Gate Valves have long been a key part, manufactured here at Stern Rubber. Our team has worked hard to perfect the process of bonding our rubber to a cast iron valves, so they will form a liquid tight seal in water mains across the country. Our production of these parts has been done at both our Staples, and Aitkin facilities. With our recent addition to our Aitkin plant, we took this opportunity to move our production of gate valves entirely over to this facility. This transition, required us to transfer several pieces of equipment, including machining equipment and a few of our large presses from the Staples plant, and over to Aitkin, freeing space and personnel for new production opportunities at the Staples campus. Along with our movement of machinery to Aitkin, we also added several new pieces of production equipment, including a rubber mill, overhead cranes, as well as a new press.
Along with these equipment additions, we also added a new customer to help round off the production coming out of Aitkin. This Infrastructure Manufacturer is located in the Upper Midwest, now has us producing several sizes of bonded gate valves for them as well. With our lengthy experience, and proven bonding process, they found Stern to be the best fit for their products.
They are one of the largest suppliers of infrastructure products in the world. From their website, they are “the world leader in the design, manufacture, and distribution of access solutions for water, sewer, drainage, telecommunications, and utility networks worldwide.” Their products include items such as manhole covers, drainage grates, curb inlets, and of course water gate valves, and fire hydrants.
Although our production capabilities here at Stern are very diverse, we are always excited to bring in new customers, that want us to work with something we are already experienced in. With our new expansion in Aitkin, and the addition of a new customer, we are excited to see how things continue to progress in 2018 with our company as a whole, as well as our new relationship.
As the calendar flipped to 2018, central Minnesota was hoping to flip the thermometer as well. With the average temperature typically ranging from 24 degrees for the high and 7 degrees for the low, 2017 ended nearly fifty degrees colder than the average high. With air temps dropping below -15, or even further for nearly the entire holiday week, many hoped 2018 would bring a warm up. Yet it wasn’t exactly the case.
With local news stations predicting below zero temperatures ranging from -15 to -40 with wind chill, and even some jumping to the extreme and predicting -70 as a night time low with the wind, it was enough to force everyone inside, for the New Year’s Eve celebrations.
This cold snap affected much of the country, as many areas hit record lows, and states such as Georgia and Florida even got snow! Towns all over the country sent new cold temperature records. This included Embarrass, MN, which is known at the “Nation’s Icebox”, which set a daily record at -36.
Although things in Minnesota did not quite reach the obscene temps of -50, the new year also did not jump to an instant warm up. Remaining in the below zero teen’s for most of the following week, by the time it began to warm up, the state had gone nearly 65 hours without seeing above zero temperatures.
Although things have finally warmed up a bit, temperatures are still no where near average, with daily highs reaching the single digits. Even though all this cold seems like it would even freeze time, all of us here in central Minnesota, bundle up, and keep going about our typical day, as if nothing is any different.
Stay warm and happy new year!