Whether a company’s essential equipment takes up a table top or fills a cavernous production facility, its inner rotating components need protection from airborne contaminants. Equipment that does not have the proper filtration at best will not work properly, and, at worst, will break down completely, causing work delays and a dent in the company’s bottom line.
Solberg Manufacturing’s broad line of filtration and separation products helps ensure equipment is protected and work environments are clean and safe.
Breathers for Gear Boxes, Hydraulic Tanks, and Lubrication Systems
In a lubrication system for rotating equipment, a reservoir holds oil for circulation through the system. The reservoir must be vented to keep excess pressure from building up and causing seals to leak, according to Clint Browning, vice president of Marketing and Sales for Solberg Manufacturing.
“As the oils in the hydraulic tank or rotating equipment’s gearbox change temperature, the system needs to breathe,” Browning said. “When oil gets hot and pressure begins to increase, the system needs to vent out. When oil cools down, the system pulls air in. As the system breathes, our filters allow air to transfer in and out of the system, keeping harmful particulates from entering and oil mist from escaping into the environment.”
“Our breather products allow a lubrication system or gearbox to vent, and in some cases, operate under a slight negative pressure,” he said. “In either case, we also capture any oil mist that’s in the vented air stream, reclaim it, and return it to the lubrication system so oil and oil mist are not exhausted out into the environment. If not captured, oil mist can condense on floors, hand rails, and other surfaces within a facility, creating hazardous and unsafe working conditions.”
Solberg also works with vacuum furnace manufacturers and users, according to Browning.
“We manufacture a full range of inline vacuum pump filters designed to protect pumps from harmful contaminants given off during metal melting and refining processes,” he said. “The heat-treat furnaces use vacuum to remove impurities from the metals, and our filters keep abrasive particles that can damage pump internals or degrade oils out of the pumps.”
One of the specific lines Solberg makes for vacuum furnace applications is its WL series, according to Browning.
“The WL series is a specialty filter for medium-high vacuum applications designed to offer superior protection and durability in demanding applications,” he said. “We can accommodate a variety of application parameters ranging from high temperature to particulate sizes as small as 0.12 micron. We can integrate options into the filters including oversized clean-out ports and reverse pulse self-cleaning technologies.”
Through protecting its customers’ equipment, Solberg is helping ensure its customers’ critical processes are up and running. Browning stressed that Solberg operates on guiding principles that always keep the needs of the company’s customers as a top priority.
“We take care of the customer,” he said. “Our customers tell us that they do business with us because we’re highly responsive and stand behind our products. We are committed to making sure the customer experience is exceptional all the time. That’s really what sets us apart.”
Driven by experience
“All we do is look for different problems to solve, and this is how we have fun at work,” Browning said. “We have a standard product line, but realize a one-size-fits-all philosophy doesn’t work for every application we encounter. One of the aspects of our sales philosophy that endears us to customers is our willingness to customize and create unique products and solutions for their applications.”
Solberg is very willing to accommodate special requirements from customers, whether it’s a simple modification of connection size or something highly complex that involves custom design.
Offering that final solution can mean a lot of leg work for Solberg’s Sales and Engineering teams, according to Browning.
“We ask lots of questions to understand an application, because understanding the details gives us and our customers the best chance at success,” he said. “Our sales team may be the initial point of contact, but the process moves on from there to involve those with expertise. It may be one of our veteran sales people for a particular industry, or our Technical Sales and Engineering staff. Even the owners are known to get involved on specialty projects. We use a collaborative process and pull in the right resources when needed. We make sure the customer has every bit of our expertise at their disposal when developing the solution that’s right for them.”
This customer-centric philosophy has allowed Solberg to launch multiple new product lines into many different industries, according to Browning.
“We’ve introduced more than 100 new products over the last 20 years,” he said. “I think our willingness to work with customers to create custom solutions — and the commitment to doing it until we get it right — leads to these product launches, which has driven the growth and development of our employees and our business.”
50 years in the making
Solberg was founded in the late 1960s by Charles Solberg Sr., who was selling electrical motors to compressor manufacturers and distributors.
“A customer said to him, ‘I don’t need any motors, but I sure could use something that makes this thing quieter,’” Browning said. “From there, Charles Solberg Sr. went on to create what we know as a filter silencer.”
Over the years, the company expanded and moved into different product lines, including a variety of filtration and separation technologies for particulate, liquid, aerosol, and vapor removal from air streams.
Through that expansion and diversification, Solberg has grown globally and now has 22 locations around the world with more to come over the next five years, according to Browning.
“Our product lines have evolved as we’ve gained exposure to different applications, processes, and industries over the years,” he said.
Additive manufacturing and 3D printing are areas that Solberg is supporting with both existing and newly developed products as well.
“It’s a brand-new technology, and we’re well suited for this market,” Browning said. “We’ve got standard product lines that attract people because they can buy something right off the shelf, put it in line, and they’ve got an instant proven solution. But there are those that require much more complex solutions for their systems, and we’re working with industry leaders in that space to deliver exactly what the market needs.”
As the company grows, Solberg will continue to focus on specialty areas.
“I anticipate we’ll continue to develop new products and new ways of tackling filtration-related issues for the heat-treat market and gearbox breather market,” Browning said. “We’ve got some straightforward and simple solutions. As the breather market grows, we’ll continue to grow right along with it. We separate and differentiate ourselves through service, product quality, and reliability.”
Browning stressed that Solberg’s devotion to product quality and reliability boils down to the company’s mission statement: We partner with our customers, colleagues, and suppliers to help them innovate and discover new possibilities.
“For us, this statement is very powerful,” he said. “Those 16 words give us great purpose. One thing that we feel differentiates us is that, not only do we focus on helping our customers to be successful, we focus on helping our suppliers and colleagues as well. Solberg believes that continued focus on cultivating these critical relationships is the secret to their success.”
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