Elasto-Valve acquires giant autoclave
Elasto-Valve has two smaller autoclaves that are used to bake and meld together layers of rubber at high temperatures and pressures to form a final product, but they weren’t big enough to finish some of the products manufactured by the company.
“Some of our products are so large that we build them here, but the final curing process for the rubber had to be done down south where there’s a machine big enough to do it for us,” said Jim Allman, manager of engineering at Elasto-Valve.
“It will also afford us the opportunity to farm out the machine to other local companies.”
The new autoclave can produce temperatures of up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, and is designed to handle pressures up to 100 pounds per square inch, although Allman doesn’t think it will ever be used at these extremes.
As far as he knows, it is the biggest autoclave in the region.
The machine is so well engineered that a single person can swing open its five and a half ton door with minimal effort, he said.
To make room for the autoclave, Elasto-Valve is expanding its Sudbury location by 6,000 square feet. The expansion was to be completed in March, and the autoclave in use a few weeks later.
The new space will also house a boiler and compressor that are currently outside, as well as more manufacturing and office space. The company currently has 40 employees, but Allman expects more employees to be required as a result of the expansion.
The valves, joints and sensors manufactured by Elasto-Valve are sold to the mining, pulp and paper, food processing, waste treatment and power generation industries.
They take advantage of the unique properties of rubber to modulate or curtail the flow of material through pipes and to absorb the stresses and movements caused by thermal fluctuations.
Elasto-Valve has developed a good reputation for custom work, said Allman.
“Because we’re not too large a company, we’re a little more flexible in our ability to take on a lot of custom work and handle applications that some of our competitors might not go after simply because it doesn’t fall within their normal product line.”
The company has also developed a strong export base with customers in Chile, Australia, the United Kingdom, the U.S. and South Africa.
“China is also big for us right now. We’re selling a lot of different products to municipal waste water plants and power plants. There’s just such massive growth over there.”
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