Because the lead time of a product affects how quickly a customer can solve their issue, manufacturers strive to limit this window of time as much as possible.

One way to do this is by bringing all engineering, prototyping, manufacturing and testing capabilities in house. Having every stage of design and manufacturing under one roof helps eliminate delays in shipping that can happen when different vendors are responsible for different stages of development.

In addition to streamlining turnaround times, the level of internal collaboration benefits customers. Teams can connect early about a project, and work together throughout the product development process to create better outcomes.

When Christensen Farms, one of the largest, family-owned pork producers in the Midwest, first called our company, it needed a new plastic nozzle for its watering valves. Working together, we applied our integrated in-house capabilities to create a better part that worked for their application.

Here’s a closer look at our partnership with Christensen Farms.

Bringing engineering and manufacturing together

Christensen Farms had deconstructed the faulty valve and identified issues with water flow when the company approached us about the new plastic nozzle. In under four weeks, our experienced team designed a machined nozzle, developed prototypes and collaborated to deliver a superior product that worked well with the rest of the existing valve.

We took the same approach about a year later, when Christensen Farms sought to upgrade to an entirely new valve.

After sitting down and talking with their project lead, we brought the valve to our facility for testing, to determine the best way to build a better solution. Our engineering team applied its findings into a design, and after testing and design completion, we were able to ship a custom valve to the client within eight weeks.

While the valve had the same look and size as the existing solution, we rebuilt essential components to enhance longevity, which is critical for high-use and frequency applications like at Christensen Farms’ facilities.

A stainless steel spring replaced a rubber actuator to prevent leaks over time, and a smoother, sloped toggle design ensured water flowed into water trays instead of spraying to the sides. Threading was updated so the parts easily fit into the water system.

“With our old valves, there was a lot of frustration,” said Rick Reckow, an agronomist with Christensen Farms who worked on this project. “With Specialty, we’ve had no issues with quality and didn’t have to work through a long, drawn-out process to get a solution.”

The new valves have also helped Christensen Farms continue to enhance its social responsibility through environmental stewardship.

Since installation, the company reduced its water waste and continued its focus on delivering the correct amount of water to the pigs. They’ve also saved on manure removal costs by eliminating leaky valves. When the previous valves leaked, water would mix with the manure, increasing the volume and weight.

This partnership and its successful results are another example of The Specialty Mfg. Co.’s commitment to solving challenges in valve design and manufacturing. To learn more about how our in-house capabilities can help you get reliable, quality parts when you need them, call (651) 653-0599 or email [email protected]