Modern Pumping Today

Engineering a Partnership (Part 2 of 2)

EMCO Chemical Distributors realizes the goal of opening a new manufacturing facility

In part 1 of this case study, EMCO Chemical Distributors was looking to expand its operations to unload railcars of raw materials and load totes, drums, and IBCs with finished products. Because of the critical nature of these storage areas, it was imperative for EMCO to identify the right brand and style of pump so they turned to its long-time distributor partner, Anderson Pump and Process, for advice.

Joe Cervantes, pump sales engineer for Anderson Pump and Process, recommended the GX Series Sliding Vane Pump from Blackmer®.

“It helped that Blackmer is one of the only companies still around with its own foundry, it’s located just over the pond (Lake Michigan) and it’s an American company, while Mr. Polen is a very patriotic person,” says Cervantes.

Partnership 4

The clean room at the new EMCO facility utilizes a stainless-steel SNP Series Sliding Vane Pump to transfer chemicals with unique handling characteristics.


Armed with that recommendation, EMCO put in an initial purchase order for seventy-four 3-inch GX Series pumps. But that’s hardly where the relationship and cooperation between client, distributor, and pump supplier ended.

“The reason we went with Blackmer was its partnership with Anderson,” says B.J. Korman, vice president of engineering. “It was a collaborative effort between all of us to help in the design of the piping and instrumentation of the system at the new facility. We completed a majority of the engineering in-house, so we relied on suppliers to get us the information and answer the questions that were required to do in-house design. We even went to the Blackmer facility and worked with them to basically come up with the design of the whole pumping scheme. Blackmer set the criteria and helped select the best pump to meet or achieve the flow rates we needed. We try to buy as many American products as we can. We saw the foundry at Blackmer, saw where the pumps were made, and we liked what we saw.”

Partnership 5

Creating the layout and outfitting the new EMCO facility was a true collaborative effort between, from left, Joe Cervantes, pump sales engineer for distributor Anderson Pump and Process; Jack Pitts, regional manager for Blackmer® and PSG®, a Dover Company; and EMCO’s Mark Serdar and B.J. Korman.


Because the storage areas were being designed from scratch, the engineering team was able to specifically locate the pumps near the actual tanks. This allows the pumps to perform at their highest level without the need for long or complicated piping runs, while all of the pumps would benefit from the incorporation of mass flowmeters and variable frequency drives (VFD), which would be controlled by a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) in the computer center. When the layout was agreed upon, Blackmer was able to deliver the pumps as part of an Engineered Package Solution consisting of the pump, motor, coupling, and coupling guard, all of which were attached to a baseplate for easy installation.

“We were able to locate the whole pump in its sweet spot so it can perform at its best and still meet our pumping requirements in terms of flow rate,” says Mark Serdar, facilities maintenance manager. “We put a pressure switch on and we oversized the motor with a VFD. As users call for product, the pump ramps up, and as the order is filled, the pump slows down. It’s a very efficient way to pump. As far as the maintenance side of it, it’s a very simple pump to take care of and maintain.”

After eight months in operation, the Blackmer pumps have met every expectation and need at the new facility.

“We get sales orders in continuously and fill most orders by the next day, so you need pumps that won’t break down, and the Blackmer pumps are reliable and versatile with the different products we use them on,” says Korman. “We’re at 200 gallons a minute (flow rate) when we’re loading tankers, but we also have the drum-filling area where we’re filling 55-gallon drums at much slower flow rates. Traditionally, this may take two or three pumps to do what we can accomplish with one pump.”

Partnership 6

Blackmer® delivered the GX Series Sliding Vane Pumps to EMCO as part of an Engineered Package Solution that consisted of the pump, motor, coupling, and coupling guard, all of which were attached to a baseplate for easy handling and installation.


The cooperative team effort has extended to the after-sales service that Anderson and Blackmer offer EMCO.

“When you buy the amount of pumps we’ve bought, you will have some issues, but another reason for choosing Blackmer was the way they have handled and stood behind their products,” says Korman. “We have created a relationship where we can go right to the source. They even did training on preventative maintenance and repair on-site for our maintenance guys.”

“I’ve been with EMCO for thirty-two years and all that time we’ve used Blackmer pumps,” adds Stuart Levy, vice president, maintenance. “Our past history with Blackmer has been very positive, but no project goes perfectly and Blackmer has stood behind us all the way. That defines a team, how they handle it when there’s a problem and the way Blackmer has handled it has been fabulous. They are a true partner.”


Dreams may begin with an individual thought, but they only become reality through the assistance of many different constituencies. EMCO Chemical Distributors has grown from Edward Polen’s solitary vision into one of the world’s most significant chemical distributors, blenders, and packagers. Reaching his goals has required developing partnerships with a wide array of outside forces. The result for EMCO is a shiny new distribution facility that promises to keep the company at the forefront of its industry well into the future, with the aid of distributors like Anderson Pump & Process and equipment manufacturers like Blackmer.

“The moral of the story is that if you team up with the right people and design systems per the requirements, you’re going to get a great result, and in our situation it has exceeded our requirements,” says Korman. “We will choose Blackmer in the future and are looking forward to working with them on future projects. Their reliability and service have made them a partner forever.”

Jack Pitts is a regional manager—Great Lakes for PSG®. He can be reached at 616.475.9342 or Blackmer® is a leading brand of rotary vane and centrifugal pump and reciprocating compressor technologies from PSG. PSG, a Dover company, is comprised of several leading pump brands, including Abaque®, Almatec®, Blackmer®, Ebsray®, EnviroGear®, Griswold™, Mouvex®, Neptune™, Quattroflow™, RedScrew™ and Wilden®. For more information, visit or