Volume 11 | Issue 2 | Year 2008

From cutting pipes 5,000 feet down on the ocean floor to developing sophisticated valve turning technology, E.H. Wachs Company is an organization that is built on a firm foundation of research and engineering excellence. The Lincolnshire, Ill., company is a recognized leader throughout the world for cold cutting technologies applied remotely for pipes, tubes and valves.
In an industry where the wrong valve turn, wrongly cut pipe, or spark can literally blow up a structure, having the right tool can mean the difference between life and death. E.H. Wachs, in business since 1883, develops special solutions for unique applications by designing custom equipment for its customers’ specific circumstances.

John Geis, vice president of marketing, says the company works with its customers to design, engineer and manufacture innovative solutions for unique machining needs that aren’t addressed with conventional, off-the-shelf products.

“Our engineers partner with our customers from the time they identify technology gaps in equipment capabilities through project completion,” he said. “We are the only ones in the industry that can take a machine product from conception to design to engineering to completion.” E.H. Wachs accomplishes this feat with “near genius level” mechanical engineers and an approach Geis calls “on-demand engineering.” He said the company modifies existing machines to handle various applications that arise. Whenever a product gap is found within the modified machine and the application, the engineers get to work.

Geis said there have been numerous occasions when engineers, while on a job site, will steal away for a weekend and design, engineer and manufacture the proper adjustment to a modified machine and complete the task.

“It can takes us 48 hours to make various modifications to our existing machines and meet the customer’s requirement where it would be weeks for other firms,” he said.

Whether the application is in harsh, sub-sea conditions, in a plant with minimal operating clearance or in a hazardous or explosive environment, E.H. Wachs can develop a custom engineered solution that meets the customer’s distinctive requirements.

The headquarters facility houses the manufacturing plant for all domestic and international products as well as the general administrative and sales offices for both the domestic and international operations. This location is responsible for wholly manufacturing 26 product lines. Each machine manufactured in all product lines undergoes operational tests before being made generally available.

The company has a worldwide distribution network of well-trained dealers; a growing line of machines designed to fill the needs of a changing industry, and a dedicated group of employees producing high-quality products within a modern and recently expanded manufacturing facility. The domestic sales organization of the Wachs Company markets its products in the United States and Canada while the international sales organization markets the products in 79 countries.

E.H. Wachs was recently recognized as one of 10 machine shops in the country to perform at consistently high levels by a benchmarking study conducted by American Machinist’s. Results from the study provide a standard set of metrics that shops can use to measure day-to-day success for comparison against a national database of machine shops.

PIPE MACHINERY
Since 1940, the E.H. Wachs Company has provided cold cutting solutions to the oil, gas and water industries. The company offers a full line of pipe construction and maintenance machines including new highly efficient portable pipe cutting and weld preparation machines. The cold cutting machines employ lathe, milling, sawing and wheel cutting technologies. These machines offer the absolute precision required to get the job done quickly and correctly.

Advantages like cold cutting, simultaneous cutting and weld preparation are ideal anywhere machine durability, fast setup, easy operation and precision cuts and bevels are required. These products serve industries like construction work on pipelines, oil platforms, shipyards, refineries and power, petrochemical, food, dairy and pharmaceutical plants.

Geis said the company is one of the only providers of pipe cutting machines with valve diagnostics in which the tool reads the contents of the pipes and uploads the information so the operators can know what to expect.

“Our valve diagnostic technologies make it way safer and less dangerous for our customers to work in tough environments,” Geis said.

Additionally Wachs offers full range power units for machine operation, tooling and accessories, portable valve operating equipment, portable vacuum systems, and precision drilling and tapping equipment. The portable valve operating equipment is used to assist in line isolation or valve exercising while the portable vacuum systems are used for clean-up/spill remediation.

From beveling machines designed for single tube replacement and production weld preparation applications to products used for boiler head cutting and boiler environments, Wachs weld preparation products deliver maximum power at a reduced size and weight.

The Wachs end preparation line has been engineered for fast, precision, on-site facing and beveling of light and heavy wall pipe, tube or casing. The machine mandrel and chuck assembly mounts quickly to the pipe and is completely self-centering. The machines are so easy to use and lightweight that one person can set up, operate and prep a 12-inch schedule 80 pipe in less than 20 minutes.

The Wachs end preparation line is ideal for pipe maintenance and construction work thanks to advantages like cold cutting and simultaneous land and bevel generation plus counter boring and flange facing capabilities.

MORE THAN REFINERIES
But Wachs’ products aren’t only for sub-sea or harsh environments borne of large steel rigs and underground pipes. Many high purity industries require a sterile environment necessitating an absolute perfect weld. These industries include semiconductor, aerospace, biotechnology, food, dairy and pharmaceutical, and if the cut or weld is not done correctly and cleanly, impurities will build up leading to tainted foods.

Geis compared such instances to cholesterol build up amid the arteries. Eventually the build up of impurities will cause a problem. That’s where Wachs’ tube cutting and end finishing machines come in, said Geis. Wachs portable tube machines deliver the perfect cut and prep demanded of companies constructing and modifying high purity stainless processing systems.

These products range from hand tensioning systems that centers and squares the tube automatically in seconds to portable electric tube lathes designed for “Clean Room” fabrication and maintenance of high purity tubing systems. The tube lathe series utilize a lathe cutting action, removing material in ribbons to minimize particulate contamination.

Wachs also offers a variety of vacuum systems with many capabilities and component combinations. Whether it’s a valve box, vault and basin clean out, excavation to access service connections, line location or clean up of industrial spills and debris, Wachs makes a versatile, cost-effective system to meet the specific application needs.

INNOVATION LEADS TO DIFFERENT MARKETS
Wachs’ innovative success in product design and manufacturing has allowed it to supply machines and equipment to diverse industries where process piping systems are essential to their operation. These industries require divergent machine tool technology that offers the absolute precision required to get the job done quickly and correctly. From power and petrochemical to semiconductor, food and dairy, Wachs’ wide range of portable tools can be found on all pipe and tube types, sizes and wall thickness.

In the early 1960s, the United States Navy contracted the Wachs Company to design and manufacture a seal weld removal machine for its nuclear shipbuilding program. Since then Wachs has supplied hundreds of specialized and unique machine solutions to the government and military applications. Today, the Wachs Company continues to be a preferred supplier to government entities.

The company has provided solutions for the manufacture, repair and decommissioning of nuclear ships and submarines, fixed test reactors, bomb decommissioning, hazardous chemical containment systems and large-scale portable fueling stations, to name a few.

As a recognized leader in high performance innovative portable cutting and beveling machines for a wide variety of pipe and tube weld preparation applications worldwide, Wachs provides customers with a defect-free product that is delivered on time. As such, the company was awarded an ISO: 9001-2000 Certificate of Registration.

Wachs’ over 120-year success is attributable to the superior performance of its full line of machine tooling that is precisely engineered, high strength, quality cutting tools designed for today’s higher speeds, heavier feed rates and exotic materials. Wachs tooling assures customers of precision, longer life and maximum productivity.