Water Online Radio: American Iron, 100 Years (And Then Some) Strong
Maury Gaston of American Ductile Iron Pipe and American SpiralWeld Pipe explains the genesis of the company more than a century ago, and why he thinks iron is the still the best pipe material.
The following is an excerpt from a Q&A with Water Online Radio. Click on the Radio Player above to hear the full interview.
Water Online Radio: Tell us all about American. Tell us about your market you serve and how you serve your market.
Maury: We have two very popular brands of fire hydrants that serve that industry. In the early ‘60s we acquired a steel pipe product line that serves the oil and gas industry with API (American Petroleum Institute) grade steel, transmission and distribution pipe. In 2000, we built American SpiralWeld in Columbia, South Carolina.
We make spiral-welded steel pipe for the water industry, up to 12 feet in diameter. We have a two-inch gate valve and a 12-feet diameter spiral-welded steel pipe – all serving the water works industry – and it is the most comprehensive product line available from any single company in the United States related to water products.
We’re not the largest producer of ductile iron pipe in the world, but we have the world’s largest ductile iron pipe production facility. Other companies have multiple plants. We produce all of our ductile iron pipe at a single location in Birmingham, Alabama. It is the world’s largest ductile iron pipe casting facility.
Water Online Radio: Maury, I’m going to play the skeptic for just a minute and say: Come on, we’re talking about iron pipe here. How do you differentiate that? What’s the difference between American and some of your competitors’ product?
Maury: Our competitors use substitute materials. They are substitutes to iron because iron is the preeminent material with respect to water piping and waste water piping. One of the primary differentiators of iron pipes and PVC, high-density polyethylene pipes, and other substitute materials is that the inside diameter of an iron pipe is larger than the inside diameter of a PVC pipe or a polyethylene pipe.
You may ask why…