Problem solving and production for fluid engineering
Flowplant supply over 250 pumps every year throughout their distributor network, so when they came to us in 2018 looking for help in developing their diaphragm line we knew they would need support in both problem-solving and production.
Flowplant have been manufacturing and supplying pumps for over 50 years and with 70% of their products exported to over 80 different countries, they have an enviable reputation for innovation. With customers in industries such as food processing, telecoms and oil & gas, providing high-pressure, high-volume systems that are reliable is paramount. Some of the best-known brands in high pressure fluid engineering are owned and manufactured by Flowplant, including Harben and Aqua.
Steve Smith, Flowplant’s Director of Engineering, explained that the catalyst for approaching us was that their existing supplier had been through a re-organisation and as a consequence had lost a lot of in-house technical expertise. Specialist support from suppliers is critical to Flowplant because one of their key attributes is the drive for innovation and continual improvement. A strong relationship with supplier experts helps them refine and develop all areas of their products and components – including diaphragms.
In the absence of support from their existing supplier, Flowplant got in touch with us. We reviewed all their rubber parts and were able to identify a number of areas of improvement that we could follow up, including an upgrade to the material being used and the processing conditions.
Steve asked us to produce tools and requalify parts for one initial diaphragm type, where we could demonstrate the highest gains. This enabled them to build new products and service existing units with added confidence and improved product functionality. Over the following months we addressed each of their rubber parts in turn and Flowplant re-tooled all their rubber components with us for full production supply.
A safe pair of hands
We asked Steve about their first encounter with us and how it was critical in cementing their confidence in our abilities, ‘We came and spoke to Izaak and the team to go through our requirements… you were a great help, you made it look so easy. Sitting with your team was like being in a safe pair of hands. We walked out of that meeting and said to one another that if they can’t enhance our products, nobody can. It was really good. You answered our questions without hesitation and asked the right ones of us.’
They say that there’s no such thing as bad publicity, but rubber products are often a component within a sub-assembly, not the star of the manufacturing show – and so when they come to the attention of the Engineering Director it is more likely than not because there is a challenge to overcome. Therefore, we take it as a huge compliment when the Director of Engineering says this: ‘Rubber just doesn’t come across my radar anymore, I don’t need to get involved. I’d recommend Martin’s thoroughly. The knowledge is there and delivery is good. If someone wants a rubber product then Martin’s is the right place to come.’