Colorful Components and Convenience Items Spur Growth in Hose, Nozzle and Reel Industry

Liquid waste haulers can be a practical group; and considering what they do all day, moving waste from place to place, that should be no surprise to anyone.  Their equipment has to be durable and easy to handle. Those two requirements have been especially important over the past eighteen months as private haulers have struggled to keep their businesses up and running during the worst economic downturn in decades. Repairs are costly—replacement even more so. And if operators have to do more with fewer workers, the hoses and other equipment has to be lightweight and easy for one or two people to handle.
Did you know that these same liquid waste haulers also care a great deal about how that equipment looks? That has been an enjoyable and ongoing challenge for manufacturers of the equipment. Not only do the hoses have to work well but they also have to have a bit of pizzazz to them, too. The reason is simple. Haulers want customized hose colors so their trucks look as good as they work.
Three companies have taken the lead in providing high-quality components for the liquid waste industry: VARCo of Virginia, Hannay Reels of Westerlo, New York, and Kuriyama of America, of Schaumburg, Ill.
Ron Selfe is president of VARCo (Virginia Rubber Corp.) “We have seen more of a trend toward lighter weight, more flexible hose and hoses that are made in colors to match the trucks. Customers continue to ask for more colors,” Selfe said.
The color hose trend is one that has persisted for several years, perhaps, some in the industry have noted, because of reality TV shows that have focused on elaborate makeovers for heavy trucks and equipment.
“We have custom made our EPDM line of hose in red and black, blue and black, yellow and black and green and black to respond” to customer requests, Selfe said. “These colors are available in sizes 2 inch through 4 inch and even though they cost us more, we sell them all for the same low price.”
Ed Rash of Hannay Reels, said customers are increasingly interested in getting customized equipment, the type of equipment that the company can provide through its extensive and well-established facilities and design expertise.
The company has provided custom-designed reels that can handle hose and cable in limited space and in special environments. Its website claims Hannay Reels designs and manufactures more custom built reels than any other manufacturer.
The ability to meet special requests from liquid waste haulers and others in the industry is a point of pride for Rash.
We have equipped our customer division’s abilities to meet almost any special or custom design for extreme heavy duty and high pressure applications, specifically geared to the liquid waste and pumper cleaner industry,” Rash said.
Hannay Reels is looking to expand its already extensive offerings. The company has prototypes of a heavy duty Hi Pres reel with a swivel base and hose guide that is currently being extensively tested and reviewed.  “We have had requests to make reels to customers’ specs so they can free up their workforce to (concentrate) on truck building and assembly,” Rash said.
Over at VARCo, Selfe said that in addition to the color hoses, the company has begun selling its new line of Battioni pumps. The mec2 pumps are continuous duty and have seven vanes for increased air flow. The benefit is that operators loss fewer cfms on deep pumps.  “The pumps are at a great introductory price where you can get a 400 cfm pump for less than $2,300,” Selfe said.
“We also introduced a max pack for under $4,500 which gives you the pump, the stand, the secondary, the final filter, the muffler and the gear box all built into one bolt-and-go unit. This price is unheard of and means you don’t have to weld stuff to your truck anymore,” he said.
As customers continue to try to do more with less, they want to simplify their buying experience, says Selfe.  “Customers have asked us to carry a larger variety of products,” he noted. “We want to be your one-stop store. We are the only company (in the industry) open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, even on holidays.”
The expanded selection means more products that will reach into other aspects of the liquid w              aste industry beyond the company’s already product line.  “Look for us to start carrying more stuff on the portable toilet side – scents, urine cakes, portable toilet parts, etc. as we grow our catalog. We just grew the catalog to 24 pages and are now working on our 32-page version due out shortly,” Selfe said. 
What has the economy meant for these industry heavy hitters? Their business seems to have not only weathered the economy but has found ways to grow during this uncertain period.  “We are surprised at the industries’ growth and potential and also the quality of the equipment being designed and built,” Rash said.
Like Selfe, Rash has seen his customers trying to make the most of what they have. Growth in the industry comes from how well a company such as Hannay
Reels, VARCo and Kuriyama of America respond. 
“It seems they want more efficiency with time and labor cutting devices and equipment,” Rash said.
Selfe concurred. “The industry seems to be coming back well. We have done well all along with about a forty percent to seventy-five percent growth yearly while the septic side is starting to grow. The oil field side of the business is one fire. Our website business more than doubled and we have focused a lot on growing that side and giving customers easier and quicker ways to do business with us.”
How much of that growth will continue clearly depends on making it easier for customers to find lightweight, high quality and easily available products. The ability to design and manufacture specialty equipment is especially attractive to some liquid waste customers. For others, the ability to buy colorful hose is important. And as always, customers like to streamline their shopping experience by using one-stop shopping, internet catalogs and other conveniences.
The economy has apparently not been a big factor for the manufacturers who have met their customers’ needs. In a business world full of bad news, that is an encouraging and enviable piece of good news.
Story by Marie Elium


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