Aurora Pump Company History
Frank Main and Lionel Claypool purchased Aurora from its original owners in 1937. Initial small profits eventually gave way to prosperity during the War years with new products that were successfully developed: boiler feed systems and horizontal centrifugal and turbine vane pumps.
In 1952, Aurora was purchased by New York Air Brake for $3 million, and with this acquisition, the pump line was expanded. The 1960s witnessed Aurora maintaining its position as a pump industry leader with the introduction of chemical pumps and reactor plant fresh water pumps.
As the years progressed, pumps became more efficient, production methods were improved, and Aurora acquired other pump companies. By the mid-1990s, Aurora Pump and its sister companies had annual revenues in excess of $130 million.
In 1997, Aurora Pump, part of the General Signal Pump Group consisting of four brand-name pump businesses, was acquired by Pentair, Inc. for approximately $200 million.
Today, Aurora Pump (under Pentair, Inc.) continues to dedicate itself to the design and manufacture of a wide array of pumps and systems for distribution to a wide variety of markets worldwide, including: commercial, industrial, municipal, fire, marine, oil, and gas.
Products Manufactured by Aurora Pump Company that Contained Asbestos
Pumps – devices designed to move liquids or gases (e.g., chemicals, water, steam, oil, and hot air) – may have either a standalone application or serve as a component of a larger mechanical structure aimed at using pressure to manage the flow of material within a system of the structure.
Durability, resistance to heat, fire and chemicals, and the inability to conduct electricity, all naturally occurring qualities of asbestos, made it a popular insulation material for industrial use until its health hazards became more widely recognized in the latter half of the 20th century. From 1927-1985, Aurora used asbestos gaskets and packing materials manufactured by third parties in their pumps. As pumps are designed for multiple applications, whether or not a pump contained asbestos components was dependent upon the intended use and features of the end product. The products produced by Aurora Pump Company that may have contained asbestos components are:
- Regenerative Turbine Pumps
- Condensate Systems
- Boiler Feed Systems
- End Suction Pumps
- Multi-Stage Vertical Inline Pump
- Split Case Pumps
- Sump Pumps
- Booster Systems
- Sewage Pumps
- Fire Pumps
Occupational Asbestos Exposure Risk
Pumps have a wide variety of applications across various industrial settings. The industrial settings where asbestos components are most commonly found in pumps include:
- Municipal (e.g., pumps associated with heating and cooling systems – circulating pumps in boiler systems and compressor pumps in air conditioning systems)
- Industrial (e.g., pumps associated with heating and cooling systems, steam driven power plants, movement of raw materials – condensate, circulator and boiler feedwater pumps)
- Military/Commercial (e.g., pumps associated with the propulsion, heating and cooling systems in naval and commercial ships – boiler pumps, circulation pumps, condensate pumps, and compressor pumps)
Workers in the following occupations were most likely to be exposed to asbestos from Aurora Pump products: plumbers, steamfitters (pipefitters), construction workers, workers at power-generating plants and oil refineries, boiler repairmen, maintenance workers, insulators, naval personnel, shipyard workers, HVAC workers, and pump sales representatives.
These workers were most likely exposed to asbestos in pumps under the following circumstances:
- Cutting and installation of new gasket and packing materials
- Removal of old or deteriorated materials
- Demonstration of the operational features of the pumps
The types of pumps most likely to contain asbestos components were those involved in high-temperature systems or used for acidic or corrosive chemicals. In addition to the above-referenced individuals, secondhand occupational exposure may have affected anyone working in the vicinity of the pumps (e.g., in the tight confines of a naval ship).
Pentair, Inc., the parent company of Aurora Pump, reported revenues of $3.0 billion for year ending 2010 – a 13% increase compared to $2.7 billion in 2009. The company is targeting an increase in sales to approximately $3.2 billion for 2011.