved epoxy powder to ensure the quality and durability of its products both inside and out.
Flomatic’s products are manufactured according to ISO 9001 as well as ISO 14001 international quality management system standards. In fact, Flomatic is the first company in the water and wastewater valve manufacturing industry in the United States that has achieved both standards.
“As we move into the future, we are committed to improving our role as a leader and have a growing concern for the environment,” Andersson says. “We’re aware of our impact on the environment as a manufacturing organization. You will see that concern at every level of our operation, from the development of our lead-free line of valves to the recycling of paper, printer parts, plastic, and even the glass in the lunchroom.”
Today, the company specializes in check valves, foot valves, automatic control valves, and backflow preventers for water and wastewater in valve sizes from ¼-inch through 36 inches. The company ships valves to more than 40 countries around the world.
Flomatic products have been installed in some of the largest water and wastewater projects in the country - from the Big Dig in Boston to subway systems in New York and Montreal, pumping systems in Los Angeles, fuel systems associated with the space shuttle in Texas, and an irrigation system in the heartland of the nation’s farming country.
Flomatic’s line expanded when it acquired the New Ward Valve Co. in 2001. These products are widely specified and used by beverage, food, water heating, and chemical processing industries. With the addition of this line, Flomatic has become one of the most extensive suppliers of stainless steel check valve products in North America.
And while the company may be 75 years old, it isn’t sitting back. Its largest single investment to date, more than $1 million, brings new manufacturing technology with the purchase of a new state-of-the-art CNC machine system. Flomatic has also been awarded a patent for a new unique backflow preventer valve, adding to its list of backflow prevention products.
Customers play a part in the continuing evolution. “We keep a close eye on our customers’ level of satisfaction,” explains Andersson, a 35-year veteran of the business. “Gathering information from several sources, including direct surveys of our top customers, illustrates a steady increase of satisfaction over the years. We’re continuing to operate as a technology company, leading the industry with new and innovative products which are covered by numerous patents and trademarks to meet the ever expanding needs of our customers.”
A tour of the company’s manufacturing plant would show that one of the last steps before the product is shipped is the addition of the warranty card.
“It’s not just a warranty card,” Andersson adds. “It’s also a thank you note. We feel that’s a very important element to thank the product’s end-user that we rarely know. Anything worth doing is worth doing with the best possible sense of urgency. You have to earn it. You can’t go for the profit - it is something you earn each and every time.”