By Michael Hamline / Published August 2022
In June 9, Cleaner Times was able to go “On the Road with CETA” in Minneapolis, MN. This event included an update on the small off-road engines (SORE) regulations as established by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). These updates were provided by CETA board directors Daniel Sherlock and Jimmy Welch. Following the update there was a bus trip and walkthrough tour that included the following four companies: P.A. SpA, Hydra-Flex Inc., Cat Pumps, and AR North America.
Daniel Sherlock is in senior leadership at American Honda Motor Company, and he serves as treasurer for CETA’s board of directors. He provided an update on regulations in the pressure washing industry, noting that regulations are increasing with organizations like CARB, which serves under the umbrella of CalEPA. He pointed out that it is becoming an increasing challenge to meet the various regulations that CARB and the EPA have set out.
As regards the EPA, Sherlock points out that historically the EPA follows CARB two to four years later, but there are no working lists dedicated to SORE in the next three years. He remarked that battery technology needed for the pressure washing industry in areas such as construction, agriculture, and professional landscaping is good for speed but not torque.
Jimmy Welch is VP of Engineering for American Pressure Inc. and the past president of CETA. He continues to serve as chair of the technical & standards committee. He shared the importance of manufacturers and distributors labeling all equipment properly with “Not for sale in California.” He also stressed how important it is that manufacturers keep records of how they sold the equipment so that if end users modify the equipment, the manufacturer won’t be penalized. In addition, he pointed out that distributors should make certain they are not making modifications to the emission or evaporating portion of any engine-powered equipment.
In general, CARB and EPA are being watched closely to see what ongoing decisions and regulations will be made that will impact the pressure washing industry.
At 10:00 a.m., the CETA board of directors and two representatives from Cleaner Times caught a bus ride around Minneapolis to tour the facilities of four suppliers. Three of the four suppliers talked about ongoing challenges with the supply chain.
The company has its headquarters in northern Italy. Right before COVID-19 hit Europe and the U.S. in 2020, they had purchased a new location in Minneapolis, MN, which they weren’t able to move into until February 2022. They plan to be fully operational by August or September of this year. Though they will eventually be able to reproduce everything they make in Italy, they currently have machinery that makes 500–1,000 unloader valves a day and eight to ten types of pressure washing guns. They plan to automate the factory as much as possible and have a quality control goal to not see items once they leave the factory.
Hydra-Flex Inc. was founded in 2002 with the goal of finding a better way of accomplishing the work. Their initial work was established in the car wash industry by development of tungsten carbide rotary nozzles. While the company is increasing its automation, it employs several warehouse workers to pick the parts needed for those who work on the assembly line. The company has also set its sights on winning the war on waste by looking for ways to reduce chemicals and the amount of work involved in a project. To that end, they showed us the newest car wash dispenser systems that sit out of sight in a car wash and have capabilities to capture all sorts of helpful information.
The company was founded in 1968 when it developed a long-lasting pump. As the April 2018 Cleaner Times article (https://www.cleanertimes.com/magazine/cleaner-times-articles-2/cat-pumps-50-years-of-an-enduring-mission) written by Kathy Danforth mentions about the prototype pump, “Instead of a 100–200-hour life, their prototypes lasted for longer than 2,000 hours.” This is the beginning of what led to Cat Pumps being known as “the pumps with nine lives,” due to their quality and long-lasting service life. The tour of Cat Pumps revealed a large training area for distributors and service technicians and a large warehouse that (according to their website) includes over 1,000 pump models, reaching flow capabilities up to 240 gpm and pressure capabilities up to 10,000 psi.
The parent company, Annovi Reverberi (AR), was founded in 1958, while AR North America was started in 1989 under Ralph Notch and is currently led by his sons, Kyle and Jon Notch. Their facility is 110,000 square ft. and contains three big warehouses. Kyle Notch shared that on average they clear the products in their warehouses six times a year. Their products include plunger pumps, diaphragm pumps, and Battioni Pagani vacuum pumps, which include high-quality agricultural pumps. They also have their Blue Clean line, which are electric pressure washers. One interesting tidbit is that they have solar power panels on the facility’s roof that can run their entire office space.
Overall, it was good to gain a stronger understanding of the challenges and concerns that CARB’s SORE regulations are having on the industry. It was also good to hear from four of the suppliers in the Minneapolis area and view firsthand their offices, assembly floors, and warehouses.