Carten Controls – A Historic Company with an Eye to the Future

Waterford Industries Magazine 2024 Waterford News Star Page 1Waterford Industries Magazine 2024 Waterford News Star Page 2

Since opening at the Waterford site on the Northern Extension of the IDA Industrial Estate in 1981 as a ‘low purity’ brass valve manufacturer, Carten Controls has strived to provide state-of-the-art manufacturing to the semi-conductor bulk gas transfer market. This was realised over time with a transition to high and ultra-high-purity stainless steel product and ongoing site investment in modern manufacturing facilities. In the early 2010’s Carten introduced a manufacturing facility for simple and complex integrated flow solutions including gas sticks, panels, valve-manifold boxes and complex gas mixing systems. This has culminated in 2024 with a hugely successful line of locally engineered, qualified, and assembled gas flow control systems containing over 4,500 components for the gallium- fabrication sector – critical for modern miniaturised electronics chargers and EV charging. Carten are proud to use our own ultra-high purity valve product in these complex systems; something very few other control system builders can boast.

We are delighted to announce that in November of 2023, Carten was awarded “Business of the Year (100+ employees) and “Overall Business of the Year” at the Waterford Chamber’s Business Awards! This recognition is a testament to the hard work and dedication of every single member of our team. Winning this award is a true validation of our commitment to excellence and innovation in the business community. We are truly grateful for this honour in our hometown and will continue to strive for excellence in everything we do.

In 2024 Carten continues this journey with the opening of a brand-new ISO 4 cleanroom with over three times the clean floor space available today. This new facility, which allows no particles that are 10 times smaller than a grain of sand within the clean space, is the capstone on a six-million-euro site rejuvenation project that ensures Carten is prepared to serve industry capacity and technology demand for the next 25 years. As ever, flexibility is the key to the company’s success and the rejuvenation project has been carefully run to retain flexibility and the ability to respond quickly to shifting market trends.

November 2023 saw the visit of Fujikin Group President, Hisashi Tanaka. This is the first time in Carten’s history that a sitting Fujikin President has visited the Waterford site and is a sign of the strong faith placed in Irish manufacturing and engineering by the company. Carten looks forward to welcoming Tanaka-san back to Waterford in May to officially open our new clean room where Carten will have the necessary space, facilities, and capacity to meet demand from the largest semi-conductor fab build program in history due to the re-shoring of manufacturing into Europe and the US over the next decade.

Not content to stop there, 2024 will also see the introduction of new manufacturing processes at our base in Unit 609. This includes construction of a GMP cleanroom specifically for product for the bio-pharmaceutical industry and the introduction of a new welding process to produce Carten’s precision control speciality gas valves.

This new welding technology will remove the need for electro-chemical finishing from over half of Carten’s valve production, representing a significant process and environmental improvement and is part of a long-term continuous process improvement strategy. Carten continues to explore alternative methods to remove the need for electro-chemical finishing from all remaining product in the meantime with the goal of entirely removing the need for the process in the future.

The GMP cleanroom will be used to manufacture products for the bio-pharmaceutical and gene therapy sectors. This includes our high-performance pinch valve line for single-use applications, our industry proven multi-use, FDA compliant diaphragm valves, and the construction of fluid transfer ‘skids’ to enable flexible manufacturing in modern bio-pharmaceutical facilities. Much like our semi-conductor offering this area also uses valves manufactured onsite at Carten Waterford.

During Q1 2024 Carten will launch a number of new products across semi-conductor and bio-pharmaceutical sectors. For semiconductor a new version of the proven Uniplex and Duplex series primarily used in semiconductor facilities for gas distribution from ring mains to individual tools will launch. This generation will showcase simplified manufacturing, significant material usage reduction, reduced weight, and improved flow throughput (Cv). With the build program of new semiconductor fabs across Europe/US ramping up this new product will contribute to sustainability targets through the reduction in consumption of stainless steel and reduced CO2 generation associated with the manufacture and transport of these valves.

For the bio-pharmaceutical market Carten will release our first electrically actuated valve. This is a pinch valve for use in single-use processes. Compressed air is a very significant cost within a manufacturing facility and significant environmental improvements can be realised by establishing new facilities or suites with an “electric first” design principle. It can be environmentally cheaper to drive the valve directly rather than putting a lot of energy into compressing air to operate pneumatic valves (not to mention the significant heat waste of compressing air!). This fully programmable control valve will offer many in built features that have traditionally been expensive options for pneumatic vales – driving value and reducing waste throughout the supply chain for the end user. Though with all these advancements Carten has been careful to retain our lockout tube exchange mechanism and patented interchangeability features on this new valve.

All of these products can be fully customised to suit a user’s needs and whether it is the mixing of highly toxic and explosive gases in semiconductor, or the fluid transfer of life-saving therapeutic biologics for injection into the human body in bioprocessing, Carten product is marketed, researched, designed, validated, and manufactured at our site in Waterford. Carten proudly works with our sub-supplier of machined components across Ireland and works to ensure we source as much product within Ireland as possible – both to reduce the impact of global supply chain logistics on the environment and to positively contribute to the Irish economy through supporting local employment of highly skilled workers.

Waterford News & Star — Carten Controls – A Historic Company with an Eye to the Future | Waterford News & Star (waterford-news.ie)