Expert in engineering and R&D, Nooter Corporation brings the most advanced technological procedures to diverse industries worldwide. April Terreri has this story.
Each new day offers new challenges to the employees of Nooter Corporation, Inc., of St. Louis. Nooter employees live and breathe research, development and engineering, the eminent heart and soul of each of Nooter’s 13 subsidiary companies. Nooter serves companies in petrochemical, pulp and paper, brewing, power and process industries.
Nooter Corporation is a holding company to its 13 subsidiaries, each a separate business unit and all providing engineering services and solutions as well as manufactured products to these diverse industries.
Employees: No. 1 Asset
Nooter’s employees are actively involved in the industries in which they serve, and sit on industry agencies including the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the American Society of Metallurgists and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. All of these organizations set industry standards by which pressure vessels are built to withstand the high pressures and temperatures to which they are subjected in their applications. The company’s stockholders are its employees, so it is evident that Nooter’s employees are devoted to their careers and to the industries they serve.
“We have no outside board of directors,” says Bill Schawacker, corporate communications manager. “We have a very open company here, and there is excellent communication among managers and employees, who are our most viable asset. Our employees are our No. 1 product and they work hard to live up to that philosophy.”
The Talented Nooter Family
A few of the company’s subsidiaries include Nooter Fabricators, Inc., a custom steel, alloy and pure metal plate fabricator of heavy processing equipment serving manufacturers throughout the world.
Nooter/Eriksen, Inc. is a single-source supplier of heat-recovery systems designed to conserve energy while improving energy efficiencies of industrial plants.
St. Louis Metallizing Company is a full-service, quality thermal spray and finishing shop providing wire metallizing, electric-arc spraying, plasma-flame spraying, printing press parts renovation, high-velocity oxy-fuel applications, rebuilding and hard surfacings, and thermal spray coating for turbine overhauls.
Nooter Construction Company, with locations in St. Louis and Bensalem, Pa., fabricates, erects, and repairs a variety of processing vessels and related equipment for the oil, chemical, pulp and paper, brewing and power industries. This work is done on-site.
Wyatt Field Service Company of Houston has more than 50 years’ experience in field fabrication, maintenance and emergency field service capabilities.
Nooter Consulting Services, Inc., offers engineering services to analyze and design intricate custom processing equipment. It provides thermal gradient analysis, heat-transfer analysis and boiler design.
Bedarco Nooter, Inc., of Montreal specializes in heavy metal and sheet metal fabrication, offering a complete range of custom-made products.
Schoeller-Bleckmann Nooter Appara-tetechnik GmbH of Ternitz, Austria, is a supplier of high-performance, multilayer tanks and containers for industrial and agricultural applications.
The market is very strong for renovating refineries and chemical plants. “Nothing new is being built because no one wants these plants in their backyard, so this market is very strong in the U.S.,” says Schawacker.
This issue plus the increased demand for new power plants account for the enormous success of Nooter/Eriksen, Inc. “Nooter/Eriksen is the world leader in custom designing and fabricating heat-recovery steam generators,” notes Schawacker. When new power plants are constructed, co-generation boilers are installed to help companies conserve energy and increase plant efficiency. “What they do is take waste heat and drive it through a boiler, and then they pump the energy back into the plant or back into the process,” explains Schawacker.
Caltine Corporation, one of the world’s largest builders of tar plants, just ordered 85 Nooter/Eriksen heat-recovery steam generators. “Caltine’s plan is to have 40,000 megawatts of generation online by the end of 2004,” notes Schawacker.
Nooter/Eriksen’s presence worldwide is enhanced through the company’s international representatives. The company also operates a satellite office in Denby Dale, England, which handles the European market for these heat-recovery steam generators.
Thermal Spray Expertise
Another of the bright siblings in the Nooter family is St. Louis Metallizing (SLM), which provides metal resurfacing for printing cylinders and a variety of original parts and components used in diverse industrial applications. “SLM flame-sprays a variety of coatings onto parts and components to prevent wear and also to renovate parts,” says Schawacker. For example, printing cylinders used for printing newspapers can be rejuvenated by being ground to specific tolerances, having new bearings installed and having their surfaces re-sprayed. “It’s a lot cheaper than having to buy new printing cylinders,” says Schawacker.
Another flourishing market is the renovation of aircraft parts. “They spray these parts with ceramic in a high-heat environment,” Schawacker says. “We also spray glass molds for large bottle-making manufacturers.” Molds are sprayed with ceramic, rendering the molds more able to resist wear from the constantly hot processing.
“St. Louis Metallizing is one of the fastest-growing flame-spray metallizing companies in the U.S.,” says Schawacker.
“We are the world leaders in developing and welding all sorts of reactive metals,” says Schawacker, who notes that Nooter holds numerous patents on welding techniques and procedures. Nooter can handle any application involving any kind of weldable metal.
Schawacker adds, “We developed specific welding procedures that were very tricky to do and we also developed procedures to do inner bore welding.” This process involves welding tubes into a tube sheet where there might be coking in specific processes that disable heat-exchange and heat-transfer units, causing them to fail.
“We’ve always been a high-end fabricator, which means we’re renowned for building the Rolls Royce of all the processing equipment,” says Schawacker. “But we also recognize there are other markets out there requiring less sophisticated equipment for the more common carbon steels and stainless steels.” To establish a more competitive stance in this area, Nooter formed joint ventures with companies in Malaysia, Indonesia and Mexico. The company also has subsidiaries in Montreal and Ternitz, Austria, to handle this market.
Showing its Mettle
The company that began humbly in the backyard of Dutch immigrant John Nooter back in 1896 now employs 1,200 people worldwide in its 2.2 million square feet of facilities. John Nooter actually began the John Nooter Boiler Works in his backyard and had enormous success, partly because of a good product and partly because he was in the right place at the right time. “Around 1904, St. Louis was among the top three larger cities in the country, and then the world’s fair was held here,” notes Schawacker. “So John Nooter really rode the wave at that time.”
Nooter will continue to expand its markets worldwide. “We will also continue to develop new production procedures to make us more efficient and competitive in the market,” concludes Schawacker. “This means that we will seek out companies that can enhance our diversity and can provide us with other markets that are heavily involved in engineering and research and development.”