How It All Began
Flow-Rite Controls™, Ltd., was founded in 1981 by a group that included businessmen experienced in international manufacturing, patent attorneys, and an engineer with an interest and background in fluid mechanics. The business plan was to develop lines of fluid control products based on the technology of fluidics. Our market focus was on those industries where conventional mechanical valves had proven to be unreliable. Our first products included automatic level controls for commercial and residential swimming pools.
Flow-Rite builds its first Single Point Watering System
In 1985, we were asked by General Battery Corporation (GBC) to apply our technology to the problem of industrial battery watering. GBC was looking for a single point watering system that would perform more reliably than available systems. We developed prototypes, which GBC found to their liking, and we entered into production. GBC marketed our valves exclusively for two years, after which we expanded distribution to over 150 distributors throughout the United States , Canada , Mexico , Europe , Australia , Japan , and Korea . As our battery watering product line has grown, so too have our other product lines, which include fluid handling products for the recreational fishing industry, and general industrial markets.
Flow-Rite Goes Global, Introduces Millennium SPW™
In the late 1990’s Flow-Rite began a concentrated effort to market their products globally, most recently opening a branch in Australia. This expansion gave us a worldwide perspective of the battery watering needs of the international battery industry. As a result, we made substantial improvements to our watering systems. These improvements were so significant that we developed our Millennium SPW™ series. Millennium SPW™ is the world's most versatile single point watering system. Our previous developments, Snap-Fill™ and PowerStream™, were pressure-operated systems which operated over a narrow range of water supply pressures. Millennium SPW™ is nearly independent of water supply pressure, operating reliably at 3 to 35 psi static pressure (requires 2GPM minimum flow rate). Millennium SPW™ meets all the watering needs of the worldwide flooded lead acid battery user.
It occurred to Flow-Rite, that if the task of maintaining industrial forklift batteries can be improved with single point watering, then golf car maintenance can be helped too. Early in 2002, we began to study the special needs of golf car battery maintenance for the purpose of developing the first single point watering system designed specifically for this application. We found that while there were many similarities to the industrial application, the Pro-Fill battery watering system required a number of new features. One of the most important was the need for added safety.
Unlike industrial batteries, golf monobloc batteries include special flame arrestors in the vent caps. Flame arrestors greatly reduce the chance that inexperienced maintenance personnel, such as the youngsters often employed by golf courses, could be injured in a battery explosion. We also learned that if we expected golf car manufacturers to install single point watering systems in their factories, they would have to be able to do it in just a matter of seconds! That meant our system required a minimum number of parts to handle and had to drop onto the batteries quickly and securely. There could be no interference with battery cables and it had to sit low enough on the batteries to avoid interference from golf seat structure. We are very proud of our development, Pro-Fill™, the only single point watering system developed for golf car (monobloc) batteries. Pro-Fill™ includes flame arrested refill valves and special manifolds to make installation fast and reliable. Pro-Fill™ is the only system approved by Club Car Inc™ for installation in their factory.
Flow-Rite™, already a long time supplier of live well and bait well control systems to the boating industry, had recognized the need for a single point watering system that could be used on 12 volt marine deep cycle batteries. Often inaccessible, buried in bottom of the hull, boat owners grappled with many of the same battery issues. Battery maintenance simply wouldn’t get done, too often allowing battery cells to run dry, causing permanent damage. In 2003, Flow-Rite™ introduced the first ever single point watering system for 12 volt marine deep cycle batteries. By 2005, Flow-Rite™ has expanded the Pro-Fill™ and Qwik-Fill™ lines into many new markets including: RV’s, Home Power, OEM equipment, Electric powered boats, and many more.
Flow-Rite Controls™ has grown substantially over the past 30 years. From a humble start in the basement of one of the founders, to our new 98,000 sq. ft. state of the art manufacturing facility, we continue to see many opportunities for growth. As a vertically integrated company, we design and manufacture our own products. Our products are solely our own proprietary developments, protected by over three dozen U.S. patents and hundreds of international patents. Within our facility we have our own mold making shop and state of the art plastic injection molding operation. Our robot assisted injection mold machines allow us to operate our molding department “lights out” 24/7. Through this automation we can meet our growing volume requirements without the need to go off-shore for parts, as is so often the case with our competitors. This means our “Made in the U.S.A. ” label will continue to be the way we do it.