Superior Portable Machine Tools – Approaching Ten Years of Excellence

In the heart of industrial innovation, a company emerged from humble beginnings to redefine the landscape of on-site machining. Today, Superior Portable Machine Tools, originally a specialized tool rental company, has evolved into a powerhouse, offering top-of-the-line solutions across a spectrum of industries.

Stainless Steel World Americas had the pleasure of speaking with Eric Dunkerson, President and COO of Superior, about the company’s journey through strategic acquisitions, innovative engineering, and a decade of unwavering commitment to customer satisfaction.

By Shopia Ketheeswararajah

Foundations of Excellence

The inception of Superior Portable Machine Tools traces its roots back to a vision of addressing the evolving needs of various industries. Founded by Al Shiyou, the company initially began in the Gulf Coast region, focusing on providing specialty tools for maintenance and repair in the oil and gas sector. Al Shiyou brought with him a wealth of experience from his previous venture, Superior Plant Services, leveraging his knowledge to lay the foundation for Superior’s journey. “Superior Plant Rentals began as a modest enterprise in Gonzales, Louisiana, purchasing products from our now competitors, and offering those products for rent,” said Dunkerson.

The company quickly expanded its horizons once Superior purchased York Portable Machine Tools in Canada to manufacture equipment. “We went from zero product lines to 10 product groups and over 175 products within those groups,” Dunkerson said. “We want to provide equipment that embodies our commitment to innovation and quality, and partner with our customers to ensure the proper development of our equipment.

Instead of creating machines and anticipating revenue streams from the repairs of those machines, we take a different approach, developing machinery that does not break down often or require extensive knowledge of how to use the machines,” he explained.

Strategic acquisitions, such as ‘PipeTools’ and ‘Your Portable Machine Tools,’ propelled Superior’s growth. “Our acquisition of PipeTools in Houston broadened our product portfolio and market reach.” This strategic move enabled Superior to provide a more comprehensive range of tools and services for its customers, offering a diverse range of products catering to heavy construction, mining, oil and gas, aerospace, and military sectors. “In 2017, another pivotal moment came when Superior expanded its footprint with facilities in Beaumont and Corpus Christi, Texas, solidifying its presence in key industrial hubs,” Dunkerson said.

In 2022, the company made the strategic purchase of Aggressive Equipment Company, an equipment manufacturer out of North Carolina. “The purchase of ‘Aggressive,’ a product line with a reputation in the industry as extremely durable and reliable, will broaden our ability to serve our customers and further expand our long-term growth potential.” The acquisitions further bolstered Superior’s capabilities, demonstrating the company’s commitment to quality, diversification, and innovation.

“From its state-of-the-art technology to its impeccable customer-centric approach, this company focuses on safety, efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and superior products.”

Innovative Solutions

What sets Superior apart is its relentless pursuit of innovation. The company’s mission revolves around engineering machinery that stands the test of time.

Superior designs equipment that minimizes down-time and maximizes efficiency. Their products, ranging from portable machining tools to heat exchanger solutions, reflect a commitment to seamless operations in challenging environments. “We offer on-site machining solutions to address maintenance, repair, and modification needs. This includes machinery for pipe cutting, flange facing, line boring, milling, and bore welding,” added Dunkerson. This equipment is engineered to be rugged, versatile, and easily transportable to remote or offshore locations where traditional machinery may not be feasible.

Additionally, the company provides custom-engineered solutions to address unique challenges encountered in industrial operations. This could involve designing and fabricating specialized tools or equipment tailored to specific project requirements. The company also offers a range of tooling and accessories optimized for special applications. This can include cutting and grinding tools, clamping systems, and other accessories which are essential for on-site machining tasks. “We have a wide range of products that we offer for heat exchanger maintenance and repair, as well as production. This could involve utilizing specialized tools to ensure efficient operation of heat exchanger systems critical to processing facilities,” he added.

“Oil and gas is the core of our business at Superior, however, we also work with heavy construction, marine, and mining industries. We also specialize in equipment and repair in the aerospace and military sectors,” said Dunkerson. Superior is known for providing solutions to challenges that involve equipment that is much too large to remove, take into or out of a facility or a machine shop. “Ideally, we have designed our equipment to be able to perform or provide maintenance on-site, without having to remove the problem part from the machine and away from the facility. This allows us to minimize downtime and emergency shutdowns,” Dunkerson said.

Superior is ISO90001 certified and performs strenuous research and development when manufacturing these machines. “Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) and robust research and development (R&D), which follows the ISO standard is required for much of our equipment, prior to being made available to our clients,” said Dunkerson.

Approaching Ten Years of Excellence

As Superior prepares to celebrate its 10-year mile-stone anniversary, its standing in the industry reflects its reputation as an exceptional global specialty tool and equipment provider.

At the core of Superior’s ethos lies a dedication to customer satisfaction. Every decision, product, and interaction is saturated with a customer-centric focus. With a decentralized decision-making process, Superior ensures agility and responsiveness. Their nationwide footprint, coupled with round-the-clock support, underscores a commitment to meeting customer needs promptly and efficiently.

“Everything we do is customer-driven, we truly pride ourselves in not only our innovative equipment, but also in the customer service we provide,” he said. “We are not a big company; however, this works in our favor. Our decisions are made just as quickly and strategically, and we are not hindered by a long chain of approval,” Dunkerson said.

The company prides itself in providing value-added engineering, comprehensive training, and operational support, all while maintaining the highest standard of health, safety, and environmental standards. The company’s extensive experience in service and its background knowledge in its offered equipment sets them apart from the rest of the industry. “We believe that success is not just about delivering exceptional equipment, but also about helping our customers succeed in their respective industries,” added Dunkerson. As it approaches its milestone anniversary, Superior remains unwavering in its mission to empower clients with the tools and technologies they need to succeed in an ever-evolving industry landscape. With a focus on continuous improvement and customer satisfaction, Superior is poised to continue making significant contributions for years to come.

At the core of Superior’s ethos lies a dedication to customer satisfaction. Every decision, every product, and every interaction is saturated with a customer-centric focus.

Pioneering the Future

Superior’s journey over the past decade has been curated through its dedication to delivering top-of-the-line solutions that enhance efficiency, safety, and productivity in the field. From the design and fabrication of robust machinery to the provision of expert maintenance and support services, Superior has become synonymous with quality and dependability.

Looking ahead, Superior’s vision extends beyond borders. With plans for expansion into Germany and aspirations to become a global leader in specialty tools, the company is poised for continued success. Sustainability remains a guiding principle, driving innovation towards environmentally conscious solutions. As Superior marches towards its future, the spirit of innovation and customer-centricity remains its guiding light. In the ever-evolving landscape of industrial machining, Superior stands as a beacon of innovation and customer service. From its humble beginnings to its global ambitions, the company’s journey exemplifies the power of vision, perseverance, and commitment to excellence. As industries adapt to new challenges, Superior remains at the forefront, shaping the future of on-site machining one innovation at a time.

Superior at a Glance

Superior Portable Machine Tools (SPR) sells and rents specialty tools and equipment for the Oil and Gas, Mining, Heavy Construction, Marine, Aerospace, Defense, and Power Generation industries. With 10 locations across the US and Canada, and a worldwide network of dealers, SPR offers a line of portable line boring machines, auto bore welders, linear/gantry, and rotary milling machines, clamshells (pipe cutters), ID/OD flange facers, end-prep bevelers, and weld isolation and test plugs. They also provide tools and machinery for the production and maintenance of heat exchangers, condensers, and boilers. SPR’s engineering group specializes in both customizing existing products to meet specific needs or creating ground-up designs. Superior also provides precision grinding and tooling services as well as custom and standard tool bits.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the profiled company and may not reflect the position of Stainless Steel World Americas.

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Shopia Ketheeswararajah is a feature editor contributing to Pump Engineer, Stainless steel World Americas, Hose and Coupling World, and other related print & online media.