“Heads Up”

Quarterly Newsletter: October 2022

A quarterly newsletter from R.M. Headlee for the purpose of customer and principal communications, sharing best application methods, product features and benefits and doing what it takes to achieve complete customer satisfaction.

Latest News

Old Man Winter up here in western New York is just starting to show himself with the temperature beginning to drop.

To some (if not most) this is bad news but if you’re a glass-half-full type, you could always say “Yes, it’s true; The cold weather is approaching… but just look at how beautiful the leaves are turning on the trees.”

That is my focus for this Autumn Newsletter – one of being positive even during moments when things don’t turn out the way you intended.

Last week, we had a situation where a good customer called us saying the adaption we provided was machined incorrectly.

This call occurred while we were at another work site. My co-worker and I looked at each other and decided to hop into the truck with calipers, measuring tapes & machine drawings and head over to our customers location immediately. Inside of 45 minutes, we determined that the adaption was correctly machined, pointed this out to the client and we all moved on.

A few comments here: we jumped on a customer’s concern right away, we had the tools in our truck to perform and verify measurements and we helped a customer in the blink of an eye. When it comes down to it… isn’t that what it’s all about? Going that extra mile solving problems.

Stay warm, my Friends!


Application Guidelines

A local engineering firm reached out for application assistance on a temperature control application. Our first design was a 1-1/2” v-ported control valve with a rack and pinion actuator sized for 80 psi instrument air. It was a spring return unit with failure mode of closed on loss of electronic signal or pneumatic air. The actuator had an electro-pneumatic positioner with 4-20ma Input and Feedback.

The end user came back and said that they could not provide Pneumatic air to this portion of the plant and the actuator needed to be fully electric, but still have the failsafe feature of a spring return actuator.

RM Headlee had the perfect solution on the shelf… a “Smart Step” Electric Actuator with a Universal Power supply for 24 VDC or 110 VAC and Super Capacitors for failure on loss of Power.

Unlike lead-acid or lithium batteries to store energy, Super Capacitors can be charged and re-charged almost limitlessly. There is a monitor to gage if the capacitors are fully charged, guaranteeing your valve will close when the power is turned off. Batteries need to be monitored yearly and replaced as they age, making them a subpar product for fail safe actuators.

The Smart Step comes standard as 4-20ma Input/Output, Open Close Service for AC/DC voltage, End of Travel Limit Switches and is extremely easy to calibrate. The DC brushless motor allows for 100% duty cycle and we have customers with over 5 million cycles.

Ask us today if this may be a good solution to your valve application!

Technically Speaking

Pressure swing adsorption (PSA) is a technique used to separate some gas species from a mixture of gasses (typically air) under pressure according to the species’ molecular characteristics and affinity for an absorbent material.

Selective adsorbent material such as Molecular Sieve, active carbon, Lithium beads, etc… are used as trapping material, preferentially adsorbing the target gas species at high pressure. The process then swings to low pressure to desorb the adsorbed gas, hence the name “pressure swing.”

RM Headlee was recently contacted by a customer located in upstate New York who has a 40 year old Oxygen PSA.  They were having problems with the high cycle pressure switching valves which are one of the most critical components of the entire plant’s processes.

Now – forty years ago, butterfly valves were new, un-proven & not an option to old valve technology like globe, gate & plug valves. This aging plant had AWWA plug valves installed (I can’t fault them for that… those were pretty much the only sheriff in town back then. They’re still in use today, in fact!)

Over time, these plug valves and actuator packages got tired. They were replaced with high performance butterfly valves with special actuators providing a one second stroke time and with positive sealing of the seats. The valves, adaption, fasteners, pneumatic tubing, solenoids, actuator are all over designed to be extra heavy duty to last in high vibration and high cycle.

Special attention to sharp edges internally was avoided so as not to cause impingement concerns in an Oxygen stream. Special cleaning was also performed to eliminate hydro-carbons and grease for the same concerns. RM Headlee has combined 55 years experience in PSA and Oxygen systems.

Final Comments

If you go to any book store and browse for sales reference material or Self-Help information for selling, I’ll bet if that particular section of the store has 10,000 books, 4,500 of them will be about Selling or the ART of Selling.

This field has been plowed by many people smarter (and better at selling) than myself. “Selling” as a concept is fairly simple and defined (by me of course) as “Getting a stranger to buy something from you.”  Doing the many many things it takes to achieve this is where the work and skill development comes into play.

Allow me to throw a few pointers to successfully achieve (and increase) purchase orders:

  • Show up on time
  • Look presentable
  • Know your product line technically
  • Listen Closely
  • Carefully take notes
  • Share your experience as it applies to the application
  • Don’t waste a customer’s time
  • Have a contact list of the smartest people working at the factories your represent, then know the Presidents of those factories to pull favors when needed
  • Be there when a problem occurs
  • Provide well-written easy to follow proposals
  • Provide those proposals within 24 hours of the RFQ
  • Follow-up after the sale/shipment/installation asking if all is okay

One Last Comment: R.M. Headlee celebrated our 50th year in business a few weeks ago and it was a smashing success! We had many customers attend and equally important many if not most principals/owners that we represent joined us, several from far away. Thank You all for coming! Dick Headlee started this fine company, and we miss him dearly but know we are running things today such that would put a smile on his face.

Gary Beckett, Vice President of Business Development