Issue Mar Apr 14
When it comes to being a provider of UV, only the sun beats American Ultraviolet. “We’re probably the only ultraviolet company that sells in all facets of the UV industry: germicidal, curing and coating,” says Meredith Stines, CEO of the Lebanon, Ind.-headquartered company. “Being in all three of these parts of the UV industry gives us the ability to take our experience with one of these areas and apply it to the other two, giving us more of a wealth of knowledge than many of our competitors have.”
Since its establishment in 1960, American Ultraviolet has manufactured nearly 60,000 UVC germicidal fixtures for commercial, healthcare and residential applications. The company’s systems are used to reduce harmful pathogens, prolong the life of sensitive equipment and improve indoor air quality in homes, hospitals, laboratories, clean rooms, commercial buildings and food-processing plants.
The company’s germicidal fixtures feature the highest High Output (HO) lamps available. “These lamps don’t lose as much germicidal energy when temperatures fall, enabling them to kill more mold and bacteria across a wider temperature and air velocity range than all others,” the company says.
One of American Ultraviolet’s most recent germicidal products is the Automatically Reliably Targeting Zero (ARTZ) mobile room sterilizer, which is used in hospitals to eliminate microorganisms. Users of the ARTZ input the dimensions of the room they’re in and the type of organisms they’re trying to remove on the device’s control panel, and then press a start button. The device then disinfects surfaces within minutes, Stines notes.
American Ultraviolet’s curing products include additive lamps and conveyor systems used to cure ink and coatings. They are used in applications including screen and digital printing and wood processing, as well as spot curing systems that bond substrates together using UV-curable adhesives, Stines notes.
Curing products are produced by two divisions: AETEK UV Systems, which serves the flooring and industrial curing markets; and Lesco UV, which manufactures UV conveyors and LED curing devices used in the aerospace, electronics and other markets.
The company’s coating solutions division offers large-scale drying equipment used in the screen-printing, label printing and bottle printing industries.
Both the Lesco and AETEK product lines were acquired through acquisition as part of a company diversification effort. This effort helped the company maintain its bottom line by serving markets less affected by the recession, such as healthcare and the food industry, when other markets such as curing were in decline, Stines says.
Driven by Quality
American Ultraviolet produces a standard line of products as well as custom solutions based on customer designs. Many of the company’s standard products are available in different sizes or with a varying number of lamps. The company produces custom products and large conveyor systems in its 70,000-square-foot main plant in Lebanon, and smaller conveyors and products are produced in a 20,000-square-foot manufacturing plant in Torrance, Calif.
The company’s manufacturing capabilities include pressing, shearing, stamping and welding. “We have our own sheet metal shop, so we can take our customers’ products from design all the way to production, and they can even watch us produce their systems if they so desire,” Stines says.
All products are tested extensively during production before being shipped, and in-person testing on customer systems is conducted with customers present.
American Ultraviolet maintains the quality of its products through its embrace of lean manufacturing practices such as just-in-time inventory control and manufacturing cells. The shift to a cell-based manufacturing floor greatly increased the company’s turnaround time on custom projects, Stines adds.
Points of Pride
Lean manufacturing methods have helped the company further improve the quality of its products. Stines says a dedication to lean manufacturing is one of the two things the company most prides itself on.
“Customers will come to us at trade shows and tell us they bought a product of ours in 1990 and they can’t believe it still works,” he adds. “That’s a nice thing for us to be able to do.”
Employee retention is also a hallmark of American Ultraviolet. The average tenure of an employee is 22 years, according to the company.
“I’m proud of the experience of our people as well as the fact that we’ve been able to offer the best products at the highest quality and for the best price,” Stines says. “We hope to be able to continue to do that for another 50 years.”