Waterblasting is a technique for cleaning internal and external surfaces, which relies on the sheer force of water from a pressurized source to achieve the desired cleaning effect on the intended surface. Quarries, metal cutting, and other industries also adopt this technique. A highly pressurized and focused stream of water, generally above 10,000 psi, comes from a waterblasting system, including a high-pressure pump, hoses and the proper nozzles. Industrial waterblasting is ideal for cleaning hardened resins, glue, plastics, and other tricky substances that are impossible to clean otherwise. The CEOViews team was with Kerry Siggins, CEO of StoneAge, Inc., to gain insight into the industry and their innovation strategy.
StoneAge, Inc. is the world’s leading manufacturer of waterblast tools and automated solutions for pressures ranging from 2,000 psi to 40,000 psi. StoneAge has over 150 dealers in 47 countries offering industrial, sewer, and coiled tube cleaning products and custom engineered equipment for application-specific challenges. Their products have been an industry standard for over 40 years. They continue to lead the way with tools that advance productivity and hands-free automated equipment that ensures customers complete their waterblasting jobs safely, easily, on time, and on budget. Committed to serving customers as the most responsive company in the waterblast equipment industry, StoneAge offers the best design and manufacturing, productivity, safety, ease of operation and maintenance, value, and quality.
IDEA BEHIND THE SUCCESS
StoneAge was born to solve challenging industry problems and create engaging and rewarding jobs for its employees. Their first product was manufactured and used in the mining industries – a water jet drill used to drill holes for explosives in uranium mining applications. They moved away from mining towards industrial cleaning when, in the late ’70s, the Three Mile Accident halted nuclear power generation, and there was no longer a market for the tool. The founders pivoted when they met an industrial cleaning contractor who said, “If you can drill holes in the rock, you can drill out the fouling in the heat exchanger!” Today, StoneAge is the world’s leading manufacturer of waterblasting tooling and automated equipment for industrial cleaning applications. StoneAge is also an employee-owned company which means that its employees share in its success through an ESOP benefit. They have created a culture where people feel valued and a part of something bigger than themselves where they all feel purpose in their work.
SIGNIFICANCE AND BENEFITS
Every industrial manufacturing facility has production equipment that must be cleaned. The problem is that none of this production equipment is standardized, and cleaning contractors or facility owners never know what they will find when they open a pipe, tank, or heat exchanger. Plus, industrial facilities and plants lose money when their production equipment is down for maintenance. Solving these problems is why StoneAge offers solutions for all cleaning applications found in these facilities. Their products are easy to use and with stand harsh environments, making them the go-to source for waterblasting tooling and automated equipment. StoneAge’s tools are effective, efficient and reliable, and their robotic equipment is safer and helps operators clean faster. Their products allow clients to take on more challenging cleaning applications, reduce safety incidents, and be more profitable. And now StoneAge provides data using their Sentinel Automation Technology, giving cleaning contractors valuable information at their fingertips to make better decisions.
StoneAge prioritizes solving customer problems and creating a workplace where people care deeply about providing great products and excellent service. As employees owners, they are invested in their custom- er’s success, making a significant difference.
The biggest driver of innovation is StoneAge’s clear vision and mission. They know where they want to go and are passionate about solving problems. These two things, combined with the fact that they are all owners, drive innovation at all levels because everyone cares deeply about the current and future success of the company.
One example of their innovative thinking is the acquisition of Breadware, an IoT product development firm based in Reno, Nevada. While Breadware continues to help their clients bring IoT products to life, they also help StoneAge develop new waterblasting technology so StoneAge can bring products to market faster. StoneAge also has a custom engineering division called StoneAge Solutions that develops one-off solutions for unique cleaning applications. Many of their “off the shelf” product ideas have come from this division. They separate research and product development, which helps to explore new ideas without the pressure of turning them into a product.
IMPACT ON CUSTOMERS
StoneAge’s innovation is having a profound impact on its customers. One client who used StoneAge’s Sentinel-enabled heat exchanger cleaning system saw a drastic change in the number of hours required to clean heat exchangers. It usually took them sixteen hours to clean one heat exchanger bundle, but it took less than four hours when using the Sentinel.
Impressed by the results, the client showered praise for the StoneAge team, saying, “StoneAge equipment is reliable and constantly improved. I’ve learned that at present, there is no other supplier who can match StoneAge’s cleaning power.”
StoneAge, Inc. is the world’s leading manufacturer of waterblast tools and automated solutions for pressures ranging from 2,000 psi to 40,000 psi.
Since its founding in 1979, StoneAge has passionately developed waterjet tooling and equipment to solve demanding cleaning applications. Their innovation and product design are based on the application of the waterjet and continue to be, even as they design robotic equipment. From here, they have even greater plans for the future, expanding their Sentinel technology platform and transforming the industry further.