July 20, 2007, Rochester, NY -- Rotork, a world-leading manufacturer of valve actuators, celebrated its 50th anniversary at its U.S. headquarters, 675 Mile Crossing Blvd., Rochester, NY, on July 20.
More than 600 employees, their families, and invited guests attended the festivities. Events included the presentation of a "Rotork Controls' Day" proclamation by Monroe County (NY) Executive Maggie Brooks, recognition from New York Governor Eliot Spitzer's office, facility tours, as well as remarks by Rotork Chief Executive Bill Whiteley.
Rotork Controls President Bob Arnold said, "We would like to thank the many people who have helped our company grow, including our loyal customers, sales representatives, and talented and dedicated employees. We look forward to another 50 years of providing advanced valve automation technology to the world."
The company manufactures a complete line of electric, fluid power, and manual actuators that are used to open, close, and control valves in such applications as municipal water and wastewater treatment, electric power generation, oil and gas transmission and storage, chemical processing, pulp and paper manufacturing, and environmental protection.
Currently, 123 engineers, manufacturing personnel, sales professionals, service technicians, and support staff are employed at the 61,000 square-foot Rochester facility, which provides manufacturing, sales, maintenance, and service support for customers in the United States and Latin America. In addition, the company has about 100 more employees at Rotork field offices in Houston, TX; Petaluma, CA; and at its sister company, Jordan Controls, in Milwaukee, WI. Also, Rotork has an extensive network of outside sales representatives.
Rotork Controls Inc. has had a physical presence in Rochester since 1975. At that time, they only employed about 15 people in the U.S.
Rotork: At The Forefront Of Technological Innovation
In 1957, when Jeremy Fry started Rotork Engineering Ltd. at Widcombe Manor, near Bath, England, most valves had to be operated manually. That is, workers had to physically turn a hand wheel to open or close a valve. This is not a problem on small or seldom-used valves or when the speed of operation is not important, but, for large valves, the operation was labor intensive, physically demanding, slow, and often dangerous. It could take a worker, or a team of workers, many minutes, if not hours, of back-breaking labor to turn a large valve or lift gate to the desired position. Incomplete valve seating, facility damage due to slow closing in emergency situations, and physical injury to workers often resulted.
Fry had a better idea. He decided to design and build actuators that would automatically open and close large valves without the need for back-breaking labor. His innovative, modular actuator designs became renowned for their reliability, cost efficiency, and ability to operate dependably in the most rugged environmental conditions.
Fifty years later, Rotork actuators are used throughout the world and can automatically open and close large valves in seconds when it once took hours. Today, Rotork actuators operate valves, lift gates, and dampers in virtually every industry, including water and waste treatment plants; electric power generation facilities; oil and gas exploration, transportation, and processing; pulp and paper manufacturing; chemical processing; and more. They operate on oil pipelines in the deserts of Saudi Arabia as well as in the frozen North of Alaska. They help control environmental flow-control gates in Florida's Everglades. And, they are used in nuclear power plants, at NASA, on-board sophisticated sea-going vessels, on off-shore oil rigs, and to help control the around-the-clock processes at large and small municipal water and wastewater treatment plants throughout the world.
Most important, Rotork actuators have been in the forefront of innovation since the company was formed. For example, many Rotork actuators incorporate sophisticated electronics for both control and communication. They not only can regulate valve operation via computer control, but they also can report back real-time and historical valve performance and predictive maintenance data. Rotork has led the industry in the development of these modern "smart" actuators. To continue in this leadership role, Rotork maintains dedicated engineering groups for applications, product improvement, and new-product development, so that its customers gain the benefits of ever-advancing technologies.
Worldwide, Rotork has approximately 1300 employees, has 30 subsidiaries and sales offices, and approximately 160 agents and distributors. Its world headquarters are in Bath, England, and the company is listed on the London stock exchange (symbol ROR.L).