ABBEVILLE, S.C.—You don't have to search very far to find applications that hose manufacturers Hi-Tech Duravent or Hi-Tech Medical serve.
Hoses for vacuum cleaners? Check. Automobile engines? Check. Air purifiers? Check. Medical equipment? Check. Leaf blowers and lawn mowers? Double check.
That doesn't include hoses utilized for such intricate applications as air, dust and fume removal, milking cows, or pellet or pill transfer. Both firms make hoses for those markets, too.
That diversity in the marketplace represents good news for the Abbeville-based companies, which are owned by London's Smiths Group P.L.C.
The best news for the companies? Officials believe many more opportunities abound, some of which haven't been uncovered just yet.
“Everywhere you go almost, you can turn around and see hoses used,” said Tony Costantino, director of sales for the Flexible Solutions Group, made up of four companies that fall in the Flex-Tek division within Smiths. “It's just amazing. It's almost never ending. There are definitely a lot of markets we serve, and a lot more that we feel are out there that we haven't uncovered yet.”
The Flexible Solutions Group includes six brands: Hi-Tech Duravent (flexible industrial thermoplastic hose and ducting for air, dust, fume and light material handling); Hi-Tech Medical (medical hose products); Flexible Technologies (hoses for home appliances, including vacuums); Flexschlauch Produktions GmbH (industrial hose and ducting distribution); Flexible Ducting Malaysia (medical and home appliance products for the Asia market); and Titeflex (PTFE tubing for the transportation and industrial markets).
According to Costantino, the Flexible Solutions Group manufactures about half of its hose and duct products for the industrial sector. Medical and automotive account for 20 percent of the business, with floor care at 10 percent.
The executive believes that the industrial, medical and automotive sectors have the greatest potential for growth.
“From our medical and automotive standpoint, it definitely has been our ability to develop innovative technologies or innovative products to support our (original equipment) customers in developing their new product or new platforms of products,” Costantino said. “We've been successful at providing customized solutions for those applications. That has led us into some very good growth markets with them.”