The Paladon Difference: Innovative Solutions for Industry
For over 30 years, Paladon Systems has been supplying high quality valve actuators and control systems on a global scale. With the opening of Paladon Americas in 2011, the company can better serve their customers around the globe.
Valve World Americas spoke with Brian Crook, Director of Sales and Operations at Paladon Americas, about their innovative product offerings, customer priority, and what truly makes the ‘Paladon Difference’.
By Brittani Schroeder and Sarah Bradley
Paladon Systems was originally founded in 1981 as a job shop, or actuation integrator; it was not until 1999 that Paladon began manufacturing their own Scotch-Yoke actuators. “When we decided to start up our manufacturing operations, we had a well-known designer take over the task of designing the Paladon Actuator, which were created in our Borgonovo Val Tidone, Italy location,” said Brian Crook.
Paladon Americas is the newest addition to the Paladon Systems family with manufacturing based in Houston, Texas. The sistering company, established in 2011, holds the responsibilities of sales, service, and manufacturing for the United States, Canada, South and Latin America.
For almost a decade, Paladon Americas has worked with resellers, distributors, and manufacturing representatives based on geographical location, to get their product to customers. “As we partner with a large number of people, we know we need to create value for our end users, but also for our distribution network,” Crook relayed. “We have a company ethos that drives our entire business: customer service. When we are looking for new partners, they need to put customer service first.” Paladon knows the foundation of a good business is listening to the customer, providing them with the proper solution, and not worrying about the sale itself.
A Global Presence
Paladon is a global company with hometown roots. The company builds products in Texas and Italy, while the U.K. office is dedicated to sales, engineering and aftermarket support service. Each facility is able to offer their customers a personal touch that is unique to each location. “We want to make sure our products are delivered on time to our customers, and meet the exact specifications they need,” relayed Crook. “Our Houston, TX facility builds scotch yoke, direct gas, hydraulic and electro-hydraulic, and complete turnkey packages for our customers in the Americas. Our Italy facility manufactures the complete product line, including parts, modules, and complete turnkey packages. The facility in the U.K. focuses on subsea, ASV, and specialty packages.” In all locations, the company builds High Integrity Pressure Protection System (HIPPS) and High Pressure Unit (HPU) packages as well.
The company’s focus has primarily been on the oil and gas industry, however, they have begun branching out into new markets, such as petrochemical, power generation, and mining. “We learn a lot from other industries, so we try to stay as diverse as we can. If you find yourself doing the same thing over and over, you will never learn anything new. Being adaptable allows us to convey new methods and practices for end users that may have crossed over from another industry.”
An Impressive Product Portfolio
Paladon Americas builds many styles of actuators, including the Pneumatic/Hydraulic Scotch-Yoke, Direct Gas Scotch-Yoke, Gas/Oil Scotch-Yoke, Electro-Hydraulic Scotch-Yoke, Self-Contained Hydraulic ESD, HPU and HIPPS packages, Pipeline Monitoring Systems, and Autonomous Solar and Wind Turbine Systems. In addition, the company boasts 80% of their final products are customized to customers’ specific requirements.
In 2016, the Houston facility introduced their new Electro-Hydraulic Actuator and Control System. “We approached our customers, end users and operators, heard their feedback, and created this new system for them. We wanted to address the stigmas attached to most electro-hydraulic systems,” said Crook. “Examples of issues included leaking and difficulty setting the switches that will start and stop the motor.” Paladon was the first to introduce an on-board logic controller on the unit, which eliminates the need to use a limit switch to start/stop the motor. “We are able to provide valuable feedback to a control room, which features a low fluid level alarm, motor run protection, and valve jam/travel alarms. Our goal was to address industry problems, and build a smarter product that will not destroy itself if a single component fails.”
More recently, the company has begun an evolution of the EHYS-Series Electro-Hydraulic Scotch-Yoke actuators to include new features, such as autonomous operation, integrated pipeline monitoring, and solar and/or wind turbined powered with a battery backup. Crook admitted, “We want to bring our product into a class of its own, and so we are raising the bar on features, delivery, and value for customers.”
The SCHY-Series Self-Contained Hydraulic ESD was also recently introduced. “This is a simple hydraulic scotch-yoke, but it does not require power. It uses a hydraulic hand pump to open/close a valve, and we can add in a high/low pressure pilot, solenoid or limitswitch, which makes the unit a completely autonomous shutdown system,” stated Crook.
For each facility and product line, Paladon has obtained a wide range of certifications to ensure high quality products for their customers. The company’s manufacturing facility in Italy just received ISO 14001:2015 and ISO 45001:2018 approval by Lloyds Register. They have also held ISO certification for well over 20 years, and maintain Lloyds Low Temp to -85F, IP66, ATEX, PED, SIL3 and ISO-5211 certifications.
Over the next year, Paladon Americas will be rolling out several new technologies, including Solid-State Electronics, LTE-M Cellular technology with GPS, MQTT, TLS encryption, remote control, web-based IOT cloud control, customer cloud, and SCADA control. “We are also partnering with solar power and battery manufacturers to deliver the latest advances in each technology,” Crook explained.
Providing Exceptional Service
To ensure the customer is left with a great first impression, Paladon offers new customers a free start-up and commissioning of their products. “We have built our business around serving the customer, so we make sure they are given a memorable experience that makes them want to work with us in the future,” said Crook. Paladon Americas also has a service truck with the ability to lift up to 7,500 lbs, a reach of 30 feet, an onboard Miller Welder, an 11,000 watt generator, a high-volume air compressor, booster tanks, features 4-wheel drive, and Wi-Fi/wireless crane controls. “For us, building a quality product is one part of the equation, and proper service is the other.”
The Company That Can
Paladon Americas has quickly earned a reputation for being the company that can. “We are recognized by industry professionals for not only our product quality and value, but also for providing solutions. Internally, we like to call it the ‘Paladon Difference’,” admitted Crook.
The ‘Paladon Difference’ begins with offering a standard configuration to start. As the company uses a lot of modular components on their actuators, they can easily upgrade or change out certain parts to make a customized unit. Crook continued, “Being able to quickly swap out one component for another allows us to meet any short deadline.” Paladon also keeps a large stock inventory, so customers will not have to wait on missing parts.
Traceability is also an important aspect of their operations. Every quote is sent to the customer with an ISA style quote form, a brochure, topworks dimensions, and standards. Every order ships with a serial number and the customer purchase order number (PO#) on the IOM. All electrical units ship with the customer specific wiring diagram. Crook explained, “We also track who built each unit to ensure accountability, quality and consistency. For our electro-hydraulic units, the program logic is serialized and stored on a local server for quick internal access.”
Emerging Innovations and Industry Changes
Paladon is constantly researching new technologies, building prototypes, and testing product changes. “For us to be the very best, we must push ourselves to excel at a higher level,” said Crook. “We do not sit back and rest on a single accomplishment, we are always innovating.”
To remain a technology leader, the company must continuously update their products and processes. Without these updates, things become stale, and ideas become worn out or overused. Crook continued, “Our mission will always be to serve the customer, and that means we need to not only keep up with what the industry needs, but also do our own research so we can be the first to provide it.”
A recent shift to digitized and automated processes is evident in industry. Crook believes that Paladon will be able to meet this new need as they have the ability to bring together renewable energy, fugitive emissions reduction, and past technologies to redefine future standards of the industry. He said, “At this moment, our industry is having to find ways to do more with less. Through innovations and partnerships with companies like Paladon Americas, we can help users pave the way to the future.”
Paladon sees many positive changes and growth in the company and their business in the coming years. Recently, they were awarded a global hydrogen facilities project, and were shortlisted for a new global LNG project. “The market is extremely competitive right now, and we are working towards being the leader at a time when the status quo is just not good enough. We work for the customer and their needs, which means we are responsive, consistent, and transparent; we ask the right questions, and we provide affordable solutions with short lead times,” Crook stated. “We have a lot of work ahead of us, but through leadership, a defined strategy, and a team of people working together, we expect our growth to continue. We are working hard to get in front of the end users, gain their trust, and prove the ‘Paladon Difference.’”
For more information on Paladon Americas and their innovative approach to valve automation, please reach out to them at email@example.com, toll free at 888-593-0757 or their website www.paladonamericas.com