As a leading wholesale pipe, valve, and fittings distributor for the Midwest region and beyond — with the word “versatile” in the company tagline — experts at The Macomb Group are always looking for ways to improve products and add additional value to the solutions they provide customers. This commitment to value is The Macomb Group promise.
One way professionals at The Macomb Group deliver on this commitment is through their cable drive unit collaboration with Elliott Manufacturing. Cable drive units enhance safety for industrial personnel by removing the need to access valves in hard-to-reach or dangerous places. Reducing the number of moving valve parts, cable drive units are reliable as well as easy to install on nearly any valve. They also save time and money by automating systems and reducing manual control stressors. Macomb Group customers — those working in power plants in particular — frequently find themselves needing to open and close such valves, making Elliott Manufacturing a perfect partner.
“The number one reason for these is safety,” Rob Sobeck, Macomb Group Valve Automation technical sales representative said.
Hard-to-reach valves can be everywhere from the tops of power plants to behind obstructions and underneath condensers or in confined spaces that require permits, special contractors, or additional safety gear. Cable drive units are incredibly beneficial in plants because many valves are in difficult-to-reach places or high above the floor. If something happens, facility personnel can open or close valves right away, rather than waiting for a ladder, lift, fall-protection harness, or the like. With this level of accessibility, they can immediately stop flows and care for leaks or spills right away, rather than waiting for the equipment necessary to reach the valve.
While Elliott Manufacturing automated cable drive units are a safe and viable valve solution for customers working in power, oil and gas, chemical, automotive, and a variety of other complex and hazardous plants and environments, they have only just begun to grow in popularity among those in these industries.
“Flex shafts were actually first patented in 1879,” Sobeck said. “In the 1940s, they started implementing straight-line shafts in naval ships. In the mid-1950s, they started using the flexible shafts, but it was primarily for naval, nuclear, and oil and gas rigs. Elliott Manufacturing never really went after the industrial market until about a year ago.”
Like shafts for cable drive units, Elliott Manufacturing has also been around a while. Founded in 1932, Elliott Manufacturing professionals have been specializing in flexible transmission technology ever since. With over 3,500 designs, their products add value in a huge variety of industries, including aerospace, agriculture, defense, lawn and garden, medical, and many more.
“They supply 92% of the world’s flexible shafts,” Sobeck said. “It was a great fit for The Macomb Group due to the vast variety of manual valves we supply and certain applications. With the Elliot systems, we can provide a complete solution package.”
Sobeck and his Macomb Group teammates did just that at the BPW Power Plant in Holland, Michigan. They installed 20 systems there last year, and plant leaders are very pleased with them.
“With these value-added systems that take safety concerns out of the equation, it is a win-win situation for all,” Sobeck said.
Through this collaboration with Elliott Manufacturing, Sobeck and his team create timely and versatile solutions for Macomb Group customers. Utilizing this technology, experts at The Macomb Group provide automated solutions for a huge variety of applications including ball valves, butterfly valves, pneumatic actuators, solenoid valves, limit switches, and so much more. Trained Macomb Group professionals can also provide complete in-house assemblies and calibration testing services as well as off-the-shelf and custom solutions suited to fit any application when and where customers need.