Armstrong International, Inc. Company History
Armstrong International, based in Three Rivers, Michigan, originated as the Armstrong-Durst Machine Works, a Chicago company founded by Cousins James William (J.W.) Armstrong and John Adam Armstrong along with two other shareholders, to develop prototypes for new inventions. Shortly after its inception, the company relocated to Michigan where J.W.’s younger brother, Adam Elliott Armstrong, led the company through the development and marketing of a more efficient steam trap. Adam’s son, Lawrence F. Armstrong, continued and improved upon the steam trap and later initiated production of products such as bomb base plugs for use during World War II. The company’s journey continued to the present day leadership of a fourth generation at the helm with a fifth generation actively involved and poised to carry on not only a tradition of business management, but to further the success of a company with a long and rich history of innovation.
The five generations of family ownership and leadership credit the success of their organization to continuity and consistency. Each generation has maintained a belief in and demonstrated a practice of the company’s core values which are centered on “faith in God, faith in family and faith in business – in that order.” These core values “have created a “culture of respect” among employees, as well as customers.
Products Manufactured by Armstrong International, Inc. that Contained Asbestos
The job of a steam trap is straightforward: emit condensate air and CO2 from a system as quickly as these elements amass. In order to achieve maximum operating efficiency, the steam trap should also provide the following functions: minimize steam loss, ensure an extended and reliable span of service, be resistant to corrosion, ventilate air and CO2, and provide action against back pressure in the return system.
Asbestos, a highly fibrous mineral with several desirable properties – heat, fire, and chemical resistance, wear and friction characteristics, tensile strength, heat, electrical and sound insulation, and absorption capacity – made it the perfect component of steam traps due to its ability to deliver the best anticipated results.
Once touted for its beneficial attributes, today asbestos has been determined to be a known human carcinogen by several government offices and regulatory agencies – the Department of Health and Human Services, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Studies in humans and animals have conclusively demonstrated that inhalation of asbestos fibers may lead to an increased risk of asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma. Thus, the use of asbestos in manufactured products has significantly decreased.
Armstrong International manufactured steam traps which may have contained asbestos components, such as gaskets, supplied by third party vendors. Among the products produced by Armstrong International, Inc. that may have contained asbestos or asbestos components are:
- Safety Valves
- Pressure-Reducing Valves
- Steam Traps
- Float & Thermostatic
- Inverted Bucket
- Trap Valve Station Cast Iron
- Trap Valve Station Stainless Steel
- Thermostatic Wafer
- Options and Connectors
- Air Vents and Vacuum Breakers
Occupations at Risk for Asbestos Exposure
Armstrong International’s products were commonplace in thousands of companies and across dozens of industries, thus placing numerous occupations at an increased risk of asbestos exposure. Studies have shown that the principal route of occupational exposure to asbestos is through inhalation at the workplace. Exposure to hazardous airborne asbestos fibers may result from the manufacture, application, use, demolition, and disposal of asbestos products.
Individuals at risk for asbestos exposure from Armstrong International products may include, but are not limited to: steamfitters (pipefitters); boilermen; workers on seafaring vessels (e.g., Navy ships), locomotives, and/or aircrafts; and workers in power plants/physical plants where contact with steam traps was prevalent.
Unfortunately, secondhand exposure to asbestos is also of concern in the development of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses. It is possible that workers may have carried asbestos fibers into other environments, such as their homes, by means of their hair, skin, and clothing.
Armstrong International currently employees over 1,000 individuals, operates manufacturing facilities across three continents and in 12 countries, and owns and/or operates utility plants for Fortune 500 energy users. Armstrong’s system solutions and products are at work in thousands of companies across a vast array of industries worldwide.