History articles

Original American Seal & Engineering History

ASE Group

At The Root & Core of Metal Seal Solutions

Description

It seems to be a perfect fit that American Seal & Engineering (ASE) has its founding roots in Connecticut, a state with the longest foliage season in New England. What often comes to mind when thinking of fall in New England is the bounty of apples. Apples have been a part of history in many inspiring stories. Legend has it that a young Isaac Newton was sitting under an apple tree when he was hit on the head by a falling apple, a 17th-century “aha moment” that prompted him to suddenly come up with his law of gravity.

ASE has their own inspiring story. The company was incorporated in 1971 in Connecticut and purchased by the Pritchard family in 1991. Their initial products included MS O-rings for the aerospace market, which then expanded to high performance metal solutions such as C-rings and spring-energized rings. Their first patented product was the lip seal around 2004 followed by their seal support system with National Coupling and the X-seal, and the NCCM (Nickel Chromium Carbide Matrix) coating developed in 2017.

Starting with only five team members, the team grew to 20 by 2004 and then quadrupled to 80. What the Pritchard family planted grew from a moderate success to a sales increase when they successfully partnered with a global diesel engine / power generator company followed by two others, where profits increased significantly. The reason for this success was ASE focusing on hiring people who shared a common goal. It was fun and a challenge to grow the “apple” and eventually pass it to another owner to grow even more. This vision originally came from entrepreneurs Joe Kedves and Jack Pritchard. Even though the road to cultivate the “apple” was long, it was rewarding for team members to dedicate themselves to a common vision and achieve technology advantages along the way.

Metal Seal Group
ASE Nuclear Applications

After supporting several diesel and power businesses, a partnership with a subsea oil & gas company was next – a challenge from the view of production and function. Production methods and tooling were upgraded to automotive level production and quality acuity, which competitors did not have. The only obstacle was plating that was solved when it was brought in house for complete control. This collaborative spirit and relentless dedication convinced the oil & gas company to sign with ASE. The end result is they now have lifetime confidence in ASE to solve all sealing problems.

One other interesting customer comes to mind in showing ASE’s determination. The difficulty of the program was not the technical side but expectations for the quality system requirements. The deciding factor boiled down to an audit of a PVD vendor where Mark, Garrett and the customer’s auditors took off from Orange, CT, for a 350-mile drive to the vendor in upstate New York. When arriving at the destination, everyone was comfortable with each other and the result was a signed contract.

The ASE family continues to grow from its strong roots, and some of their cultivated “apples” can be seen in site expansions (European expansion in 2012, automated vision system in 2016, NCCM in 2018) as well as engineering and R&D capabilities (DAS, test rigs, 3D modelling and FEA). They are now planting new roots, working with local technical schools, colleges and universities to inspire new thinkers and professionals who may have an “aha moment” that changes and innovates our future.

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