Talent, Tenacity and Trust

Tampa Armature Works
Written by Pauline Muller

We know not to judge a book by its cover, and it is also not wise to sum up a company’s capacity by its name alone. TAW, Inc. (TAW®), formerly Tampa Armature Works, is a great example of this. Armature motor repair makes up around twenty-five percent of the company’s business, but it has so much more to offer…
In particular, this company prides itself on complete project management solutions driven by advanced technical and engineering capabilities. It also makes facilities with high powered machinery a lot more reliable by saving on downtime, and far more energy efficient in the use of their power equipment.

For commercial, industrial, and utility outfits that use motors, pumps, switchgears, controls, and automation, generators and other power equipment, TAW is auspicious. From its base in Tampa, Florida, the company serves a phenomenal range of industries. From paper mills and municipal wastewater treatment systems to rubber manufacturers, chemical companies, citrus processing plants, the mining industry, and utility operations, this company is a trusted partner for a myriad of facilities.

TAW even designs controls and automation for some of the greatest rides at some of the world’s best-known theme parks. And it manufactures considerable volumes of custom equipment for many industries and the U.S. military operations around the world.

“There are very few industries that do not use energy-intensive motors or pumps that we don’t work with,” says Vice President of Sales and Marketing Jeff Custer.

This $200-million company has been serving clients for nearly one hundred years and has built a solid reputation for designing, supplying, manufacturing, integrating, and servicing power units. “The main difference between TAW and our competitors is our ability to provide a complete solution. We place a high emphasis on engineering and designing the right solution to solve our customer’s requirements,” says CEO, James Turner.

To provide its customers with all the support they need, the company has several departments. Its eight service centers stretch across the southeast and take care of repairs and servicing. Some of its facilities focus on certain specialty functions, like its Miami plant that repairs turbine generators sent from as far afield as the Caribbean, Central America, South America, and from across the United States. Other examples of its specialty expertise are its repair work on motors for nuclear power plants and fulfilling maintenance contracts.

TAW’s Custom Equipment group manufactures a variety of equipment including power distribution centers, e-houses, switchgear and data centers for operations both in North America and internationally. “We’ve manufactured specialty equipment for our customers for a long time. That’s why it is more cost-effective for them to send their equipment out to us for repairs because they know the entire job is done right,” says Jeff.

In addition, it has a field service group that sees to customers’ onsite requirements, honoring field service and maintenance agreements. It can perform both routine and preventative maintenance and service work at the customer’s site to ensure their equipment stays up and running. Its power generation group is particularly involved in building standby power equipment for commercial and institutional buildings like universities, schools, and hospitals. To ensure that all these machines continue to run smoothly, it offers extensive supply and maintenance services for Kohler’s Power Systems. This service includes testing and diagnosing mechanical faults, repair, overhaul when necessary as well as retrofit and redesign of equipment.

These backup power supply units run on either diesel or natural gas, and the company ensures that it is always available to keep these machines in optimum condition. For its Kohler division, the company has around nine sales and service centers that can be found in Florida, Mississippi, and Alabama. This division is decidedly well organized with dedicated service teams and independent operations that take care of Kohler Power equipment in the field.

“We are one of the largest distributors of Kohler power equipment in the world,” says Jeff. These machines cover an assortment of types and sizes with specialized units for use in residential, commercial, industrial, and marine settings. The company even offers disaster relief. All its units come with a choice of services that include logistics support, installation, connection, access to emergency backup power, and more.

The company’s values remain the same as when it was founded in 1921 by James Arthur Turner. It still emphasizes integrity, teamwork, safety, accountability, innovation, and quality. However, the business has far outgrown its founders’ wildest expectations.

“We are very unique in that we offer customers a comprehensive turnkey solution of a big company, yet we maintain our core values of a family owned business,” says James.

“Our CEO, James A. Turner III, affectionately known as Bubba, has done a great job at keeping our core values intact while growing the business,” Jeff adds. “We are also excited for the future because the fourth generation, Caroline Turner, has recently joined TAW as the VP & Chief Strategy Officer.

TAW works to be an extension of its clients’ operations. This can take various forms, including support teams that visit clients’ facilities at regular intervals as well as dedicated employees permanently stationed at some customers’ facilities. This not only ensures consistency but also means that clients always have the best minds in the field at their beck and call. “We’re very close to our customers. They requested this service, and we listened because we were able to develop and expand our capabilities in order to take of what they need,” says Jeff.

Its custom manufacturing shop is another of its distinguishing features. Here, the team creates unique equipment and maintains it. This department is another part of the business that grew out of customers’ requests. It began by producing hard-to-replace parts and machines to suit specific applications. This allowed the company to customize controls, switchgear, and other equipment according to clients’ specifications, often improving on existing concepts. At the time, this service was something that customers desperately needed as the all too common one-size-fits-all applications available in the market often failed under the pressures of in-field use.

The company also has superb industry relationships with several motor, pump and switchgear manufacturers. This means that, even though it does not promote individual brands, the company can advise clients in terms of what brands are best suited to their needs.

Jeff says that, for the sake of sales, companies will often push certain models of equipment in their own lines over those of others. Of course, these may or may not be the best solution for the overall greatest outcome of a client’s project, which is why TAW’s approach to the matter is entirely different. The company works to find ideal solutions to achieve the clients’ goal completely. That means that it does not peddle ‘just good enough.’

“Instead of settling for what is merely acceptable, we consider all the factors at play like spare parts, serviceability, after-hours requirements, et cetera. This gives us a lot more latitude to really solve the problem,” says Corporate Product Line Manager Steve Lamb. This means looking very closely at the details of the functions that each machine has to fulfill, from the torque needed to match manufacturer strengths with the client’s field requirements to programming logic controllers (PLCs), that allow machines to copy and repeat certain functions by gathering and sharing pertinent system information.

One of its proudest moments came recently when it engineered an entirely new system for a large client which previously had to have two enormous motors repaired regularly. Field conditions for the client are harsh, but the company masterminded a remarkable new way of dealing with the problem.

“We were able to develop a solution by designing a new system which included a variable frequency drive, updated controls, and provide the customer with a complete solution so the customer could get the work done quickly,” says Steve. And the triumphs did not end there, either. “The TAW solutions provided the customers with repaired motors and a control system that would provide much higher reliability, extend the life of the repaired motors by five years, and provide a more efficient system, reducing the operating cost over the previous motor.”

This company is exceptional in its abilities and expertise, with a vast number of custom services and products on offer. TAW has worked in forty-two states in the United States and twenty-eight countries worldwide including in the Caribbean, Central, and South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia and will continue to rise on the global industrial landscape.



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