Manufacturing Today - November/December 2016 - 108

United Flexible
www.unitedflexible.com / HQ: Romeoville, Ill. / Employees: 650 / Riko Yap, vice president of
global sales and marketing: "Where the integration comes in will be in how we go to market."

this year, united flexible
acquired fulton bellows,
the nation's oldest bellows
manufacturer.

Adding Flexibility

united flexible brings the fulton bellows line
to a global customer base. by tim o'connor

When manufacturers need a flexible system for transferring liquid or
gas in extreme environments they
have long turned to United Flexible.
With the acquisition of Fulton Bellows
earlier this year, the Illinois-based
company bolstered its capabilities and
will soon also be known as a leader in
precision metal bellows, bellows assemblies and thermal actuators.
Founded in 1904, Fulton Bellows
is the nation's oldest bellows manufacturer. Today, Fulton products are
used to regulate pressure and temperature in a variety of systems used
by the aerospace, defense, power generation, medical, pulp and paper, industrial and transportation markets.
108

A bellows is a tube that has been
corrugated, giving it an accordion-like
look and the flexibility to compress and
expand. The bellows has many uses,
and can be used as a flexible sealing
apparatus to contain liquid or gas. The
ability to expand based on temperature or pressures also allow bellows to
be used as measurement devices.
The aerospace and defense industries utilize bellows because their analog nature makes them suitable for
harsh environments. High temperatures, excessive pressure or corrosive
liquids can damage electronic equipment, but a bellows works mechanically, expanding or contracting in reaction to the environment. As a result,

manufacturing-today.com NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2016

Midwest

the devices are resistant to temperature and pressure extremes. Customers choose Fulton's bellows because
equivalent digital machines cannot
match their precision and durability.
"This product line has survived over
many years because, despite our technological advances, nothing has been
able to replace the functions of bellows in these applications with proven
reliability, accuracy and costs," says
Riko Yap, vice president of global sales
and marketing for United Flexible.
Fulton's 125 employees are experts
in engineering, hydroforming, laser
welding, and soldering. The company's
seamless precision bellows are made
from yellow metals such as beryllium
copper, phosphor bronze and brass.
Its proficiencies also include working
with stainless steels and alloys such as
Inconel, Hastelloy and Monel.

Attractive Acquisition
Those core competencies combine
with a history of steady growth made
Fulton an attractive target for acquisition, according to Yap, and United
Flexible purchased the company in
February. The purchase made sense
for Fulton as well. In United Flexible,
Fulton saw a parent company that
shared its strategic goals and had a
reputation for providing quality products used in unique and custom application specific solutions.
Fulton's capabilities complement
United Flexible's existing products,
without creating overlap. United
Flexible manufactures corrugated, flexible metal hoses, but lacked
the higher precision needed using a
bellows applications. The acquisition filled a hole in United Flexible's
portfolio and simplified the buying
process for customers, who now
have one source for their flexible
product needs.


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Manufacturing Today - November/December 2016

Table Of Contents
Manufacturing Today - November/December 2016 - Cover1
Manufacturing Today - November/December 2016 - Cover2
Manufacturing Today - November/December 2016 - 1
Manufacturing Today - November/December 2016 - Table Of Contents
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