Salina Vortex Corporation
Salina Vortex Corporation, also known as Vortex, Vortex Valves and Vortex Global Limited, is an industrial equipment manufacturer for the dry bulk material handling sectors. The company produces slide gates, diverters, iris valves and loadout equipment. These components facilitate the movement of dry bulk solids through a manufacturing process.
Salina Vortex Corporation was founded in 1977 and is based in Salina, Kansas, United States. In 1980, Salina Vortex Corporation co-founder Loren Neil Peterson became the patented inventor of the first slide gate specifically designed for handling dry materials. Salina Vortex Corporation was also the patented inventors of a slide gate designed for quick sanitation, a slide gate designed with a particle clearing action, a revised iris diaphragm for controlling flow of bulk solids, a slide gate capable of sealing high pressures, a diverter with improved sealing capabilities, and a revised design for the originating slide gate.
|Industry||Dry bulk material handling|
|Founders 👔||Loren Neil Peterson & Lee Young|
Area served 🗺️
|Lee Young (Executive Chairman); Jeff Thompson (President and CEO); Travis Young (Executive Vice President)|
Number of employees
|Parent||Vortex (1725 Vortex Avenue, Salina, KS, USA 67401)|
|Divisions||Vortex (304 East Avenue B, Salina, KS, USA 67401), Vortex Global Limited, Vortex Latin America, Vortex Asia-Pacific|
|🌐 Website||[Lua error in Module:WikidataIB at line 665: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value). ]|
Loren Neil Peterson, a mechanical and process engineer with expertise in pneumatic conveying, knew that butterfly valves and knife gates were suitable for handling gases and liquids; however, they had deficiencies in handling dry solids. A new design was needed to eliminate the problems associated with these types of valves; more specifically, material flow obstruction and seal abrasion. He felt his dream and purpose was to innovate and design for handling dry materials in pneumatic conveying systems.
In 1977, Loren Neil Peterson leaves Salina Manufacturing. He and his son-in-law, Lee Young (an engineer-by-personality who grew up inventing things and taking things apart to figure out how they worked), start Salina Vortex Conveyor Corporation in Salina, Kansas, USA, envisioning it as a pneumatic systems business.
In 1978, Peterson and Young begin inventing in a 5,000-square-foot early military building from the Cold War era on Schilling Air Force Base. Today, the district is known as the Salina Airport Authority Area. They work on an initial valve concept to create a vortex/whirlpool for directing dry material flow. The company is named after Salina, Kansas, the city in which it was founded, and "Vortex" because of the material vortex/whirlpool in this initial valve concept.
In 1979, after more than a year of research and development, the initial valve concept fails. Desperate and out of money, Peterson and Young decide to market a slide gate they designed as part of their prototype system.
In 1980, Loren Neil Peterson receives a patent on the slide gate, which is named the "Orifice Gate." Immediately, the valve changes the way industries handle dry materials in pneumatic conveying. The Orifice Gate receives a John C. Vaaler Award from Chemical Processing Magazine for its major contributions toward more efficient and effective operation of plants in the chemical processing industry. The company is renamed Salina Vortex Valves. Upon their success, Lee Young leaves the company for financial reasons.
In 1987, additions are made to expand manufacturing space. In 1989, further additions are made. That year, Lee Young returns to Salina Vortex Corporation as its ninth employee and General Manager as Loren Neil Peterson prepares for retirement.
Throughout the decade, Loren Neil Peterson develops additional products – with the Orifice Gate serving as the benchmark design concept. This includes a patented "Y"-type diverter which applies a slide gate design, a coupling system and a straight-through channel to reduce pressure losses in pneumatic conveying systems. Peterson also developed a roller-supported slide gate.
In 1990, Loren Neil Peterson receives a patent on a slide gate designed with a particle clearing action. Upon Loren Neil Peterson's retirement, Lee Young and Neil's son, John Peterson, assume executive roles with the business, with Young serving as President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), and Peterson working in Operations and Information Technology (IT). That year, additions are made to expand manufacturing space from 5,000 square feet to 60,000 square feet.
In 1991, Salina Vortex Corporation installs its first CNC machine tool. Prior to, the company outsourced all of its component machining work. Since then, Salina Vortex Corporation has progressively brought part machining in-house.
In 1993, Loren Neil Peterson receives a patent on a revised sealing design, to be used in slide gates. The seals are pressure loaded and are shielded from the abrasive effects of the material flowing through the valve. The peripheral seals can be removed for cleaning and inspection without having to remove the valve from the duct or other conduit to which the valve is mounted.
In 1997, Salina Vortex Corporation receives the Kansas Society of Professional Engineers' Governor's New Product Award. The company is also recognized as a finalist for Kansas Exporter of the Year.
Throughout the decade, Salina Vortex Corporation accepts two Kansas Department of Commerce Business Achievement Awards. The company also accepts a Kansas Department of Commerce Breakthrough Product of the Year Award, as well as two Innovation in Powder/Bulk Technology Awards. To date, Salina Vortex Corporation is the only repeat winner of this award.
In 2001, Salina Vortex Corporation receives a Processing Magazine Breakthrough Product of the Year Award, a second Vaaler Award, and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers' "Best in Show" Award at the 2001 International Powder Show.
In 2002, Salina Vortex Corporation starts expanding internationally. The company name is officially shortened to Vortex Valves because the word "salina" translates to "salt water" in other languages.
In 2004, John Peterson retires from Salina Vortex Corporation.
In October 2006, Salina Vortex Corporation relocates from their original location on Schilling Air Force Base to a newly constructed, 120,000-square-foot (15 acre) space near Interstate 35. With increased manufacturing capacity, Salina Vortex Corporation acquires new CNC machine tools. This includes a turning center, a horizontal machining center, a sawing machine, a laser cutting machine, a lathe, and a press brake. With machining, fabricating, bending and assembly all under one roof, the company introduces an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system to integrate all of its workstations and smoothly coordinate and manage operations. That year, the company receives a Processing Magazine Breakthrough Product of the Year Award and Powder and Bulk Engineering's Readers' Choice Award.
In 2007, Lee Young retires as CEO and assumes the role as Executive Chairman of Salina Vortex Corporation. Jeff Thompson is named President and CEO of Salina Vortex Corporation. Travis Young is appointed Vice President of Business Development. That year, Lee Young is recognized with the Contemporary Award as part of the Salina Business Hall of Fame Class of 2007. Salina Vortex Corporation accepts Powder and Bulk Engineering's Readers' Choice Award.
Throughout 2007-2008, Salina Vortex Corporation works to establish Vortex Valves Europe in Darlington, United Kingdom. Today, Vortex Valves Europe is known as Vortex Global Limited. The European division services the UK, rest of Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Travis Young and John Peterson's son, Jason Peterson, relocate to the UK to assist with startup of the European division. Travis and Jason represent the third generation in the business. Five additional employees are hired to establish the European office.
Also in 2008, Salina Vortex Corporation establishes Vortex Latin America to service manufacturers throughout Central and South America.
In 2009, Salina Vortex Corporation establishes Vortex Asia-Pacific in Pudong, Shanghai, China. That year, Salina Vortex Corporation receives a Processing Magazine Breakthrough Product of the Year Award., as well as Powder and Bulk Engineering's Readers' Choice Award.
In this decade, Salina Vortex Corporation begins in-house production of pneumatic cylinders.
In 2011, Salina Vortex Corporation begins designing valves for handling heavy-duty dry materials, such as coal, aggregates and mining. The new valve series is released to market in 2012, bringing company offerings to 21 product lines.
In February 2013, Vortex acquires PMC Unlimited to add loadout equipment to the company's offerings. The company had now grown to 165 employees. Additions are made to expand the new facility to 185,000 square feet. For four consecutive years (2013-2016), Salina Vortex Corporation receives a Processing Magazine Breakthrough Product of the Year Award.
In 2015, Salina Vortex Corporation donates equipment to Kansas State University to help establish the Bulk Solids Research Center. It is the only publicly funded facility of its kind in the United States. There are only two similar facilities in the world, including the Wolfson Centre for Bulk Solids Handling Technology, which has been operating at the University of Greenwich in the United Kingdom since 1973. Today, a second center exists near London, as well as a similar center in Australia.
On January 29, 2017, Salina Vortex Corporation co-founder Loren Neil Peterson passes away at age 87. His career in dry bulk solids began in the 1950s with Salina Manufacturing, now known as Coperion K-Tron. He is recognized by the industry as a pioneer for conveying materials other than flour, developing formulas that were otherwise unproven, at the time. Most notably, Loren Neil Peterson pioneered the experimentation and analytical processes on testing a gallon-sized product sample before scaling it up to a full-size system.
In March 2017, Laurence Millington is appointed Managing Director of Vortex Global Limited. After nine years of managing the company’s business development in the EMEA and Asian markets, Travis Young returns to Salina Vortex Corporation headquarters in Salina, Kansas, USA.
Also in 2017, Salina Vortex Corporation receives ATEX certification for loading spouts.
In January 2018, Vortex Asia-Pacific relocates from the CIMIC Building in Pudong, Shanghai, China to Vanke VMO Plaza, outside of Pudong's city center.
On September 1, 2018, Salina Vortex Corporation acquires Kasa Fab, a custom metal fabrication and manufacturing company, from Kasa Companies. With the acquisition, Salina Vortex Corporation operates 250,000 square feet of manufacturing space and has 400+ employees. Kasa Fab is also located in Salina, Kansas, USA and has since been renamed Vortex (304 East Avenue B, Salina, KS 67401).
In November 2018, Vortex Latin America relocates from Pachuca, Mexico to Queretaro City, Queretaro, Mexico.
Today, Salina Vortex Corporation produces 7,000 to 10,000 valves per year. About 50% of those are modified in some way.
Education & Training
Salina Vortex Corporation provides field service training from six mobile showrooms: a USA valve showroom, a USA/Canada loadout equipment showroom, a Canada valve showroom, a European valve showroom, a Mexico valve showroom, and an Asia valve showroom. The USA showrooms are on the road 40-45 weeks per year, holding approximately 20 training sessions per week. This program began in the 1980s from the back of a white van. Proving a successful training tool, the white van was retired and upgraded to a Winnebago featuring 15 "live and operational" valve configurations. In 2007, the showroom was upgraded from a Winnebago to a semi-trailer truck.
Salina Vortex Corporation also provides education and training for Manufacturing Day.
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