Volume 5 | Issue 7 | Year 2002

When only the best-in-class repeatedly come knocking at your door, you know you are doing lots of things right in producing superior and innovative products. They know this very well at Beaird Industries, Inc., where the largest wind energy developer in the nation has been a frequent customer over the last couple of years.

Not bad for a company that started in 1918 with an initial investment of $500 by founder J.B. Beaird, who had a mission and vision to serve the fledgling oil and gas industry. Today, that dream and that humble investment propel this avant-garde company, employing 550 people who all work together to produce innovative products serving the military and companies in industries involved with electric power generation, petrochemicals, and oil and gas refining. Some of these products manufactured at Beaird’s Shreveport, La., 700,000-square-foot facility. The is one of the world’s largest and most modern facility for fabricating heavy steel products, including pressure vessels, gas turbine casings, heat exchangers, water distillation equipment, wind turbine towers, steam panels, and other large-machined weldments.

Innovation Generation
In the past few years there have been changes at Beaird, including a change in ownership. “We are now a private company which was purchased by an investor group led by Don Carlin, CEO, in December 2001,” says Alberto Garcia, vice president of sales and marketing. “Mr. Carlin has a strong vision for Beaird Industries to be a significant player in heavy manufacturing in the U.S. Many companies in this area have closed their doors for good within the last five years. But we are a survivor and one of the reasons is because we consider ourselves not only a high-quality manufacturer, but a company providing value through our engineered solutions.”

One of the first moves under the new ownership was to create five business units. “Our organization is more focused now because of these units and our managers are accountable for their actions and I think this is an important part of Beaird’s success story,” says Garcia, adding that the design and manufacturing process now embraces a team approach. “This allows us to develop products in the most cost-effective way possible for the benefit of our customers,” he says, noting that a strong management team supports the five business units.

The Industrial Products unit, under the leadership of Aldwin Whittlesy, produces ASME Code Vessels for power generation as well as the oil and gas industry, and MRI casings.

The Maxim Evaporators unit is directed by Len Maliszewski. This group produces desalination units for producing fresh water for oil and gas platforms, ships and land-based units, and fabricated products for ships sailing under the U.S. Navy flag. “We have a rich tradition of producing components for the U.S. Navy for use on aircraft carriers,” says Garcia.

The Wind Energy Towers unit is led by John Maxey, while Maxim(r) Silencers is led by Emile Buccola. This latter unit is responsible for the design and manufacture of noise-attenuation and heat-recovery equipment for large engines and small turbines. Beaird’s Contract Products unit is led by Mark Mann and is responsible for designing and manufacturing casings for large gas turbines, large weldments, and heat recovery units for large combined-cycle gas turbines. This unit also handles special applications.
One of the company’s primary focuses now, so fitting for our times, is on the renewable energy market. Beaird’s core competency in designing wind towers is one of the reasons the largest wind energy developer in the U.S. chose the company to design and manufacture wind turbine towers for multiple projects. “This highly respected developer of wind energy built more than 50 percent of the country’s wind energy generation capacity,” notes Garcia.

Many industry experts recognize Beaird’s competency. In 2000, Beaird received the prestigious ‘Fabricated Product of the Year Award’ from the Steel Plate Fabricators Association for its 50-meter cylindrical wind tower. “We are the only U.S. manufacturer of wind towers who actually designs them as well as manufactures them,” Garcia says of the 50- to 80-meters-high towers. Beaird wind towers are certified by Hamburg, Germany-based Germanischer Lloyd, the world standard certifying agency for wind energy.

Beaird’s involvement in fresh-water generation from sea water is well-known throughout the world. Its evaporators use waste heat to boil the water, which is then condensed to produce distilled water. “Our evaporators are used in offshore oil platforms, ships, and in coastal areas where fresh water is needed for drinking or for industrial purposes,” Garcia says.

Another segment Beaird focuses on is the biomass market, using wood chips or solid waste from waste-treatment facilities, to generate electricity through burning the gasified biomass products in an internal combustion engine.

Certifiably Registered
Quality shows at ISO-registered Beaird Industries, where the company’s quality assurance system maintains certification and registration to the highest of world standards, including the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code, ANSI/NB-23 Repairs and Alterations of Pressure Vessels ‘R’ Stamp, Chinese Safety Quality License ‘CM’ Stamp, and the AAR-M-1003 Manufacture of Tank Cars Class ‘A’ standard.

Quality is more than a mumbled buzzword at Beaird and it has its 1999 Steel-Plate Fabricated Product of the Year Award to show for its steadfast dedication to constant quality. This award recognized Beaird’s demethanizer, weighing in at an impressive one-million-plus pounds. This product now is an integral part of Alliance Pipeline’s gas-processing facility in Chicago.

Clients rely on Beaird’s value-added philosophy, including engineering services providing total engineered systems for modularized fabrications and process and mechanical design, testing, and field service of proprietary equipment. Engineering teams use a full complement of state-of-the-art development tools, including ANSYS Finite Element techniques, 3-D parametric design and 2-D/3-D CAD drafting, including pressure-vessel interference checking codes, automated COMPRESS vessel design codes, and a wide range of proprietary computer programs.

Innovation in design includes not only how products are designed, but what kinds of materials Beaird will choose to fabricate those advanced designs. Some of these materials include carbon steel, alloy steel, chrome moly alloys, stainless steel, clad steel, overlay, aluminum alloys, copper nickel, MONEL(r) nickel-copper alloys, and titanium.

It’s easy to see there’s a lot going on under the Beaird roof, where annual growth is expected to range between 20 and 30 percent. “We are participating in a world-market economy and in order to be successful we have to compete by being more than a manufacturing company,” Garcia explains. “We provide engineered solutions to our customers and, at the end of the day, the market requires that we do all of these things cheaper, faster, and better than anyone else through constantly developing innovative products and solutions.”

Winds of Change
Beaird has its sights set on a bright future in developing newer and better solutions for the renewable energy market. “There is no question that some of our most significant new growth will be in the area of wind energy and other renewable energy markets,” Garcia says. He adds that an energy bill before Congress will extend the production tax credit option through the end of 2006. “So that extension will allow the industry to continue working to reduce costs, which means this industry will be very competitive with any other form of energy out there.”

Garcia likes to remind customers that “we are not really in the wind tower business, but in the KW-hour-producing business, because at the end of the day that is what our customers deliver to their own end users – kilowatt hours – and we need to develop methods and products to make that more cost-effective so our customers can be successful. We will maintain our leadership role in wind energy and other market areas by always being the innovator and by continually thinking outside of the box.”

Previous articleCircuit Makers
Next articleBright Ideas