Selas is a leading manufacturer of combustion components and combustion systems that aims to be the worldwide market choice as a leading-edge, one-stop provider for all combustion technologies.
The company was founded in Germany in 1896 as a manufacturer of gas lamps for street lighting but has gone through many significant transformations. In the 1930s, having seen a great deal of success in the European market, it expanded its reach by opening its first facility in the United States and adapted its operation to suit the American market by refocusing on the development of combustion technologies for various ovens and furnaces.
In the 1940s, Selas established a research laboratory that enabled it to expand its range of products to cover new industries such as glass, metal, and petrochemical. Throughout the next forty years, the company continued to grow and to sharpen its expertise. In the 1980s, Selas’ parent company decided to divide and sell various aspects of the business, and in 2005, Lionheart Industrial Group acquired the burner and combustion division of Selas and shifted the company away from furnace and oven manufacturing toward being a supplier of combustion components and systems.
After Lionheart acquired Selas, it bought six additional brands operating in the industrial combustion and commercial boiler burner space. This allowed the company to diversify itself across many markets. As a result of these acquisitions, Selas has built itself into a single-source provider of combustion components and systems with a full suite of combustion products.
The company has five primary brands specializing in industrial combustion market and one brand in the boiler burner market. Selas is the flagship brand and provides a broad product line including pre-mix burners and mixing systems for creating air-gas pre-mix for combustion platforms. This product line aims to serve industries that need high-temperature furnaces including the metals, glass and ceramic, building materials, chemical and petrochemical industries.
Pyronics is a brand that specializes in nozzle burners and offers a product line consisting of burner technologies including premix burners, radiant tube burners, velocity burners and many associated components like blowers, regulators, flame safeguards, control valves and more. This brand operates in some of the same markets as the Selas brand but can also provide solutions suitable for the food and beverage, paper and textiles industries. Acquiring Pyronics in 2009 assisted the company in expanding its reach into these new market sectors.
Ray Burner was acquired by the company in 2011, as the company sought to enter the boiler business and have a dual fuel package burner to better enhance the package burner product offering. This division specializes in multiple fuel package burners that have applications for food and beverage and petrochemical industries as well as for marine boilers and field heating for the fracking industry. These burners are designed to handle a variety of fuels depending customer requirements. Though the burners are typically used for gas and oil dual fuel combustion, they can also burn a range of solid, liquid and gaseous fuels. They are the choice combustion technology for the United States Coast Guard cutter ships, and nearly any Coast Guard cutter upgrading its combustion equipment is fitted with a Ray Burner product.
The Red-Ray brand concentrates on gas-fired infrared burners of various types including metal mesh fiber and metal foam burners. The company recently released a new product through Red-Ray that uses a high-intensity, siliconized silicon carbide lattice emitter. These burners are highly efficient, and this innovation, designed specifically for the pulp and paper industry, can drive thermal efficiency gains upwards of fifteen percent or more.
“This was an interesting development where we made an investment in energy efficiency in a very select market,” says Selas Business Development Manager Chris Forti. “The pulp and paper industry uses a significant amount of energy. This product is going to significantly change the way they look at utilizing infrared in their process.”
The company went from having no presence in the pulp and paper market to having a revolutionary product that will transform the way that industry operates by increasing efficiency and reducing carbon emissions. Pushing innovation in specific market sectors has become a deliberate goal of the company, and this example demonstrates its aptitude for identifying what a market needs and developing technologies for it.
The Ensign brand has a line of direct fire ribbon burners. In 1938, Ensign invented and patented the first ribbon burner, and since that time, it has pioneered many technologies. Its numerous patents made it a very attractive prospect for Selas, which acquired the company in 2013. The most recent innovation through this brand is the QuadCool burner, which has technology designed to give significant improvements to applications in the 2D and 3D lamination market. The skill to recognize the unique, market-specific challenges that customers face and design solutions that can help improve their efficiency is what truly sets the company apart from the competition.
Maxsys is a brand that manufactures energy-efficient fuel systems that can cut energy costs and carbon emissions by at least five percent. Selas took an interest in the company based on these figures and decided to acquire it in 2011. “We wanted to be a part of the leading edge,” says Forti. “We saw how environmentally conscious Europe was becoming and we knew it would reach the USA soon.” As a result, the company has been able to enhance its core products and improve value for customers by incorporating this new line of energy-saving products. Since this acquisition, Maxsys equipment has been installed in factories in Singapore, China, Australia, USA, Mexico and Chile.
Finally, Webster Combustion Technology is the boiler burner branch of the company and makes burners that combine cutting-edge, proprietary control technology with high-performance, efficient combustion. In 2013, Selas recognized the company’s profitable position in the burner boiler market and acquired it in a serious push into this sector that it had first entered with Ray Burner.
It is a culture of flexibility and teamwork that has made it possible for the company to effectively bring this wide-ranging collection of businesses together under one umbrella and manage them effectively. The company found businesses that were solid but small on their own and envision ways to increase repeatability and scalability. This ability to foresee how all of these parts would fit together has lifted Selas to great heights.
Today, Selas has six facilities worldwide. The company is headquartered in Streetsboro, Ohio and has a second U.S. facility in Winfield, Kansas, housing the boiler burner division known as Webster Combustion Technology. The Cincinnati, Ohio site operates as a service center performing installations, safety audits and other aftermarket services. Overseas, the company has manufacturing plants in Japan, Germany and England. The company employs a total of roughly 170 people and has recently launched an initiative to add sales representatives around the world to drive sales globally.
Managing the explosive growth that comes with absorbing six companies in seven years is challenging, but the company has maintained a clear aim of meeting the needs of end users and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), and that has guided it to success.
Operating successfully across such a range of industries is only achievable as a result of the company’s deep and extensive knowledge of combustion technology. The Selas leadership is looking toward more acquisitions to further the company’s reach across an even broader market as it goes forward.
Selas has demonstrated a capacity to manage growth as it navigates the massive landscape of markets that make use of combustion technology. Far from resting on the laurels of its rapid expansion, the company is always finding creative ways to advance technology.
“You can imagine that the needs in a metals processing facility are quite a bit different than the needs of a food processing facility,” says Chief Executive Officer David Bovenizer. “With our vast experience and application expertise, we’re able to develop solutions that are meaningful to our customers in the form of new products.”
Selas is an innovator that brings creative solutions to the market before competitors. Through many strategic expansions, the company has grown toward its goal of becoming a single source for leading-edge combustion technology, and it will continue on this path long into the future.