From its humble beginnings, Equipment Group International (EGI) has evolved into a global manufacturer and distributor that specializes in servicing the Heat Transfer sector. With a focus on heat transfer equipment, such as heat exchangers, boilers, and air coolers, EGI is recognized for providing high-quality products and services. By providing maintenance and cleaning of critical components as well as a wide range of product solutions, the company has earned a reputation for exceeding the expectations of each of its customers.
Stainless Steel World Americas had the pleasure of speaking with General Manager, Joey Brock, concerning the company’s dynamic evolution, the high-quality products and services they offer, and their commitment to being the go-to source for heat transfer needs.
By Shopia Ketheeswararajah
While the company experienced many significant milestones in the first two decades of its operation, one of its first notable advancements took place in 2017 when EGI acquired the Airetool Tube Expander and Tube Cleaning rights along with its complete library of intellectual property.
Airetool had the same trajectory as EGI, providing top-of-the-line technological and manufacturing support to its clients. This acquisition put EGI in the manufacturing realm, allowing the company to branch off into highly sought-after markets.
In May 2020, EGI continued its evolution with the purchase of Vernon Tube Tools. Vernon is a manufacturer of hydraulic parallel roll expansion systems. “Our Vernon system is designed for high production, whereas the tube expander roll slots are in-line with the tube— rather than being off-set as with conventional tooling,” explained Brock. “In a production environment, this benefit can double or triple the number of tubes that can be expanded per hour.” After this acquisition, EGI was able to revitalize the product by adding the expansion system to their inventory, ultimately gaining favor with a new customer base.
“While the Vernon system was always a quality product, there were issues with availability. This merger allowed us to solve that issue,” stated Brock. “With each acquisition and merger, EGI takes the time to restore each respective product line’s demand to what it was at its peak. By replenishing the supply of these highly sought-after products and ensuring demand can be met, we provide an invaluable service to users in the market.”
One of the ways EGI can consistently supply and deliver high-demand products is by ensuring it has the resources to do so. “To make sure that we remain a go-to source for heat exchanger tooling and equipment, the company underwent an expansion in 2020. We established an EGI warehouse in Gonzales, Louisiana, to house an extensive amount of inventory—for the local market along with the Mississippi River complex, ranging from Mobile up to Baton Rouge,” he stated. “This expansion process has been very successful, and we have continued our growth within this market.”
Between its two locations, EGI typically stocks close to USD $9 million of inventory. “As many of these items are hard to obtain, we are usually our client’s first call; they know we have an extensive inventory that serves as a one-stop shop,” continued Brock. “This is one of our keys to success. We are a privately held company that does not report to stockholders; we can keep more inventory and therefore, put ourselves in a position to capture more business.”
Since 2020, the company has continued to grow. EGI now offers sales and rental of clamshell pipe cutters and flange facing equipment— through 60” diameter, along with specialty field machining equipment. This sizeable investment allowed the company to add a new service area to maintain this equipment to OEM standards.
Today, EGI is globally recognized for its dedication for going above and beyond for their clients. “Our team services take our clients’ questions a step further,” mentioned Brock. “This is done by making appropriate tooling recommendations and formulating custom tool lists. Our goal is to improve efficiency and ultimately and reduce lead times for our clients.”
Products and Service Offering
Another way EGI stands out from its competitors is through the quality and diversity of the products they offer. Servicing a wide variety of industries, including nuclear, petrochemical, OEM Manufacturers, and the U.S. Navy, the company carries a dynamic portfolio making it simple for end users to always find what they are looking for.
“The Airetool product line, for example, offers both OEM and end users tooling for tube expansion, tube extraction and tube testing,” stated Brock. “If our client needs to operate on a round tube, pipe or flange, we have products that range from a quarter of an inch, and up to 60” in diameter; giving our clients plenty of options for their project application.”
EGI additionally manufactures notable products including specialty hydrostatic test pumps and a complete line of boutique tools.
EGI’s boutique tools are specialized products designed for servicing air coolers. “Our Boutique line is of particular interest due to the severe services the assets are often employed in. These services are commonly found in air-coolers for liquified natural gas (LNG) projects. Boutique tools are essential to LNG projects as they bring the air temperature down and compress the gas,” explained Brock. With an industry-wide renewed interest in the production and use of LNG, several facility expansion projects have begun and require upwards of 150 air coolers in succession to maintain a safe environment.
An air cooler has nearly 200 to 400 tubes, each covered with a threaded plug. Plugs are used to cover the tube end to allow access to the inner tube for cleaning and other maintenance purposes.
“Over time, these threaded plugs can develop leaks and require the specialized tools we offer to fix them. For example, a variety of tools can be used to stop a leak by cutting a new gasket surface without damaging the existing component. Once cut, the new gasket surface is fit with a new plug and the tube is returned to the air cooler leak-free.”
“These are just a few of the newer products we have that distinguish us from our competitors. Many of these products are available on our rental fleet, and can be rented on a weekly or daily basis,” continued Brock.
EGI is a dynamic distributor in the industrial sector, specializing in providing a comprehensive range of products and tools tailored to the stainless steel industry. Renowned for its commitment to innovation and quality, the company offers cutting-edge solutions that cater to the diverse needs of heat transfer equipment. With a focus on technological advancement and customer satisfaction, the company plays a crucial role in enhancing efficiency and productivity within the industry, contributing to the overall growth and success of its clientele.