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Alltite offers training to use bolting equipment

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Wednesday, April 17, 2013, at 10:42 p.m.
  • Updated Thursday, April 18, 2013, at 12:08 p.m.

Alltite Inc.

Division: Tier 2

Year founded: 2003

Owners: Tom, Andy and John Smith

Address: 1600 E. Murdock

Phone: 316-686-3010

Website: www.alltite.net

Alltite, located in northeast Wichita, specializes in bolting equipment used in heavy industry.

But the company is much more than the equipment it sells.

Alltite provides in-house and mobile calibration services, trains operators, repairs equipment, writes bolting procedures and performs research and development.

The company serves the oil, wind, plastics, natural gas transmission, pipeline, refining, fertilizer and power generation industries.

Training to use that equipment is important, said Andy Smith, Alltite’s president.

Tightening bolting equipment that holds together oil rigs, wind turbines and power plants is a specialized skill.

The equipment is pressurized and must be tightened correctly to prevent a leak or explosion.

“A lot of people will sell tools, but they won’t train you on how to use them properly,” Smith said.

It also wrote the processes to establish accreditation for the industry, “so it’s not a bunch of cowboys going out to tighten” equipment,” Smith said.

It was the first company to be accredited.

Alltite is a family business, formed in 2003 by brothers Andy and Tom Smith.

In late 2004, their dad, John Smith, an industry veteran, joined the company as vice president of operations.

As children during the summers, the brothers would travel around the country with their dad, a representative for a bolting manufacturer.

Eventually, the brothers went to work for the same tool manufacturer.

Ten years ago, the siblings decided to open their own business, using Andy’s garage as a storage facility. When the garage flooded, they moved to their first warehouse, a 4-foot by 8-foot storage shed.

Alltite has grown up since then.

In January, Alltite moved from 12,000 square feet of space near 37th and Woodlawn to 70,000 square feet of space at Murdock and Hydraulic.

It occupies 25,000 square feet of the large, remodeled building, which leaves it room to expand.

The company just opened offices in Corpus Christi and has plans for a North Dakota office.

Alltite wants to maintain a fun working atmosphere.

“We’re not stodgy old people sitting around here,” Smith said.

The company engages with the community and partners with schools.

Since 2009, the company’s revenue has increased 10 percent to 15 percent a year. Last year, it grew 33 percent.

The company employs 44, up from 21 a year ago.

To keep up with customers in rural areas, Andy Smith flies the company’s 1978 twin-engine Piper Aztec to wind farms, refineries and oil fields.

The plane lets Smith, who earned his pilot’s license in 2011, grow the business by reaching more customers in a shorter period of time.

The company is working to diversify. Last year, 60 percent of its business was from the petrochemical and oil industries. Three years ago, it made up 20 percent of its business.

“We’re betting the oil and gas boom that’s going on will last for a few more years at least,” said Tom Smith.

Horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing of oil wells has increased domestic oil and gas production. In response, Alltite added mobile on-site tool delivery, repair and calibration for field offices in four states. It now has nine mobile units.

The recent growth spurt contrasts with 2009, when business took a dive.

So Alltite focused on profitable territories, emphasized divisions with higher profit margins and closed offices in two unprofitable territories.

It also has invested in new technologies, such as stud tensioning equipment, electronic calibrations, and ultrasonic measuring devices.

Alltite works hard to stay ahead of its larger, “less-nimble” competitors, said Tom Smith.

“We’re always two steps ahead,” he said. Once the competition figures out what Alltite is doing, they can put more resources to it.

“So we have to be on to the next thing,” Tom Smith said.

Reach Molly McMillin at 316-269-6708 or mmcmillin@wichitaeagle.com.

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