CASE STUDY: Partnership Streamlines Production for Hydro-Thermal

Production can only be as smooth as a facility’s material flow. For Hydro-Thermal, the global leader in the development and manufacturing of Hydroheaters, production cannot be interrupted. When working with suppliers, product quality and delivery time are paramount – especially when it comes to one critical part. The diffuser controls how steam is injected into fluid in a Hydroheater. Hydro-Thermal has relied on foundries to produce the diffuser in 2-part castings, which are then machined, welded, and machined again by Hydro-Thermal to create one final piece.


“How we design the diffuser is important. The pattern and location of the holes on the diffuser ensure that our customers achieve efficient heat transfer for their specific application. The part design is critical to making that process happen continuously,” said Derek Rowland, Director of Operations for Hydro-Thermal.


Before partnering with Stainless Foundry & Engineering, Hydro-Thermal worked with a foundry that had difficulty living up to their expectations. Delivery times were promised and missed. Porosity in the castings was a constant struggle. Rowland had worked with SF&E before, so reached out to see what we could do to help.


SF&E foundry engineering considered the configuration of the mold, alloy shrink rate, past quality issues and conducted simulation modeling. They recommended re-engineering the core for counter balance to avoid core float and removed a cap to create an open end, which would eliminate a weld assembly step. The casting yielded good quality, which the team validated through penetrant and radiography testing.


“Not only did we solve the quality issues, but we further eliminated a step in the Hydro-Thermal production process,” said Mitch McCaffery, Director of Sales & Marketing for SF&E. “The weld step elimination saves Hydro-Thermal 4 to 5 hours of shop floor time per piece so outside of quality, engineering this solution is what we are most proud of.”

hydrothermal casting
hydro-thermal casting

One of Hydro-Thermal’s strategic advantages is its own 2 to 4 week delivery commitment to Hydroheater customers. Competitors produce their hydroheaters on demand, requiring a 10-14 week lead time.


“In the past, we had to carry extra inventory to achieve the short leads times while ensuring a high quality product,” Rowland said. “Having a vendor we can rely on allows us to become more streamlined. We can reduce our inventory and the cash outlay that comes with that, and still maintain our competitive lead time.”


SF&E wants to be seen as a partner, not a supplier. For Hydro-Thermal, that means proactively managing quality assurance, open communication channels, collaborative problem-solving, and consistency.

sand cast pour

“From my standpoint, the biggest reason I put my faith in Stainless Foundry & Engineering was not just because of the product quality, but the service,” Rowland said. “Their team is responsive and willing to try to understand our needs and pain points. They have become a solutions provider for us, not just a product provider.”


If you are looking to improve the quality and delivery time of your castings, contact us today at

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