Not sitting stagnant and having a laser focus on creating value is the secret to the 69-year success of Carver Pump, a world recognized leader of centrifugal pump companies in Muscatine, Iowa. The company builds pumps to the most demanding engineering specifications and military standards in the world thanks to operating with some of the most modern manufacturing equipment and pump development software available.
Carver Pump is a family owned, private company started by Roy J. Carver in 1938 and currently run by his son Roy Carver, Jr. From an applications standpoint, Carver Pump has traditionally built pumps for water, oil, and chemicals for both the public and private sectors. Fifty percent of the company’s business comes from industrial companies while the remaining 50 percent comes from the United States Navy. The family has just ushered in the third generation as Roy Carver III recently joined the family business.
This revenue split is unique in the pump industry as most companies either focus on the private or public sector – but not on both. This ability is attributable to the flexibility of the 87-person company just 25 miles southwest of the Quad Cities area in Iowa. In addition Randy Siler, Industrial Marketing Manager, says Carver Pumps consistently exceeds expectations because of the flexibility the larger pump manufacturers can only dream of approaching.
The flexibility allows Carver to develop the pumps to the customer’s specifications without inordinately extending the delivery times. This comes in particularly handy for the military since all the work Carver does for the Navy is on specification. The company maintains base materials on site and minimal inventories so it can engineer and produce the pump as specified by the customer.
“We can turn out the product faster than the big boys while still maintaining high quality standards,” Siler said. “Our real strength is our ability to create value for our customers.”
All the work is done in-house in the 120,000-square-foot manufacturing facility and Siler says all materials and vendors supporting Carver are from within the United States. Carver was also one of the first American pump companies to attain ISO: 9001 certification, the most recognized standard for quality in the world. The product line includes both horizontal and vertical end suction, multistage, axial split case, self-priming, API, and solids-handling pumps that all carry the same Carver trademark: lasting value from solid, straightforward designs engineered to provide many years of service.
The pumps are also backed by unparalleled aftermarket support through a network of 70 stocking distributors, manufacturer’s representatives and certified service centers throughout the world. This allows Carver to have a local sales and service presence any where in the world no matter where the pump may be installed.
THE PRODUCT LINE
From an application standpoint Carver has traditionally focused on the industrial and marine markets but those markets are by no means the only ones in which the company is active. The company has five standard products for the industrial general services sector including the GH series, Carver’s horizontal, end suction pump series for handling water, oils, and chemicals in marine, process, and general industrial applications. Hydraulic performance extends to 2,500 gallons per minute and is covered by 28 sizes in cast iron, bronze fitted, stainless fitted and all 316SS construction. The pump is available as either a frame mounted (GHF) or close coupled (GHC) unit. The GH is based on the same product platform as the company’s vertical pumps and shares many of the same parts with them. For added simplicity, the entire series is covered by only three bearing frames and can be had in whole pump or modular kit form.
The industrial services sector also includes the GVS Series, Carver’s new vertical wet pit pump for handling water, acid, and alkaline solutions in both general service and process industry applications. Hydraulic performance extends to 2,500 gallons per minute at 1,750 revolutions per minute and is covered by 24 sizes in cast iron, stainless fitted and all 316SS construction. The basic GVS design consists of a pumping (wet) end, bearing frame assembly, drive shaft, motor mounting bracket, top plate, and discharge piping. All models feature external impeller adjustment, bearings above the liquid surface, no mechanical seals to maintain, full compatibility with standard NEMA .C. face motors, and some of the most efficient hydraulics in the industry. These units are manufactured in lengths up to 22 feet.
The GVC series is part of the industrial services sector and is a vertical pump series for handling fluids at moderate to high flow rates. The standard design is a cantilever style unit, with a top pull-out option also available. The GVC is based on the same product platform as the vertical sump and horizontal, end suction pumps. Hydraulic performance extends to 2,500 gallons per minute at 1,750 revolutions per minute and is covered by 25 sizes in cast iron stainless fitted and all 316SS construction. Both the cantilevered and top pull-out designs are offered in two standard column depths. The standard column setting has a 12-inch drop between the bottom of the mounting plate and back of the pump casing. The extended column setting, on the other hand, is twice this length, giving a 24-inch drop between the bottom of the mounting plate and back of the pump casing.
The Marine sector includes military pumps as well as commercial ones. The M Series is Carver’s end suction pump for handling freshwater, seawater, and light hydrocarbons in commercial marine and naval applications. Conforming to the requirements of American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), including the Navy supplement, hydraulic performance extends to 5,000 gallons per minute and 700 feet of head. Installation can be as either a horizontal close coupled or vertically mounted unit. Designed to meet the military’s needs for a commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) pump, all models are back pull out designs with replaceable wear rings and enclosed impellers dynamically balanced to ANSI S2.19, Grade G6.3 guidelines.
Gaining ground quickly in the industrial services sector is the RS Series multistage pump for medium-to high- pressure applications. The RS Series is a multiple ring section design capable of producing flows in excess of 1,400 gallons per minute and discharge pressures up to 1,500 PSI. Available in five sizes, this series includes a product lubricated radial bearing with two matched angular contact ball bearings to handle thrust, a single mechanical seal on the suction end of the pump and optional cooling features for high temperature applications. These features make the RS Series an outstanding choice for boiler fee and reverse osmosis applications.
The Maxum series pump is Carver’s API 610 Process pump for handling water, acids, and hydrocarbons in refining and process industry applications. Offered as either a horizontal or vertical in-line mounted unit, the Maxum can be motor, engine, or turbine driven. It is also available in high temperature, centerline mounted, and magnetic drive versions as well. The hydraulic performance extends to over 9,000 gallons per minute and 720 feet of head. Operating at speeds up to 3,500 revolutions per minute, this range is covered by 33 sizes in steel, 12 percent chrome fitted, 12 chrome or CD4MCu construction.
Siler said 60 to 70 percent of Carver’s business is repeat and attributes the company’s success to the “robust design of the product” and the company’s drive for continuous improvement.
“We are never stagnant in the development of our products and are always looking for new ways to improve our processes,” he said.
In 1938 the company began as an industrial provider and turned to providing the military with pumps during World War II. It has been a major builder for the Navy but also services the following commercial markets: agricultural, municipal, recreational, automotive, OEM, general manufacturing, chemical processing and refining, mining, pulp and paper and power generation.
The company has 10 sales people and works primarily through distribution. Most of its business comes from North America including Canada and Mexico. Siler said the company puts a heavy emphasis on training and on-site support, which is another way Carver differentiates itself from the competition. He also said the company’s longevity is directly related to the culture of fostering a relationship with its suppliers, vendors, and customers. To Carver Pump the products it manufactures are not commodity items but serve an integral part of its customers’ operations and are treated with the respect and attention that such an important aspect of the business commands.