Volume 6 | Issue 5 | Year 2003

When Bertha Macristy Hanna founded Keeney Manufacturing with her vision to manufacture floor and ceiling plates and radiator air valves in 1923, she might not have thought her New Britain, Conn.-based company would ever be a major supplier of its products throughout the world. Today, Keeney has moved far beyond those humble beginnings and is now a major manufacturer and supplier of brass and plastic tubular products for the plumbing, hardware, and home improvement industries, says Chris Jeffers, Vice President of Marketing for the family-owned and operated Newington, Conn.-headquartered company.

The Keeney name today incorporates, under one corporate identity, sister companies Plumb Pak, Duracraft Plastics, Tubular Industries of Canada, Ltd., and Belanger Plumbing. Through the manufacturing capabilities of these companies, Keeney Manufacturing is able to be a vertically integrated manufacturer and supplier of a full range of comprehensive products and services for customers, Jeffers says. “We are committed to responsible growth by implementing cost-effective technologies designed to anticipate and exceed customer needs in the construction and replacement plumbing and water supply markets throughout the world.”

Even for Kitchen Sinks
The company’s products include brass and plastic tubular P-traps, J-bends, flanges, continuous wastes, waste and overflows, strainers, tailpieces, shower accessories, bath drains, bath safety, water supply, shower safety kits, bath tub trim kits, toilet repair parts as well as floor and ceiling plates and radiator air valves – Keeney’s original product offering.

Keeney’s newest product line addition is within its water supply category. This category includes quarter-turn valves, braided and vinyl-supply lines, straight shut-off valves, and angle shut-off valves. Keeney sells wholesale to building contractors and retail to plumbing and hardware stores and home improvement centers.

As new housing construction and the do-it-yourself market continues to grow, Keeney is finding sustained growth in its major market segments. To facilitate this steady growth, the company now operates seven manufacturing and distribution centers throughout the country and even into Canada. “Our strategically located facilities allow us to be more responsive to our customers needs and we ship all orders within five days, 98 percent complete,” Jeffers says. In addition to its headquarters in Newington, Keeney operates facilities in Winchester, N.H.; Norcross, Ga.; Sparks, Nev.; Arlington, Texas; and Coaticook and Montreal, Quebec, Canada – representing over a half-million square feet and employing about 450 people.

To Market, To Market
New product developments include Keeney Trap Wraps, which are ADA compliant under-the-sink piping covers. “These new products come in an insulation kit and offer a very affordable and attractive solution to ADA-mandated under-sink pipe protection,” Jeffers says. “They are flexible, durable, anti-microbial and very easy to install.” Trap Wraps are seamless and are available in a variety of models to fit the most common trap and valve configurations. They meet all industry standards and requirements.

Another new product on the shelves at Keeney is Diamond Shine, which is a finish that is molecularly attached through the physical vapor deposit process, Jeffers says. “It creates a brilliant finish on a surface which is four times harder than traditional polished brass,” he says. Its finish is tarnish-free and it was made not to corrode or discolor. It can be cleaned with most household cleaners and it resists hard water and sea air. “It’s a better product because it gives a smoother, brighter and harder surface than traditional plating,” says Jeffers.

Keeney’s tubular brass products are made from seamless brass tubing that is bent, polished, swaged, threaded and plated. Its wide assortment of plastic products is produced by the company’s 32 injection molding machines that operate 24 hours every day, Jeffers says. “We use robotics and conveyer systems in our manufacturing operations in order to maximize efficiencies and minimize cost. All of these benefits are passed along to our customers.”

Keeney understands the intricacies and challenges of tight time constraints in the construction business and has created several ordering, shipping, and delivery-expediting processes to accommodate its customers’ immediate needs, Jeffers says. “Our Hot Rush Term is used when an order needs to be shipped faster than our standard lead times.” On any emergency request received before 11 a.m. EST, Keeney can provide same-day service, providing stock is available and special handling is not required. Although Keeney accommodates customers’ requests for specific carriers, the company tries to ship at the lowest available rate on freight-allowed orders.

Keep it Flowing
Quarter-turn Keeney products are well-engineered from brass-forged bodies and solid chrome-plated brass balls for superior functionality. “We make all our valve bodies and components using CNC machines and they are designed to our company’s engineered tolerances and specifications,” Jeffers says. Flow rates on these products are 20 percent higher than ASME 112.18.1 M minimum standards, he adds. Most of Keeney’s quarter-turn valves are available with IAPMO and CSA approvals.

The valves’ O-rings are designed to be used at working temperatures ranging between minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit and 250 degrees Fahrenheit and Teflon seats have a melting point of 621 degrees Fahrenheit. These valves are available in more than 50 different configurations and they are 100-percent pressure-leak tested.

Keeney water supply connectors – many available with IAPMO and CSA approvals – are constructed of high-quality materials and manufactured to the strictest engineering tolerances and specifications. Connectors are available in stainless steel and vinyl and come in a wide array of configurations to meet just about any customer requirement. Keeney connectors use only solid brass inserts and nitrite cone washers.

Jeffers says the areas of business promising the most growth for Keeney over the next few years are in the tubular products and water supply products lines. “The reason is because of the increased demand we are experiencing,” he adds.

Keeney’s plans for future development include continued growth “through our ability to read and anticipate market trends and customer needs.” Keeney sales representatives are instrumental in that they bring back information on what they hear from Keeney customers. “They tell us what the customers want and then our executive team decides if there is a possible market for new products – so we really listen to what our customers need and we try to respond to those needs by developing products to meet the requirements of the market,” Jeffers concludes.

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