Haskel is the world leader in the manufacture of high pressure equipment with pressures to 150,000 psi (approx 1,000,000 kPa). Haskel pneumatic pumps, gas boosters, air amplifiers, and high pressure systems, as well as their BuTech line of high pressure valves, fittings and tubing, are used throughout the industrial world for generating, storing, and controlling high-pressure gases and liquids. Offering both standard and customized products, Haskel is supported by a global network of subsidiary offices and distributors.
With over 65 years of experience in hydraulic and pneumatic engineering, at the core of Haskel’s success is the company’s commitment to improving innovations in high pressure technologies and to solving problems at their root cause. With the implementation of a “Continuous Improvement” business model, the company is striving to provide products of the highest quality at the lowest price. Their goal is to maintain a strong focus on customer relationships by identifying and solving problems to increase efficiency and reduce waste.
George Volk, Director of Sales & Marketing for Haskel explains the importance of treating a problem, such as a failed unit, as a golden opportunity to locate the root cause of a problem and learn about the issues that can be improved upon, so that problems do not recur. Haskel also believes that remaining focused on their market demands and ensuring that they remain on top of the innovations, is very important to their success in the field and so it continues to invest in technology to ensure that they maintain a leading edge in the industry.
Their latest innovations in high pressure fluid and gas handling equipment includes the qualification of BuTech subsea valves to the rigorous standards of API 6A, 19th ed., ISO 10423:2003 pr2 Annex F/PSL3G. “We have been doing a lot of API (American Petroleum Institute) qualification of our valves with some relatively stringent demands that will set us apart.” Having qualified eight valve configurations over the last couple of years, Volk admitted that it was difficult to achieve but that the improvements were necessary for the success of their designs. In order to withstand the demanding temperature scale from -18°F (-28°C), far colder than the ocean itself, Haskel decided to create new designs without elastomers and only use plastic and metal type seals. “Elastomers all generally have a life-span to them and right now, we are asked to guarantee a valve life of 20 years. Next it will be 30 years, at the bottom of the ocean,” said Volk. “This will allow for deeper depths and the major exploration is going to be in deeper sea. We feel as though we are going to get more involved in subsea valve requirements, because it is a huge growth area.”
A tour of Haskel’s 9000sq/ft. (approx 830 sqm) facility reveals that even the size of the plant reflects their business model of efficiency, by ensuring that operators have less ground to cover and that materials are within a closer proximity. This system is a facet of their Continuous Improvement program which is primarily focused on customer satisfaction and product quality.
Dean McCarthy, Haskel’s Manufacturing Director, stresses the importance of maintaining an organized working environment. Through the use of tool and material organizers, safety shut off switches, protective shields and proper equipment training, Haskel can ensure safety in the workplace despite working with some fairly dangerous testing procedures and manufacturing machinery. McCarthy believes that this commitment to safety in turn, promises efficient operation, which helps to keep their customers happy with quality and service.
“We go out once a year and actually ask our customers how they feel about us in terms of quality, delivery, response. And we also have external assessors that come in and rate us on different elements of our Continuous Improvement program. This is a highly quality-driven manufacturing process. When there are defects, we go through a process called relentless root cause analysis (RRCA) and mistake proofing (MP), so when we do have a defect, we take it and we analyze to find the reason for failure and until we understand that, we don’t move any further. We decide if it was a real failure; was it a customer impression or an application issue, is it something engineering has to get involved in, was it the assembly, etc. and what do we have to change to make sure that this is not a problem going forward?”
“Our customers are the key to this whole thing,” he said. “We wouldn’t be here without them.”