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Omega Flex, Inc.  (OFLX)
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    Sector  Capital Goods    Industry Miscellaneous Manufacturing
 


 

Omega Flex, Inc.

Business Description


The Company is a leading manufacturer of flexible metal hose, and is currently engaged in a number of different markets, including construction, manufacturing, transportation, petrochemical, pharmaceutical and other industries.

The Company’s business is managed as a single operating segment that consists of the manufacture and sale of flexible metal hose and accessories. The Company’s products are concentrated in residential and commercial construction, and general industrial markets, with a comprehensive portfolio of intellectual property and patents issued in various countries around the world. The Company’s primary product, flexible gas piping, is used for gas piping within residential and commercial buildings. Through its flexibility and ease of use, the Company’s TracPipe® and TracPipe® CounterStrike® flexible gas piping, along with its fittings distributed under the trademarks AutoSnap® and AutoFlare®, allows users to substantially cut the time required to install gas piping, as compared to traditional methods. The Company’s products are manufactured at its Exton, Pennsylvania facilities in the United States, and in Banbury, Oxfordshire in the United Kingdom. A majority of the Company’s sales across all industries are generated through independent outside sales organizations such as sales representatives, wholesalers and distributors, or a combination of both. The Company has a broad distribution network in North America and to a lesser extent in other global markets.

The Company’s business is managed as a single operating segment that consists of the manufacture and sale of flexible metal hose and accessories.

The Company has had the most success within the residential construction industry with its flexible gas piping products, TracPipe®, which was introduced in 1997, and its more robust counterpart TracPipe® CounterStrike®, which came to market in 2004. Partnered with the development of our AutoFlare® patented fittings and accessories, both have enjoyed wide acceptance due to their reliability and durability. Within that industry, the flexible gas piping products that we offer and similar products offered by our competitors have sought to overcome the use of black iron pipe that has traditionally been used by the construction industry in the United States and Canada for the piping of fuel gases within a building. Prior to the introduction of the first CSST system in 1989, nearly all construction in the United States and Canada used traditional black iron pipe for gas piping. However, the advantages of CSST in areas subject to high incidence and likelihood of seismic events had been first demonstrated in Japan. In seismic testing, the CSST was shown to withstand the stresses on a piping system created by the shifting and movement of an earthquake better than rigid pipe. The advantages of CSST over the traditional black iron pipe also include lower overall installation costs because it can be installed in long uninterrupted lines within the building.

The flexibility of the tube allows it to be bent by hand without any tools when a change in direction in the line is required. In contrast, black iron pipe requires that each bend in the pipe have a separate fitting attached. This requires the installer to thread the ends of the black iron pipe, apply an adhesive to the threads, and then screw on the fitting, all of which is labor intensive and costly, including testing and rework if the work is not done properly. As a result of these advantages, the Company estimates that CSST now commands slightly over one-half of the market for fuel gas piping in new and remodeled residential construction in the United States, and the use of rigid iron pipe, and to a lesser degree copper tubing, accounts for the remainder of the market. The Company plans to continue its growth trend by demonstrating its advantages against other technologies, in both the residential and commercial markets, in both the United States and overseas in geographic areas that have access to natural gas distribution systems.

In 2004, we introduced a new brand of flexible gas piping sold under the registered trademark “CounterStrike®”. CounterStrike® is designed to be more resistant to damage from transient electrical arcing. This feature is particularly desirable in areas that are subject to high levels of lightning strikes, such as the Southeast and Ohio Valley sections of the United States. In a lightning strike, the electrical energy of the lightning can energize all metal systems and components in a building. This electrical energy, in attempting to reach ground, may arc between metal systems that have different electrical resistance, and arcing can cause damage to the metal systems. In standard CSST systems, an electrical bond between the CSST and the building’s grounding electrode would address this issue, but lightning is an extremely powerful and unpredictable force. CounterStrike® CSST is designed to be electrically conductive and therefore disperse the energy of any electrical charge over the entire surface of the CounterStrike® line. In 2007, we introduced a new version of CounterStrike® CSST that was tested to be even more resistant to damage from electrical arcing than the original version, and substantially more effective than standard CSST products. As a result of its robust performance, the new version of CounterStrike® has been widely accepted in the market, and thus during 2011, the Company made the decision to sell exclusively CounterStrike® within the United States. This move demonstrated the Company’s commitment to innovation and safety, and further enhanced our leadership in the marketplace.

In 2008, the Company introduced its first double containment piping product – DoubleTrac®. DoubleTrac double containment piping has earned stringent industry certifications for its ability to safely contain and convey automotive fuels. DoubleTrac received certification from Underwriters Laboratory, the testing and approval agency, that our product is fully compliant with UL971A, which is the product standard in the United States for metallic underground fuel piping, as well as approvals from other relevant state agencies that have more stringent testing procedures for the product. Similar to our flexible gas piping, DoubleTrac provides advantages over older rigid pipe technologies. DoubleTrac is made and can be installed in long continuous runs, eliminating the need for manually assembling rigid pipe junctions at the end of a pipe or at a turn in direction. In addition, DoubleTrac has superior performance in terms of its ability to safely convey fuel from the storage tank to the dispenser to the extent that DoubleTrac is essentially a zero permeation piping system, far exceeding the most stringent government regulations. Originally designed for applications involving automotive fueling stations running from the storage tank to the fuel dispenser, the ability of DoubleTrac to handle a variety of installation challenges has broadened its applications to include refueling at marinas, fuel lines for back-up generators, and corrosive liquids at waste treatment plants. In short, in applications where double containment piping is required to handle potentially contaminating fluids or corrosive fluids, DoubleTrac is engineered to handle those demanding applications.

DEF-Trac®, a complementary product which is very similar to DoubleTrac, was brought to the marketplace in 2011. DEF-Trac® piping is specifically engineered to handle the demanding requirements for diesel emissions fluid (DEF). Recent federal regulations require all diesel engines to use DEF to reduce the particulate contaminants from the diesel combustion process. However, DEF is highly corrosive and cannot be pre-mixed with the diesel fuel. This requires that new diesel trucks and automobiles must have separate tanks built into the vehicle so that the diesel emissions fluid can be injected into the catalytic converter after the point of combustion. Similarly, a large portion of fueling stations carrying diesel fuel are now also selling DEF through a separate dispenser. In addition to being highly corrosive, DEF also has a high freezing temperature, requiring a heat trace in the piping in applications in northern areas of the United States. DEF-Trac® flexible piping is uniquely suited to handle all of these challenges, as the stainless steel inner core is corrosion resistant, and DEF-Trac® also comes with options for heat trace that is extruded directly into the wall of the product. In summary, DEF-Trac® provides a complete solution to the demanding requirements of this unique application, as such, DEF-Trac® has been met with enormous acceptance from the industry that was searching for a solution to the new environmental requirement. The unique market position of DEF-Trac® has leveraged the penetration of DoubleTrac into the broader market for automotive fueling applications.

In September 2013, the Company announced that it would soon be releasing its newly developed fitting, AutoSnap®, as part of its flexible gas piping product line. After successfully completing all required testing by independent testing agencies, as well as extensive field trials across the United States by trained TracPipe® CounterStrike® installers, AutoSnap® was officially introduced to the market in January 2014 to wide acceptance. With its patent-pending design, the product simplifies the installation process, and addresses installer preferences for both speed and ease of installation. With a planned slow release during 2014 in order to effectively manage inventory levels in conjunction with its well established predecessor fitting AutoFlare®, the Company expects to ramp up availability during the coming year.

   

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