Posted by Jay W. Curry

Tony Gioffredi, CEO of Zahroof Valves, talks about the valve business and their innovative designs for compressor valves.

Please excuse any typos in this hasty transcript.


Jay Curry: And we’re back, hello Texas. Welcome to Texas business radio. We got a great program, we’re on a run. This is gonna be a great segment. I’m Jay Curry, your host for this segment. And before we get started, let me remind you that everything we do is on texasbusinessradio.com, you hear it every section, so I’m not gonna give it a whole thing to you about everything. When I say everything, I mean everything, our sponsors, and everything. Go to texasbusinessradio.com. If you haven’t been there, you owe it to yourself to go there and hear some of these great stories that we’re putting out. This is good stuff. We’re gonna have another one here.

But also, if you get that inkling that you need to call and ask a question, you really like the guest, and we need to get an answer, we monitor a phone line, 844-814-8144. Don’t worry about it, you can go to texasbusinessradio.com, and you can get that. So you don’t need to write it down. But we do monitor that 24 hours. You can wake up in the middle of the night and go, “Oh my gosh, I should’ve asked Tony this question.” Get it into us, we’ll get the expert, we’ll get Tony back, we’ll get it on the air, we’ll get you the answer. We also, if you are into Twitter, you can catch us at #tbr, as in Texas Business Radio, #tbr. So those are the ways to reach us, let’s get started with this great program that we’ve got for the next 15 minutes. I have in the studio, mister Tony … Whoa I’m gonna mispronounce it … Gioffredi.

Tony Gioffredi: Gioffredi.

Jay Curry: Gioffredi, almost got it. Tony Gioffredi of Zahroof Valves. Now you’re fairly new, and have had tremendous success. So tell us, what is this all about?

Tony Gioffredi: Sure, thanks Jay. Yeah, Zahroof Valves, we design and manufacture valves, reciprocating compressors, for oil and gas industry primarily but we’re also expanding into the air compression business as well. It’s a very unique design that our founder came up with a few years ago. We’re looking at opportunities to improve the efficiency and run time of reciprocating compressors and so he came up with a design called the modular re-valve or a straight flow valve, which we use in the reciprocating compressors.

Jay Curry: So relatively new right? I mean …

Tony Gioffredi: Absolutely. The company establish founded at the end of 2010, and the first two or three years were basically spent where Zahroof was designed and developing the valve technology. Also doing some work as far as software development that actually does performance analysis of reciprocating compressor using our valve as well as competitors valves. The prototype worked. Doing testing in OEM, RND labs as well as field testing. So after those first two or three years of testing, developing, and prototyping, we actually started doing more field work and prototype and then we went commercial by the middle of 2014.

Jay Curry: So it takes … you’ve been around for eight years, but the reality is it is a long, long road. You have to design it, you have to test it, you have to correct it, you have to retest it. Quite a job there.

Tony Gioffredi: Absolutely. Over that initial development work and prototyping work, we’ve tweaked it, we’ve modified it, and we improved it all along the ways to make it better and more efficient and did that testing. We also have patents in over 36 countries around the world for our design as well as new technology and products in the pipe line for our introduction.

Jay Curry: So this is truly revolutionary stuff right?

Tony Gioffredi: It really is. If you look at the valves that are used today in reciprocating compressors, really are based off of a design back in the late 1880’s. And that design has pretty much stayed stagnant until now. With modifications as far as [inaudible 00:04:17] improvements and manufacturing improvements, but the technical aspects of the valve only have not changed since then. And so this design really is very step change and magnitude change and improvement over that.

Jay Curry: So Tony, this is, you’re talking oil and gas, this is not an industry that’s rapid to change right? I mean this is a good old boy network type of industry. It’s slow to change. How in the world do you bring a revolutionary product into an industry such as the oil and gas?

Tony Gioffredi: Sure, it’s been a challenge. But if you look at the reciprocating compressors, over 1/3 are, in fact a study showed that 36% of all on planned outages for compressors were a direct result of the valve failing.

Jay Curry: 36%?

Tony Gioffredi: 36%.

Jay Curry: Over a third, wow.

Tony Gioffredi: Over a third. Also, over 20% of the power to drive the compressor, either from electric motor, or a gas engine, is used by the valve. And so we’re able to go to our customers and show them that we have a valve that’s more efficient and one that runs longer. That’s a plus as far as getting our foot in the door with our customers. But at the end of the day, our customers want to see the valve for themselves. And so we work with them very closely to put valves in their machines and operate them for a period of time. After they run them about three months, four months, five months, they see the value. They’re coming back and ordering more and more and more valves from us.

Jay Curry: So kind of the approach that you had to use after you spend, what five years developing this thing and getting it perfected, is you almost have to give them one or sell them one and let them try it because they’re not going to believe the impact that this can have. And it is very significant. What are some of the competitive advantages you have here?

Tony Gioffredi: Sure. We see several. One, as I mentioned, is it’s more efficient. And the nature of our design is again a modular design. The traditional valves, plate valves, ring valves, pop up valves in compressors have several moving parts that effect the styles and combinations of rings and springs and buttons and pop ups going through valves that need to be replaced and fail over time. And so when they do need to be replaced, the valve has to be taken out of the machine, moved to a machine shop to get reconditioned, re-machined, and then brought back to the site.

So when they do that, they have to put a spare set of valves in the machine while the ones they have are being done. So they have to have double the inventory, which you don’t need with our valves. Going to the machine shop takes time, it’s expensive. And our valve has modules that go into it that are replaceable. And so all the wear goes through our module in the valve housing. So we’re able to put a ten year warranty on our valve housing, which no one in the industry has a warranty of that type. And when the module wears out, you just replace the module in the field, up and running very quickly in a matter of an hour or two.

Jay Curry: So you started in the oil and gas industry. Is there a reason particularly there? Because this has applications beyond that.

Tony Gioffredi: Sure. A lot of the, if you look at the valve problems and issues I mentioned were a third of the failures are due to valves. A lot of that happens in the upstream and the midstream processes in the gas industry. Tough conditions, tough environments, the gas may have sand or other materials and it may have liquids in the material. Our valve is much more tolerant to liquids and sand. They’re able to float through the valve and not damage it. Where in a typical plate valve or popup valve that sand in impinge on those plates or pop its and break those. So that efficiency is a great improvement for us.

Jay Curry: That’s huge. Environmental, you were telling us before we started, about the environmental impact can be significant also.

Tony Gioffredi: It can be. And we look at several things on the environmental side. And one is that, because our valves are more efficient, our valves are about 40% more efficient that a traditional plate valve. And by that improvement in efficiency, we’re able to … that 40% equates to about 3% to 15% better efficiency of the overall compressor and so that means the engine will run less, which is less CO2 emissions to the atmosphere due to the improved efficiency of the engine. Secondly, is that when a valve needs to be replaced or repaired, the compressor is brought down and has to be opened up to get to the valves. And you open it, you admit the methane or whatever gas that might be, to the atmosphere.

Jay Curry: That could be dangerous type stuff.

Tony Gioffredi: It’s very dangerous. Our customers tell us it could be anywhere from 20,000 to 200,000 cubic feet of methane emitted each time. So our valves are running a factor of five, six, ten times longer that the normal valves, so that means that’s five or six times less you have to open that up and emit those methane to the atmosphere. In addition to that, our valves are much quieter. We have shown through acoustic data that our valves are ten times less vibration in noise than a traditional plate valve or pop up valve.

Jay Curry: It’s an amazing story. Congratulations. You’re just getting started now. I mean, you’ve been at it for eight years, but it’s about to explode on you. The word’s getting out. Congratulations on that. Folks, we’ve been talking to Tony Gioffredi, who is the CEO of Zahroof Valves. You want to check them out. This is revolutionary stuff in a good old boys market. Tony, if somebody wanted to learn more, get ahold of you, how do they do that?

Tony Gioffredi: Sure. Call me direct. Our office number is 713-554-2678. Or our website is zahroofvalves.com

Jay Curry: Zahroofvalves.com. Z-A-H-R-O-O-F valves.com

Alright folks, you heard firsthand right there. We’ve got to take a break. Tony, thank you so much for joining us. It’s a great story. We gonna go pay some bills. We’re going to be right back. Don’t go anywhere.

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About the Author
Jay W. Curry

Jay W. Curry

Along with hosting “Texas Business Radio”, Jay is a Professional Certified Coach and Master Chair facilitating four Houston-based Vistage peer groups. In addition to being a best selling non-fiction author, the 2015 release of his award winning novel, Nixon and Dovey: the Legend Returns, adds novelist to his title. Jay holds a BS in Mathematics from Oklahoma State and an MS in Computer Science from Kansas State. You can learn more about Jay HERE.

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