At last year’s DPHA Conference in San Jose I was very lucky to win a trip to New York City. The trip was sponsored by Mr. Steam and it was a great chance not only to visit their main facility but also spend a few days in the greatest city in the USA.
Last week we made the trip. I was joined by Steve Rice, manager of our Walnut Creek showroom. Our hosts were Martha Orellana and Bart Gorelik of Mr. Steam Corp. After a non-stop flight to JFK we found ourselves traveling to Long Island City to visit the headquarters of Mr. Steam.
Mr. Steam’s home is a 65,000 square foot facility which includes production for both residential and commercial products as well as corporate offices and a display space. Mr. Steam’s parent company, Sussman Automatic was founded in 1917 and began producing steam equipment for the garment industry, manufacturing the big steam irons used in commercial clothing industry. Mr. Steam was soon being approached by their hotel customers to help create better steam systems for their hotel spas. As Sussman grew they moved into work with the Navy and hospitals producing autoclaves and other steam related equipment.
At the facility we spent some time on the Residential production line watching the assembly and testing of generators. There are some key things to know about Mr. Steam products. All Mr. Steam generators use stainless steel housings, both for the steam chamber and the main housing. This assures that your generator will last and not be susceptible to rust. The intake and steam line fittings are also stainless steel to resist corrosion.
One really key feature of Mr. Steam products is the element. Mr. Steam uses a copper sheathed element which allows low wattage density and long life. The copper element is more costly than a steel alloy option but also safer. Steel alloy elements are resistant to burn-out but in a waterless situation (if the water supply to the generator was blocked) these steel alloy elements may burn hot for a long time (approximately 1600 degrees F) producing a potentially dangerous situation. A copper sheathed element will melt, acting like a fuse and shutting down the unit.
It was interesting to see how the generators are assembled. Most of the line workers have been with Mr. Steam for many, many years. They obviously take pride in their work. Generators electronics and the watertight housing are tested and then they are packaged and sent to the shipping department.
We also got to see the downstairs production where the high output commercial generators are made. These units have to withstand great pressures and they are quite amazing to see being assembled. We also got to see the parts inventory. It is good to know that Mr. Steam continues to keep a big inventory of parts, even old items. As a salesperson I like knowing the products I sell will be serviceable for years to come.
We also spent some time with Michael Pinkus, President, talking about some of the new products Mr. Steam is developing. You might think it odd to get excited about steam but the products Mr. Steam is working on can have a big role in the bathroom of tomorrow.