When Continental Manufacturing Company was founded in 1956, its main product was the Tufline® fluorocarbon sleeved plug valve. In 1969, when the company’s name changed to the Xomox Corporation, Tufline® was still the No. 1 product. Today, it’s the core of an extended line that now includes ball valves, butterfly valves and check valve designs.
Over the years, Xomox also developed the Matryx® brand of pneumatic actuators, which go into the production of value-added automated valve products. In 1980, the Cincinnati-based valve manufacturer was acquired by Emerson Electric Company, the Fortune 125 manufacturer based in St. Louis.
This past June, Xomox was brought under the umbrella of Crane Company, the manufacturer of engineered industrial products. Crane announced in May that its purchase of Xomox would be completed by the end of the second quarter. Based in Stamford, Conn., Crane is a diversified global organization of more than 30 companies, including units that make valves and provide related services. Its annual sales exceed $2.3 billion. Commenting on the advantages this change will bring, Jim Tucker, vice president of sales and marketing, states, “Crane’s acquisition provides great opportunities for pull-through business and adds complementary products that should substantially add to top-line growth.”
Now a leading manufacturer of quarter-turn valves for process-industry applications, Xomox is itself an international business with projected revenues of $155 million for 2001. Headquarters and manufacturing facilities are still in Cincinnati. Additional operations are located in Lindau, Germany; Chihuahua, Mexico; and Szekesfehervar, Hungary. The company is also part of a joint venture in Tiruchirapalli, India. Xomox employs approximately 1,300 people worldwide.
Standards and Practices
From its beginnings, Xomox has maintained the highest quality standards in designing and manufacturing valve products. Currently, all major Xomox facilities are certified to ISO 9000, and the design centers in Cincinnati and Lindau are certified to ISO 9001. Xomox valves meet ANSI, JIS and DIN standards for global applications. Its satellite facilities, such as the 22 service centers, operate under the auspices of the primary locations and follow their practices and procedures. Steve Kane, director of U.S. sales, says that “due to the severe consequences of valve failure, Xomox’s high-quality products are of prime importance and have earned the confidence of our customers, and distinguish us from the competition.”
Xomox’s position as a world leader in designing and producing quarter-turn on/off process valves in alloy and fluorocarbon-lined materials has its roots in the company’s innovative use of Teflon® as the primary seal in the valve. Developed and introduced by DuPont, Teflon®’s non-stick properties enable a valve to open and close without lubrication, while providing maximum sealing protection against both in-line and external leakage.
Marketed as the Tufline® brand, the sleeved plug valves found ready markets in the chemical, pharmaceutical, petrochemical, pulp and paper, hydrocarbon processing and other process industries. Xomox subsequently developed fluorocarbon-lined valves for severe chemical applications. These products proved to be cost-effective alternatives to high-alloy valves.
Xomox’s ongoing technological research also resulted in the introduction of its high-performance butterfly valve line. Eventually, the company developed a full line of soft-seat and metal-seat designs for standard processes and high-temperature and fire-tested applications. These specialty valves are widely used in the chemical, pulp and paper, corn-processing and related process industries.
Always looking for ways to respond to customers’ unique requirements for valve products, Xomox formed the Special Products Group to design, manufacture and modify valves for unusual, complex and especially difficult situations. This service is founded on the premise that a processor’s investment in a custom valve will pay off with greatly extended service life, improved overall operating efficiency and reduced maintenance requirements.
As for the Matryx® product line, tests have confirmed that its rack-and-pinion actuators provide more consistent torque and longer service life than virtually any other actuator. Matryx® vane actuators have been shown to produce a high ratio of torque output per pound of weight. Both types of actuators offer unique and patented features not available from other manufacturers.
Process for Growth
Turning to the subject of new products, Bob Neal, ball valve product manager, notes that while Xomox’s top-selling product is still the sleeved plug valve, the company believes its major growth opportunity is with its newly introduced process ball valve. “Xomox recently introduced a metal ball valve designed specifically for the process valve industry,” Neal says. “The innovative, patented S2 sealing system incorporated in our new ball valve provides end users with unequalled stem-sealing capability with documented performance (under actual service conditions) of more than 3 million cycles without measurable leakage.”
Referring to the marketing implications of this product, Thomas Glomski, marketing manager, comments, “The addition of the process ball valve significantly expands our served market, and enables us to offer our customers a complete line of quarter-turn process valves.” In discussing future developments, Glomski says that Xomox plans to add other new products and services that will enable the company to expand into less traditional markets and better serve existing customers.
Regarding the company’s manufacturing initiatives, Bill Metz, vice president of operations, says, “Xomox realizes the need to continually improve. As such, Xomox is committed in its pursuit of lean manufacturing to better serve our customers and to drive productivity improvements. We initiated this effort one year ago in our U.S. facility and have seen tremendous results. Over the next few years, we plan to expand lean manufacturing worldwide.”
The Xomox Web site offers current and potential customers the opportunity to match their valve requirements with the manufacturer’s products and engineering capabilities. The site also states that the company will be the “quarter-turn valve experts for the 21st century and beyond.” Xomox’s history and its new association with Crane indicate that the valve manufacturer is ready to direct all its resources to meet the opportunities ahead. Teflon® is a registered trademark of DuPont.