(Article originally published in the September / October 2021 edition)
In a market dominated by China, this 101-year-old American company stands out. Its pumps, impellers and pump parts do not corrode. They are not mass produced but manufactured one at a time to customer specifications. And they come with a customer satisfaction guarantee.
Tell us about yourself. Where do you come from?
I am from Basking Ridge, New Jersey. I graduated from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA and have an MBA from Pace University in New York as well as a postgraduate degree from Pace.
Wow, lots of diplomas! How did you get into the world of pumps?
I was a manager of US Steel in Pittsburgh for a number of years and the opportunity presented itself to purchase a decades-old business in my home state of New Jersey renowned for its quality and durability. So I bought SIMS Pump in the early 90s.
Where is SIMS based?
SIMS Pump is headquartered in Hoboken, New Jersey, across the Hudson River from New York.
Tell us a bit about the long and rich history of the company and how it has evolved over the years. Where does the name “SIMS” come from?
The SIMS pump was founded in 1919 by Admiral William Sims and his brother with the invention of the SIMS pump valve for reciprocating pumps. It started in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn and eventually moved to downtown Manhattan and then to Hoboken as it grew. From the start, it offered a complete customer satisfaction guarantee, unheard of at the time and still a rarity today. It’s part of what sets us apart.
During the first four decades that followed, SIMS supplied the shipping and other industries with valves made of bronze, stainless steel and monel, a nickel alloy. But the inherent “clicking” of the reciprocating pump valve caused by the pump’s rotator beating against the disc led to our first big breakthrough – the invention of one of the first composites on the market. In 1945, the Simsite® disc debuted for use in reciprocating pumps.
Recognizing that conventional metallic centrifugal pumps were subject to electrolysis, corrosion, erosion and cavitation when used in corrosive services such as seawater, sewage, sewage and chemicals, SIMS developed and patented the first Simsite® casing wheels and rings in 1955.
The success of these products led to the development in 1985 of complete Simsite® pumps, which have won numerous awards and received approval – among others – from the US Navy, which remains a large customer. In addition to marine and naval applications, SIMS provides pumping solutions for businesses, municipalities and cities around the world for many different services and applications.
In 1995, for example, we designed the world’s largest vertical composite turbine pump – two of them! – for Potomac Electric Power in Virginia. Most recently, we designed and built a two-stage horizontal split-crankcase pump for a BP refinery in the Midwest.
Okay, what is Simsite® and why is it so special?
Simsite® is a patented carbon fiber structural composite manufactured exclusively by SIMS. It is 100 percent machined and uses a three-dimensional weave, providing exceptional mechanical properties. SIMS pumps, impellers, crankcase rings and other parts never corrode in seawater, sewage, sewage or river water and also exhibit excellent corrosion resistance for many applications chemical. Because SIMS products are completely machined from solid blocks of Simsite®, they are not prone to internal voids, cracks or imperfections like cast or molded products.
The proof is in the pudding, and a very large set of Simsite® impeller and body rings was installed in a main circulation pump in 1965 and operated continuously until 2020 when it was returned to our factory for reconditioning. It was designed and manufactured for 14,000 gallons per minute of seawater and lasted 55 years in seawater service without a hitch!
Impressive! How many patents does the company hold?
SIMS Pump has four patents: two on structural composites (Simsite®), one on stabilization rings for all rotating equipment, and one on a packing cartridge for sealing pumps.
What sets SIMS apart from other pump manufacturers?
SIMS does not manufacture “standard pump products”. Our products are tailor-made for the customer’s point of operation, making that point the best point of efficiency and thus increasing reliability, durability and performance.
For readers with technical difficulties like me, please explain the basics of how a pump works and what “impellers” are.
The paddle wheels are the “heart” of the pump. This is why we design, manufacture and machine each wheel specifically for the customer’s use, making it much more efficient and reliable than standard products and eliminating both mechanical and hydraulic balance issues as well as load issues. radial.
We read something about a unique product you built for Halliburton, the “Halliburton Pump”. Tell us about it.
The 8x6x13 chemical pumps designed for Halliburton were machined from a solid block of Simsite® structural composite and installed on vessels used in the petroleum industry. The pumps are an integral part of deep water acidification systems, designed specifically to a set of performance specifications defined by Halliburton with a capacity of 1800 GPM at a head pressure of 120 FT at 1750 RPM, driven by a hydraulic motor of 150 HP.
The pumped liquid is 33 percent hydrochloric acid, which is forced into rock formations with greater pressure than the rock can withstand, causing the rock to fracture. The Simsite® pump has been designed to eliminate abuse not only of hydrochloric acid, but also of the exterior elements, hence its rugged design. Our pumps were chosen for this application because of the liquid used in the process. Simsite® does not corrode like conventional metal pumps.
Is the maritime industry your most important market?
The marine market is our largest, but as stated previously, we also serve the power generation, wastewater, chemical and defense markets.
Do you have a presence abroad? How important are international markets to SIMS?
We sell products all over the world. International markets are very important to us.
We see that many SIMS products are approved by the US Navy. How big is the military activity for SIMS compared to the business side?
The military market is an extremely important part of our business and represents 35 to 40 percent of our overall sales.
Where does the greatest growth come from?
The most significant growth we are seeing is in the wastewater sector.
How has COVID affected your business and how did you adapt? Is business getting better or worse?
COVID has certainly had a negative impact on our business, but we have been able to continue to operate successfully. An advantage lies in the fact that our products are value-added and must be requested and specified by the engineering or maintenance departments and not by traditional purchasing departments. Most purchasing departments only look at “low prices” and ignore reliability, longevity, efficiency and durability. Therefore, engineered products like ours must be specified for purchasing to select them. It has given us a head start.
You recently announced that you would accept cryptocurrency as a payment method for SIMS products, becoming one of the first companies to do so. Give us the scoop on this. Did someone accept your offer?
We see cryptocurrency as the future and therefore we accept cryptocurrency. So far, no company has offered to pay in crypto, but we like to be on the cutting edge.
What is your vision of SIMS pumps? Where would you like to see it in, say, five years?
Simsite® products are just starting to gain recognition in the seawater, wastewater and corrosive markets, and we are seeing tremendous sales growth over the next five years. Despite the fact that we have been operating around the world for decades, many companies are just starting to realize awareness of Simsite® products and technology. Just as carbon fiber bicycles become more and more popular, our Simsite® products are increasingly well known.
The goal is to get shipowners, chief engineers, harbor engineers, maintenance engineers, plant managers and engineering companies to specify Simsite® impellers and crankcase rings in their centrifugal pumps. .
So, is this your biggest challenge right now? Visibility, promote the Simsite® brand?
This is important, but the biggest challenge for SIMS Pump and any other company making value-added engineering products is to compete with the cheap imports dumped around the world from China, India and China. other low-cost producing countries. While these low-cost products don’t compare to higher-value-added products, they are inexpensive, and with the smart phone, computer, and digital marketplace, many buyers are only looking at low prices. They do not take into account value, longevity, durability, efficiency, return on investment or quality. Superior products must be ordered, requested or specified by maintenance, operations and engineering.
The first time a pump had to be serviced because of a failure, the business lost money. Low price does not mean low price. This usually means high costs due to maintenance, repairs and downtime!
Okay, tell us about some of your extracurricular activities.
I play classical piano, chess, and take Tae Kwon Do black belt lessons which helps me deal with life’s many stresses and relax.
How is a typical day going for you?
Most days are spent on increasing sales and technical superiority of our excellent products.
How would you describe your management style?
I am focused on improving each person’s strengths, and we have a great team!
Jack O’Connell is the editor of the magazine.
The opinions expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.