Stanadyne Automotive Corporation - Company Profile, Information, Business Description, History, Background Information on Stanadyne Automotive Corporation

92 Deerfield Road
Windsor, Connecticut 06095-4200

Company Perspectives:

Stanadyne has worked hard to develop lasting relationships with its employees, customers, and suppliers. Our product innovation and manufacturing leadership brings the knowledge, skills and expertise of our people to the marketplace through our Diesel Systems Group, Precision Engine Products and Precision Components and Assembly businesses. We will continue to strive to be our customers' supplier of choice by providing high quality, innovative products and services, and on-time delivery performance to assure a stable future for all of our employees while providing adequate returns to continue investments in new products and process technologies.

History of Stanadyne Automotive Corporation

Stanadyne Automotive Corporation is a leading manufacturer of fuel injectors and pumps for diesel engines and hydraulic valve lifters for gas engines. Diesel products account for about 85 percent of sales with most customers being original equipment manufacturers like DaimlerChrysler, Deer & Co., and Ford Motor Co. More than nine out of ten farm and industrial tractors produced in the United States are diesel powered and many come equipped with a Stanadyne fuel system.

19th Century Origins

The company traces its roots back to 1876 when the Hartford Machine Screw Company was formed. The Connecticut legislature granted a charter to the Hartford Machine Screw Company in May of 1876. Nineteen years later the company became one of six screw companies that were part of the holding company known as Standard Screw Company. Standard Screw's first printed stockholders report appeared in 1902 showing sales of $900,000 and earnings of $67,500 according to a 1985 history of the company by Ellsworth S. Grant.

The company's first outstanding leader came from Chicago. Walter B. Pearson, an inventor, sold his small screw machine company to Standard Screw on July 9, 1900. From 1904, when Pearson took over as president, until his death in 1917, he was the architect of Standard Screw Company's rise to prominence in its industry. By doubling the company's subsidiaries to eight, Pearson gained an edge in the industry in the form of increased facilities and know-how. Along with two other early company leaders (Edwin H. Ehrman and Charles E. Roberts), Pearson introduced the 'new Standard Automatic,' a machine that reduced the cost of making screws nearly 40 percent. In February 1904 the company also reduced prices by 45 percent, a move that gave it the inside track with fledgling automobile manufacturers.

A Steady Stream of Profits Broken in 1931

World War I brought the company contracts from the British and U.S. governments for millions of bullets and fuses. In 1916 the company's profit of $2.2 million was ten times higher than the preceding year's, and 1917 saw another 340+ percent increase to $7.5 million. Although it could boast few proprietary products, Standard Screw dominated the screw machine products industry during the early decades of the 20th century. It succeeded through sophisticated job shops that churned out specialized, complex parts for manufacturers in many industries.

The company delivered a steady stream of profits until 1931, one of the Great Depression years. By 1934 the company rebounded, invested in modernization, and began to solidify its reputation for design as well as manufacturing. Rather than blindly following customer specifications, company engineers tried to create ways to improve the product and production process.

In 1935 the Chicago Screw subsidiary developed a mechanical type of tappet, the intricate, noise-reducing lifter device for engine valves. Tappets released oil in precise amounts to lubricate rocker arm assemblies and they provided an ideal surface for cam action. The company saw a tremendous business opportunity if it could meet the precision requirements of tappet customers like International Harvester and automobile manufacturers. By 1971 the Chicago operation would become a leading supplier of hydraulic tappets, producing more than 30 million a year.

Changing Market Brought a Dramatic Turn

World War II brought a deluge of challenges to Standard Screw. Every company facility was overwhelmed with the need for vital components for airplanes, engines, tanks, bulldozers, shells, cartridges, and other munitions. At the war's end the screw machine products industry was a changed landscape. The strong need for metalwork had spawned small, well-equipped shops with low overhead and few labor burdens. From 1939 to 1947 competition quadrupled to 1,200 shops. Standard Screw's competitors could buy government surplus machines at ten percent of their value. And some manufacturers, including many automotive companies, began making their own parts.

Perhaps no one influenced Standard Screw's history as much as its fourth president, Webster D. Corlett. He joined the company during World War I and by 1925 was responsible for all manufacturing. He became president in 1945 and retired as chairman of the board in 1964. For four decades he dictated manufacturing policy. Corlett could also claim responsibility for the Chicago operation's specialization in engine tappets and for acquiring the Moen single-handle faucet.

In 1949 Corlett announced a dramatic turn in company direction. Standard Screw would de-emphasize the highly competitive general screw machine products to concentrate more on a new type of injection pump for diesel engines, textile spindles, a new line of furniture fasteners, and automotive valve tappets.

Research and Development in 1950s

Since 1900 the company was a conglomeration of skilled job shops with no special resources allotted to research and development. The move into fuel injection pumps, plumbing, and tappets changed that. In 1961 the company established a $500,000+ annual research and development budget. In 1967 the company built an Advanced Products Technical Center in Windsor, Connecticut, to build and test products for the fuel injection business. (In 1982 Stanadyne doubled the size of the facility and renamed it the Vernon Roosa Engineering Center after the inventor of the diesel engine pump.)

The diesel pumps and tappets would prove particularly important to Standard Screw's future. In May 1947 the company convinced Long Island inventor Vernon D. Roosa to join its Connecticut operating company, Hartford Machine Screw, and perfect his diesel engine injection pump. Diesel engines had always been more economical and powerful than gasoline-fueled engines. They weren't used often because of a cumbersome power plant that did not fit well into vehicles. The diesel engine required a pump for each cylinder. Roosa's invention employed a single, small pump that reduced engine bulk and weight.

The first few years proved unprofitable, and Standard Screw nearly gave up on the project. Four years later, however, sales had eliminated all development costs. The pump's versatility, flexibility, and low cost made it popular with farm equipment manufacturers like Allis-Chalmers, Ford, International Harvester, and John Deere. In March 1953 the diesel fuel injection product company, CAV, Ltd. of London, contracted to manufacture and distribute the Roosa pump in Europe.

Operating Companies Combine in 1955

Standard Screw's structure as a holding company with separate operating companies eventually led to internal competition that created damaging rivalries among its Hartford, Connecticut; Elyria, Ohio; and Chicago screw machine products operations. In 1955 management dissolved the subsidiaries and made them divisions. However, nothing stopped the decline of the overall fastener and job shop business. The close business relationships Standard Screw had with many customers came to be less important, as the value of a dollar gained overriding prominence in the customer's mind. Marginal pricing created havoc in the industry. New distribution methods allowed customers to skirt around Standard Screw. And foreign competition intensified. The company reacted by consolidating its standard fastener sales and selling nationally under a new trade name, 'Stanscrew' in 1961.

While continuing to struggle in the screw products machine business, Standard Screw's business in tappets grew. Early in the 1950s Corlett and Carl Voorhies created a hydraulic lifter with tolerances held to 35 millionths of an inch that won contracts from Chrysler and other manufacturers. In 1956 Corlett signed a deal, with Ravenna Metal Products of Seattle, to acquire the single-handle faucet technology developed by Al Moen. The Moen faucet became the company's first consumer product. After several years of development, the company perfected the Moen faucet for mass marketing.

A New Name in the 1970s

For the first time, in 1966 the company instituted formal divisional planning, in an effort to further develop and market its own products. Company Chairman James A. Taylor acknowledged in 1969 that although Stanscrew fasteners were still important, the company would not base its future on them. To further signal the shift in company product, Standard Screw changed its name to Stanadyne, Inc. in 1970.

The old screw machine products and fasteners still acted as an anchor on company progress. In the 1970s that portion of Stanadyne's business had to weather two energy crises, more aggressive foreign competition, and the decline in general of the U.S. manufacturers.

Rising Fortunes in Pump, Faucet, and Tappet Markets

Fortunately, the Roosa pump, the Moen faucet, and the tappet business rose at about the same time that the screw products machine business fell. The 1970s oil crisis propelled the pump sales beyond all company expectations. In 1976 General Motors first contracted for Roosa pumps annually for its light trucks and passenger cars. As GM's orders grew from 75,000 to about 300,000 annually, Stanadyne opened plants in North Carolina. In 1988 the pump joined the likes of the San Francisco cable cars and Pitney Bowes' postage meter when the American Society of Mechanical Engineers recognized its revolutionary impact. By that year nearly 30 million rotary type fuel pumps had been produced by Stanadyne and its licensees. Before Roosa's invention the diesel engine powered five percent of farm tractors, construction equipment, and commercial trucks, while the gasoline engine powered 95 percent. By 1988 the reverse was true.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s the company tried diversifying to protect itself from loses in its core business and to take advantage of its strong, debt-free financial position. It purchased the Chicago Starter Company in 1969 to complement the Roosa Pump product. In March 1970 the company bought Capewell Manufacturing Company of Hartford, a maker of saw blades and parachute buckles. To supplement Moen's line of plumbing products, Stanadyne bought the outstanding stock of Ziegler-Harris, a small sink manufacturer in January 1973.

Next, the company sought to capitalize on the growing interest in powdered metallurgy. Using this new technology for making hydraulic tappets would reap considerable savings. It would eliminate machining as a step in the formation and fusing of certain parts. Powered metallurgy might also be useful in pump production. In January 1977 Stanadyne bought the Supermet Division of TRW Inc. The investment in Capewell eventually required Stanadyne to choose to either get further into the industrial saw market or abandon it. It chose to sell Capewell in 1980. A year later, when it became clear the Chicago Starter Company did not fit in with the company's strategic direction, it was sold to Sycon Corporation.

The Moen faucet showed great sales growth throughout the 1970s. By 1979 Moen's annual sales topped $100 million, or 25 percent of the parent company total. Semi-proprietary valve train line and cold-drawn steel operations also proved profitable.

Transition from a fastener and job shop was completed by 1980 when the company liquidated its entire screw machine products and fastener business. At that time the company competed in four main businesses: diesel fuel injection systems, valve trains, cold-finished steel, and powdered metal parts.

Going International

As early as 1958 Stanadyne had a worldwide network for distribution and service of the Roosa Master Pump. Agreements included a 1961 license granted to a West German company to use Moen patents to produce some faucet parts and a 1964 agreement with Moresa, S.A. in Mexico to make tappets.

Engineering innovations helped keep the company moving into markets worldwide. The 1963 introduction of the Pencil Nozzle was a major design change that reduced manufacturing costs and helped spur worldwide sales. In 1984 Stanadyne introduced the Slim Tip Pencil Nozzle that allowed Ford U.K. and the Japanese farm equipment manufacturer, Kubota, to reconfigure combustion chamber designs for higher horsepower and lower emissions.

May 1972 saw the opening of Stanadyne of Canada to promote Moen products in that country. The company's first branch office in Trappes, France was established in 1975. By 2000 it served Europe, Africa, and Asia through 52 distributors and 400 dealers.

In 1980 Paul Mongerson, chief executive officer, established the company's International Division. During that decade Stanadyne targeted the U.S. and European on-highway diesel engine market, becoming the sole supplier of fuel pumps for General Motor's 6.2L diesel engine and Navistar's 6.9 diesel engine. To better serve Europe, Stanadyne acquired a fuel injector manufacturing plant in Brescia, Italy.

During the 1980s Stanadyne also began creating ancillary products for the diesel market. These included a diesel engine timing kit and the development of fuel additives.

By the beginning of the 21st century the company had seven manufacturing plants as well as five engineering and technical centers worldwide. Locations included Windsor, Connecticut; Jacksonville, North Carolina; Tallahassee, Florida; Elmhurst, Illinois; Washington, North Carolina; Brescia, Italy; Huntingdon, U.K., Trappes, France; and Curitiba, Brazil. More than 33 percent of the company's $282 million annual sales were in markets outside North America.

Ownership Changes and New Products in the 1990s

In the late 1980s and the 1990s ownership and makeup of the company continued to change and evolve. Early in 1988 a private New York investment firm, Forstmann Little, bought Stanadyne. At the time, the company had four operating groups: 1) Moen plumbing products; 2) the automotive products group; 3) Supermet, a powdered metal group; and 4) the Western Cold-drawn Steel group. All four operations were quickly sold. KSP, another private New York investment firm, bought the automotive products group and the rights to the Stanadyne name in February 1989. KSP renamed the company, Stanadyne Automotive Corp. In 1997 American Industrial Partners purchased Stanadyne and owed nearly 95 percent of the company in 2000. The company had two independent business segments, the diesel systems division, which accounted for more than 80 percent of sales, and the precision engine division, which designed and manufactured hydraulic valve lifters, primarily for automotive gasoline engines.

A continuing theme throughout the 1990s was product development. Several innovations arose from Stanadyne's efforts to help manufacturers meet stricter worldwide emissions regulations. In 1991 Stanadyne developed the Fuel Manager, a product using a completely modular system with interchangeable components for fuel filtration, water detection and removal, in-unit heating, and hand priming. In 1994 the company introduced its Model DS electronic fuel injection pump. The pump provided electronic control of both fuel quantity and the start of injection timing. The precision engine division developed a new roller rocker arm assembly and expanded into Brazil to support Tritec, a joint venture between DaimlerChrysler and BMW.

As it moved into a new century, Stanadyne's focus was on innovation and new markets for its precision components. As the United States stepped up regulations on emissions levels for diesel engines, the company was exploring new, environmentally sound products to aid in fuel economy and air quality. With a long tradition of quality and reliability, Stanadyne seemed assured of a secure place in the automotive industry of the future.

Principal Subsidiaries: Precision Engine Products Corp.; Stanadyne Automotive S.p.A. (Italy); Precision Engine Products Ltda.(Brazil).

Principal Divisions: Diesel Systems Group; Precision Components & Assembly.

Principal Competitors: Robert Bosch GmbH; Federal-Mogul Corp.; Eaton Corp.


Additional Details

Further Reference

Grant, Ellsworth S., Stanadyne: A History, Windsor, Conn.: Stanadyne, Inc., 1985.Murphy, Robert F., 'Diesel Pump a Landmark,' Hartford Courant, April 19, 1988, p. B1.Rasie, Lawrence B., 'Forstmann Little Decided Quickly on Stanadyne Buy,' Hartford Courant, February 10, 1988, p. C1.

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