The Rocore Group
Issue Summer 13
The Rocore Group, headquartered in Indianapolis, is an engineering and manufacturing company with a focus on industrial heat exchangers. The company has been growing and expanding its manufacturing capabilities since it was founded in 1984, focusing on manufacturing flexibility to meet its customers’ demands, whether that demand is for one product, 1,000 or 20,000.
“Our goal is to have the capability of the big companies, with a focus on the lower-quantity customer that might not be able to get the attention of the billion-dollar organizations,” CEO Stuart Eden says of his company’s mission.
With 350,000 square feet of manufacturing facilities in Wisconsin, Tennessee, Kentucky and Texas to serve the company’s five primary end-markets, Rocore is focused on being a functional organization. “We have developed five focused manufacturing plants, each with it’s own specialty niche,” Eden says. “This allows Rocore to offer the most comprehensive range of heat exchangers through a single source of supply.“
Rocore’s primary end-markets are on and off-highway, power generation and industrial, railroad, military and aftermarket sectors. To maintain functionality across the board and offer its clients the best possible service, Rocore offers off-the-shelf products as well as custom-engineered solutions.
Rocore focuses on streamlining the packaging options for its products. “We are packaging products together more often than say five years ago,” Eden says. “So you might have a radiator with a charge, air cooler and fuel cooler that we provide our end-customer as a cooling package. We are a one-stop shop, which is unique at our end of the heat transfer industry; i.e., we actually can design and manufacture in-house all the products required.”
Approximately seventy percent of Rocore activity is focused on OEMs, a market that requires product development at different levels. “Our new product launches on the OEM side can take six to 12 months,” Eden explains. “Where as on the industrial side we might build one heat exchanger that costs $50,000 and we will never build exactly the same item again because it is designed for something very specific, like a cooling package for an engine that sits on an island in the Pacific Ocean.”
Rocore is always seeking to add value to its relationships with its customers. Recently the company ventured into the aluminum aftermarket to provide replacement products for industrial equipment. Eden admits that the implementation of Rocore’s new product line wasn’t seamless. “We stumbled a few times as we ventured down this new path,” he says. “Our team had to sit down and figured out what didn’t work and what they needed to do better.” They were successful, and that line of business doubled in the first half of 2013 and the company is now able to reverse-engineer, build and ship aluminum aftermarket products inside of five days. “We have the potential for incredible growth over the years [in that market] because aluminum is moving more and more into the industrial marketplace, whether it’s charger coolers or air oil coolers or radiators,” Eden explains.
Rocore is expecting to grow at a steady pace over the next five to 10 years. “We’re not trying to be everything to everybody,” Eden notes. “We have a clear objective for what we are trying to accomplish. We are a one-stop shop and we provide world-class product packaging and development.”
Rocore’s product variety and selection will enable it to continue to grow over time, Eden predicts. “Some of our competitors might have copper radiators, but won’t have aluminum products,” Eden says. “We have copper, brass, aluminum and mechanically bonded heavy-duty radiators, and we have all those products under our roof.”
The company is also proud of being a U.S. manufacturer and plans to keep its production inside the country to manufacture each product that carries the Rocore brand name. “We realized years ago that the only way we could be a primary provider to OEM-quality customers, or blue-chip customers, was to be able to control and bring those products to market, making them ourselves,” Eden explains.
Although some Rocore products find their way to international applications through customers with locations abroad, the company is focusing its efforts on the North American market. “You have to have a certain critical mass to be able to be successful internationally. When we look at our business, we’re solid and growing our business,” Eden says. “We have too many opportunities to explore within North America.”