AMERICAN Flow Control announces plans for valve and hydrant research center

Birmingham-based AMERICAN Flow Control manufactures fire hydrants and a variety of valves up to 66 inches in diameter. (AMERICAN Flow Control)

AMERICAN Flow Control, the valve and hydrant division of AMERICAN Cast Iron Pipe Company, headquartered in Birmingham, has announced the formation of AMERICAN Innovation, LLC, a company dedicated to research and development. The company plans to build the AMERICAN Flow Control Center for Innovative Excellence in Crawfordsville, Indiana, beginning this summer.

The 30,000-square-foot facility will cost $9 million to $12 million to build. Once completed, it will employ approximately eight research and development personnel. The facility will include the latest equipment and technologies for enhancing existing valve and hydrant products, as well as developing new infrastructure-related products. “It will expand our research and design functions, allowing us to fast-track innovations to get products to market more quickly,” said John Hagelskamp, division sales manager for AMERICAN Flow Control.

One-third of the facility will be offices and labs; the remainder will be a shop for building and testing product prototypes. The facility will be situated on 17 acres, providing for both indoor and outdoor product testing. “Crawfordsville was chosen in part because of the variable weather conditions it experiences,” Hagelskamp said. “It will be ideal for evaluating the impact of changing environmental conditions on products.”

Also, incentives from state and local governments were a draw, and being just outside Indianapolis, the facility will be easily accessible and near several major engineering schools. “We look forward to consistently bringing new ideas and products to our customers,” Hagelskamp said.

AMERICAN manufactures the American-Darling and Waterous brands of fire hydrants for municipal and industrial fire protection, gate valves from 2 to 66 inches in diameter, check valves, indicator posts, tapping sleeves and more.

In recent years AMERICAN has introduced several new products to the market, including a wide range of large-diameter resilient wedge gate valves, an earthquake-resistant valve and hydrant system, valves and hydrants with the ALPHA™ single-bolt restrained joint, GIS technology for mapping and asset management, the Captivater™ hydrant security system and the IP16 indicator post.

Other divisions of the company manufacture ductile iron and spiral-welded steel pipe for the waterworks industry and high-frequency-welded steel pipe for the oil and natural gas industries. The company’s diversified product line also includes high-performance fire pumps, structural casing and piling, castings for large machinery and specialty rubber products.

Founded in 1905, AMERICAN employs approximately 2,600 people at its headquarters and across the AMERICAN family of companies.

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