Since its inception, A-T Controls has established an enviable reputation for its engineering expertise, quality service, and delivery of manual and automated engineered valves. Its focus on providing automation products through solution-oriented selling, and dedication to manufacturing with responsive communication, has made it a globally recognized leader of valve and actuator solutions.
Fugitive Emissions Journal had the opportunity to speak with President and CEO, Brian Wright, about A-T Controls’ dedication to actively working on innovative and automated products for the next generation, and its impeccable solution-focused services.
By Angelica Pajkovic
Established in 1994, A-T Controls set out to provide end users with automated valves, actuation, and quarter turn valve accessories. In 1997, the company elevated its product offerings by designing and manufacturing its own valve line. Since then, A-T Controls has consistently added new valve products, and improved previous designs, to meet the needs of modernized systems.
Currently operating from its 122,000 sq. ft. headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio, and 98,000 sq. ft. facility in Stafford, Texas, the company offers efficient and convenient packages to end users in several industrial sectors. Its focus on providing problem solving and solution-oriented services for quarter turn valves has distinguished it from other suppliers, as a go-to source for any valve need.
“We are a one-stop-shop,” explained Wright. “Customers can look to us for solutions about any quarter-turn application and we are not afraid of bespoke products and modification requests.” Due to its broad product range, A-T Controls can address many markets, including oil & gas, pharmaceutical binding, power, food & beverage, water & wastewater, as well as pulp & paper industries. This versatility has given the company greater opportunities to excel.
“I think our longevity can be attributed to the immense breadth of products we offer, our loyalty to our distribution network, and the consistency in our products. We are a leader in terms of our offerings in the quarter turn valve and automation business,” he continued.
Immense Breadth of Products
While its product portfolios range from flanged valves, and three-ways, to high-performance butterfly valves, the company’s primary focus has continuously been on automation and quarter turn valve solutions.
A-T Controls offers complete automation services for quarter turn valves through its Triac brand of actuators and accessories; these are well-known within the industry as quality quarter turn products. It also manufactures precision mounting kits to automate other manufacturers’ ball, butterfly, and plug valves. “In the last couple of years, for example, we have introduced a spring return electric actuator, along with different pressures and designs of our trunnion ball valve offering. This has been steadily gaining market share,” stated Wright.
A-T Controls has many valve series that are certified to the latest ISO 15848-1 and API 641 fugitive emissions standards, the most widely recognized fugitive standards in the industry, according to Wright. “Our Pyramidal stem seal design is the key to achieving this. The superior live-loaded packing system is accomplished with Belleville washers, ‘V’ ring packing, and a unique primary pyramidal stem seal. This advanced sealing system provides protection against stem leaks experienced by ordinary ball valves,” he explained.
The Complete Package
To modernize its systems and processes, and exceed its customers’ expectations, A-T Controls regularly reevaluates its products and distribution systems.
Its wide line of products is complemented by a broad accessory line which includes solenoid valves, filter regulators, limit switches, proximity sensors, positioners, manual overrides, and customer valve mounting hardware. “Our assemblies are calibrated, tested, and properly packaged to ensure that the user receives the exact product required for their application,” he added.
“Every actuator and actuated assembly is provided with a serial number upon completion, which allows for easy traceability.” As specific distribution requirements are one of the many aspects that drive the innovation at A-T Controls, its engineers and distribution team are diligent in gathering information that corresponds to the current market’s pain points. Using this intel, innovations can be built from the ground up or can be added as a variation to an existing product with newly added features and benefits.
“We are constantly asking our distributors what they want to see next. This can be in terms of product features, internal and external communications, integration, as well as services and solution-oriented improvements or adjustments,” said Wright.
The company takes great pride in receiving and implementing customer feedback to create solution-oriented answers.
“We have a team of engineers that respond to specific customer issues, because not every application is cookie-cutter. People come to us for solutions for abrasion, high-pressure, material compatibility, or end connections that need to be customized,” explained Wright. “We are equipped to react quickly and efficiently to help when customers require application assistance, and we know that if we can solve a client’s difficult problems, they will know they can also come to us with the easy ones.”
“I think our longevity can be attributed to the immense breadth of products we offer, our loyalty to our distribution network, and the consistency in our products. We are a leader in terms of our offerings in the quarter turn valve and automation business.” – Brian Wright
Upon acquiring a small company from Houston, Texas, A-T Controls was able to further expand its offerings to include an innovative controller, the Mighty Controller, which operates the company’s system group.
The Mighty Controller is an innovative computing device targeted at OEMs and system integrators who want to modernize existing approaches to local system controls. “We sell manual and automated quarter turn valves, and with applications like the Mighty Controller, we also provide a complete system to our customers.
The Mighty Controller provides information such as temperature, torque signatures, and vibration measurements giving the end user usable data that can be used to mitigate the risks of failures,” stated Wright. “Ultimately it can optimize the actuator and valve positions to increase efficient flow through the wellhead.”
A-T Controls has built trust with industry wide clients, applying its strengths, and taking the initiative towards unwavering efforts and creative solutions.
Leading the Way
A-T Controls believes there are two kinds of company cultures: leading or following. “We are dedicated to being a leader –we do not want to fall behind and follow other companies as technology progresses. We want to be known for our high quality, high standards, and dedication to solution focused service,” Wright commented.
“To ensure it is providing its customers with the best products, the company sends valves to an independent third party for testing to ensure nothing is overlooked. The quality department is therefore heavily involved in the production side of the business. By conducting everything from ISO 9000 to API audits, the team continues to ensure production and operations are following the comprehensive quality mandates.”
The company’s commitment to being available, responsive, and innovative, along with a broad offering of quality products, has allowed it to truly put the customer first. “Our response to the needs of distribution, customers, and end users is paramount,” stated Wright. “From the moment a customer picks up the phone for their inquiry, A-T Controls guarantees that the client is speaking to a knowledgeable representative.
“We have a team of engineers that respond to specific customer issues, because not every application is cookie-cutter. People come to us for solutions for abrasion, high-pressure, material compatibility, or end connections that need to be customized. We are equipped to react quickly and efficiently to help when customers require application assistance.” – Brian Wright
Its highly experienced engineering and sales staff, coupled with its extensive inventory, therefore provide the customer with solutions needed to fulfill most valve and actuator requirements, while offering a competitive price and fast turnaround. “If someone comes to us with an application, wanting to know whether they need to vent the ball, or if they have an inquiry about materials and flow, we have the expertise to guide them towards applications that best fit their needs. We want to make sure that we provide the best outcome to our clients, as it is important to stay transparent and build trust,” said Wright. “A-T Controls’ responsiveness is driven towards getting the client’s question answered, not just a short answer, but the right answer.”
What is Next for A-T Controls?
A-T Controls is excited for what is to come next within the valve market. It will continue to grow with its customers and introduce new products and automations, which will broaden its offerings even further. While the current supply chain issues created challenging obstacles, the company recognizes that it is still in the early stages of the process and will need to continue to adapt and innovate. “To account for these ongoing challenges, we have taken proactive measures, such as getting ahead of blanket orders, raw materials, and increasing foundry capacities. Although this is not a simple process, A-T Controls prides itself with its ability to successfully manage the troubleshoot processes,” commented Wright.
With new standards came the requirement for fugitive emissions bonnets, a double set of packing, bellow seals, and much more for the rotary valve market. These changes and investments allow the company to provide preventive safety measures for the products that are being distributed, continuing to keep the best possible solutions for the end user and the industry.
“We will continue to see interest in connectivity and monitoring for processes. The systems group and some of the product features speak to this,” said Wright. Data driven initiatives will continue to be a larger part of what the company offers. “Our success is determined by the quality of people who work diligently and honestly in the company. Whether it is our sales department, engineering, production, or quality assurance, all the people at A-T Controls that touch the process, care about the customer’s needs,” he concluded.