The Clarkson Company: A Division of Tyco International
In 1950, J. R. Clarkson founded a family-owned industrial valve design and manufacturing company in Sparks, Nevada. For almost a half century, the company, known as the Clarkson Company, worked on advancing metal and mineral processing. The Clarkson Company became known for its knife-gate and control valves, introduced in the 1970s, that are able to halt and isolate sections of slurry flow. By the late 1990s, the company had become a key supplier of knife-gate valves, helping to control the flow in many of the piping systems around the world in different industries, including mining, energy, and wastewater treatment.
The knife-gate valve uses a steel gate like a blade that lowers into a slurry flow to create a bubble-tight seal. While conventional metal gates fill with hardened slurry and fail easily thereby requiring high maintenance, Clarkson’s design introduced an easily replaceable snap-in elastomer sleeve that is durable, versatile, and handles both high pressure and temperature variation. Pipeline operators value Clarkson’s elastomer sleeve because traditional seals have cost between $75 and $500 to replace, and considerable revenue is lost when a slurry system is stopped for maintenance repairs. Clarkson’s product lasts longer and is easier to replace.
In the late 1990s, the Clarkson Company was acquired by Tyco Valves & Controls, a division of Tyco International, Ltd. Tyco Valves &Controls, located in Reno, Nevada, and having ISO 9000 certification, continues to produce, market, and distribute products under the Clarkson brand name, including the popular knife-gate valve.
1. The successful Clarkson knife-gate valve contains a wafer that is thin and light. Yet, the wafer is so strong it can operate with up to 150 pounds-per-square-inch (psi) of pressure on it, making it much stronger than those of competing brands. Suppose Tyco engineers have developed a new wafer that is even stronger. They want to set up an experimental design to test the strength of the wafer but they want to conduct the tests under three different temperature conditions, , , and . In addition, suppose Tyco uses two different suppliers (company A and company B) of the synthetic materials that are used to manufacture the wafers. Some wafers are made primarily of raw materials supplied by company A, and some are made primarily of raw materials from company B. Thus, the engineers have set up a factorial design with temperature and supplier as the independent variables and pressure (measured in psi) as the dependent variable. Data are gathered and are shown here. Analyze the data and discuss the business implications of the findings. If you were conducting the study, what would you report to the engineers?
163 157 146
Supplier A 159 162 137
161 155 140
158 159 150
Supplier B 154 157 142
164 160 155
2. Pipeline operators estimate that it costs between $75 and $500 in U.S. currency to replace each seal, thus making the Clarkson longer-lasting valves more attractive. Tyco does business with pipeline companies around the world. Suppose in an attempt to develop marketing materials, Tyco marketers are interested in determining whether there is a significant difference in the cost of replacing pipeline seals in different countries. Four countries—Canada, Colombia, Taiwan, and the United States—are chosen for the study. Pipeline operators from equivalent operations are selected from companies in each country. The operators keep a cost log of seal replacements. A random sample of the data follows. Use these data to help Tyco determine whether there is a difference in the cost of seal replacements in the various countries. Explain your answer and tell how Tyco might use the information in their marketing materials.
Canada Colombia Taiwan United States
$215 $355 $170 $230
205 280 190 190
245 300 235 225
270 330 195 220
290 360 205 215
260 340 180 245
225 300 190 230
3. In the late 1980s, the Clarkson Company installed a manufacturing resource planning system. Using this and other quality improvement approaches, the company was able to reduce lead-time from six to eight weeks to less than two weeks. Suppose that Tyco now uses a similar system and wants to test to determine whether lead-times differ significantly according to the type of valve it is manufacturing. As a control of the experiment, they are including in the study, as a blocking variable, the day of the week the valve was ordered. One lead-time was selected per valve per day of the week. The data are given here in weeks. Analyze the data and discuss your findings.
Type of Valve
Safety Butterfly Clack Slide Poppet Needle
Monday 1.6 2.2 1.3 1.8 2.5 0.8
Tuesday 1.8 2.0 1.4 1.5 2.4 1.0
Wednesday 1.0 1.8 1.0 1.6 2.0 0.8
Thursday 1.8 2.2 1.4 1.6 1.8 0.6
Friday 2.0 2.4 1.5 1.8 2.2 1.2
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