Selas Corporation of America is a diversified firm with international operations and sales that engages in the design, development, engineering and manufacturing of a range of products. Headquartered in Dresher, Pa., with subsidiaries in Minnesota, Ohio, California, France, Germany and Japan, the company operates directly or through subsidiaries in three business segments.
Several manufacturing segments operate under the Selas name. The Heat Technology segment designs and manufactures specialized industrial heat processing systems for the aluminum and glassware industries worldwide, and replacement parts for steel aluminum, glass and other manufacturers worldwide. The Precision Miniature Medical and Electronic Products segment designs and manufactures micro miniature components, systems and molded plastic parts primarily for the hearing instrument manufacturing industry and also for the electronics, telecommunications, computer and medical equipment industries. The company’s Tire Holders, Lifts and Related Products segment manufactures products primarily based on cable winch designs for use as original equipment by the pick-up truck and minivan segment of the automotive industry.
Says company President and CEO Mark S. Gorder, 2001 marked the beginning of an important transition period for Selas. At the annual shareholders’ meeting, he put forth a new roadmap for company growth. “I asked the Board of Directors to share management’s vision of building a Selas that was focused around its two business segments: Precision Miniature Medical Electronics Products and Heat Technology,” he said. Selas’ future, he says, will be “built around the product lines of Precision Miniature Medical and Electronic Products business segment.”
Gorder adds that the company’s hearing health area “will continue to move from being a leading supplier of electro mechanical components to a leading supplier of hearing aid amplifier assemblies and systems. In the coming months, Gorder says, “we will be introducing several new digital hearing aid amplifier assemblies for key hearing health customers. In addition, the professional audio communication device segment will grow due to new products we will introduce for the fire, police and safety markets. With the focus on homeland security in the wake of the Sept. 11 attack on the United States, these customers are looking for ways to improve their communications technology.”
Small Start, Big Growth
The expectations are high for a company that has the distinction of being one of the world’s oldest heating technology companies, and perhaps the most widespread. Selas passed its 100th birthday six years ago, and has had a presence in this country for about 75 of those years. These facts portray the vast experience that Selas brings to its market in the art and science of making heat (or flames).
Founded in 1896 in Germany, Selas began life by producing gas-powered street lamps and gas heating equipment. The company accumulated knowledge and experience in heating over the ensuing decades, and its products grew increasingly sophisticated as a result. It opened its U.S. office in Philadelphia in the late 1920s; in the 1950s, the U.S. headquarters moved to nearby Dresher, Pa. Today, this site turns out low-NOx burners for petrochemical plants, landfill blending systems that function as alternative fuel providers, brazing systems for joining metals and metallurgical heat-treating furnaces. These products also are offered through the company’s subsidiary in Rotingen, Germany (Selas Waermetechnik gmbh) and in Tokyo, Japan (Nippon-Selas).
Selas’ U.S. presence now includes two other locations. RTI Hearing, its hearing aid division, is located in Minnesota. Duerr Manufacturing in Ohio is its automobile parts division.
Over the years, Selas grew inter-nationally as well. Today, the company has a branch location in Paris, called Selas SA, which produces large engineering furnaces such as galvanizing furnaces and annealing furnaces. French subsidiary, CFR ERMAT, makes glass tempering furnaces and aluminum heat-treating furnaces, the latter of which are used in aerospace applications. Selas Italy, based in Milan, manufactures furnaces for the processing of glass and fiberglass.
Selas currently numbers 500+ employees worldwide, 300+ in the company’s U.S. facilities. For the heating equipment, its customer base includes petrochemical refiners and manufacturers, steel producers, the aerospace industry and the glass industry.
The Dresher factory manufactures one of the industry’s most highly regarded lines of heating equipment. Selas’ combustion controllers are equipped with PosiMix® mixing valves to provide precision premix systems for blending fuel gas and air. Suitable for most fuels, these products provide the maximum in combustion efficiency by mixing the fuel with room air and compressing this mixture to deliver a precise, preset gas-to-air ratio at uniform pressure to the burners.
Selas’ gas blender valve accurately blends gas and air at a constant pressure in applications such as stand-by fuel systems, utility peak shaving, natural gas trim blend systems, fuel gas stabilization, propane/air systems, landfill gas blending systems and biogas blending systems. With a full floating adjustable design, each valve handles flow rates up to 155,000 cubic feet per hour. It’s also designed to work on available gas pressure.
The Duradiant® line includes furnace burners that beam radiant heat directly to the work piece without flame impingent; the patented K9208 burner for petrochemical applications, offering easy furnace wall mounting and burner servicing without the need to shut it down, and a wide array of open burners which can be mounted in any position for a wide range of non-furnace applications. The fully flexible K9208 is made without ceramic burner blocks or ceramic sleeves, provides quick and trouble-free ignition, and includes nozzle mixing to permit a wide turndown range.
Selas also markets a line of ultralow-NOx burners. These burners satisfy the stringent regulations now prevailing around the world for low-NOx emissions from petrochemical furnaces. Their flat flame provides more uniform heating, even with a burner cup, and extends the life of the tubes. They are suitable for furnaces with brick or fiber walls of varying thicknesses, and are easy to install in new furnaces or conversions. In commercial ethylene crackers, customers have reported NOx emissions of 25 ppm and lower temperature applications emissions as low as 10 ppm.
Areas of Excellence
One area in which Selas excels is control and measurement products. Its Series F Flo-Scope® line of flow meters read flow rates of air and gases in both English and metric units, and are engineered for high accuracy, improved repeatability and precise control over the entire meter range.
The Selas Flashback Control Products protect personnel, equipment and processes while fulfilling standard insurance requirements for premixed fuel gas combustion systems. These products feature an automatic fire check, which confines a flashback at a flame screen until heat sensors can trigger the closure of the valve; its blowout feature protects the combustion controller or blower from excessive pressure in the combustion piping, which can be caused by fire inside the pipe, and retards any backward flame propagation.
Selas’ key products in BTU monitors and controls are the Raw-Gas Qual-O-Rimeter® and the Complete-Mix Qual-O-Rimeter®. The former, which is targeted at gas blending systems and fuel monitoring applications, measures and adjusts the quality of the raw fuel gas for processes that depend on the stability of the fuel. The Complete-Mix product works in air-gas premixing systems to monitor and adjust the combustible premix, which it does through sensing all of the variables.
The company is considered the world’s leader in lines for processing steel strips, annealing and coating. These lines come with a clear, functional design which involves minimal energy consumption and environmental impact, fast response to production changes, the highest strip surface quality and easy operation. This family of products includes continuous annealing lines, continuous galvanizing lines, direct-fired furnaces, radiant tube heating lines and cooling lines. Selas also offers furnaces for annealing, painting, blueing and strip edge heating. Its other equipment includes coating pots, galvannealing systems, final cooling systems and automatic zinc ingot loading systems. The company also develops new products for this line through computer analysis of existing equipment.
Selas also has achieved global leadership in lines for the bending and tempering of glass. Its architectural glass systems come in modular designs, allowing for greater versatility. These include horizontal systems, which allow the tempering of flat glass sheets from 3 to 19 millimeters with maximum dimensions of 2,400-by-4,000 millimeters, and vertical systems, which can process identical sheets but with lower production rates and a smaller investment.
The company’s automotive glass systems meet all the critical consider-ations in producing glass for the cars of the future. Its products include bending and tempering plants for shaping complex backlites and sidelites, and continuous lines for bending laminated glass which produce up to 240 pieces per hour. This latter grouping is highly versatile, capable of processing car windshields and backlites, and bus and truck windshields in small series.
Among Selas’ most recent triumphs is its installation of a furnace at VEBA, a German manufacturer of ethylene. Used to heat ethylene, the furnace operates at 60 percent of the maximum knock level allowed by German authorities. In the United States, Selas recently installed a fuel blending system at a wastewater treatment facility. This system uses the energy from the facility’s off-gas to create electricity. With alternative fuel sources growing in demand, Selas is aggressively pursuing more business among wastewater plants and landfills down the road.