Case Studies

Waterblasting Technologies: Diversified Manufacturing for Numerous Industries

  • Written by: Waterblasting Technologies: Diversified Manufacturing for Numerous Industries
  • Produced by: Waterblasting Technologies: Diversified Manufacturing for Numerous Industries
  • Estimated reading time: 3 mins

James Crocker founded Waterblasting Technologies (WBT) in 1988 as a small residential pressure cleaning company in southern Florida. The business grew steadily, branching out into residential and commercial painting. While Crocker and his team continued to utilize pressurized water to remove paint on buildings, one day he stumbled upon an opportunity to use the technology to remove a paint stripe from a roadway. Crocker began learning more about the pavement marking removal industry and set out to design a system for his own contracting business that would give WBT an edge over the competition.

Crocker and the WBT team created the first prototype in 1997. Over the next eight years, the system evolved and was able to solve all of the challenges with using ultrahigh-pressure water blasting for stripe removal.

Contractors began to notice the system’s efficiency on jobsites, often suggesting WBT should begin manufacturing and selling the new technology. Crocker decided to manufacture the machine, naming it Stripe Hog. WBT’s Stripe Hog debuted at the 2005 American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA) convention in Phoenix, Ariz., and took home the first place award for Innovation of the Year.

Continued Innovation

WBT continues to introduce revolutionary advancements for the industry today, and now offers several models to accommodate various production and budget needs. The business has gone international, with sales booming around the world.

Crocker’s machines are now used on highways and airport landing strips to remove paint and rubber. Consumers can take advantage of a vast support system from the moment of purchase, offering troubleshooting and support services for Stripe Hog owners worldwide. So far, the machinery has reached every state in the United States, as well as 35 other countries.

As the manufacturing business continued to grow, the need became apparent for better control of the custom metal fabrication items of the Stripe Hog. “Outsourcing these components did not allow us to totally control quality and manufacturing times,” says Dave Friday, vice president of sales and marketing for WBT. In order to solve this challenge, Crocker started Sheet Metal Unlimited (SMU), a metal fabrication company.

SMU not only builds components for the Stripe Hog, but also manufactures a variety of other metal components. SMU is searching for other manufacturers of metal products to solve the same outsourcing challenges that WBT originally had.

“We have all of the tools that any fabrication company could dream of,” Friday notes. “We can supply roofing contractors and commercial air conditioning ductwork contractors with anything they need. We also manufacture a line of custom air conditioning units anywhere between 2 tons and 50 tons that are used in various applications, for instance on large yachts and ships. Our most notable client to date is Boeing.”

SMU has proved to be a great asset to Crocker’s other companies, and recently introduced the Polarex AC line of custom-designed cooling systems.

A Growing Geographic Footprint

While many manufacturers and contractors succumbed to the pressure of the recent recession, WBT and SMU have been going strong. “We did see a major decline in 2011, but it provided us with many opportunities to improve our operations efficiency to the point that 2013 will be our strongest year to date,” says Friday.

Friday focuses on the limitations and growth opportunities of the business and reports that the team is well-positioned to grow over the next several years. “Our projections look to be doubling in size,” he notes. “The economy is starting to come back, so I think there is a growing level of optimism in this industry. There is more and more of a positive outlook.”

WBT is celebrating 25 years in business in 2013. According to Crocker, the team’s ongoing success is commemorated daily with a commitment to quality and customer satisfaction. WBT offers a controlled product with value, a quality that customers return for again and again, with one customer from Asia recently purchasing a sixth machine.

With technical expertise, a passion for craft and decades of experience, WBT and its sister companies are making waves in several industries. Both Crocker and Friday are devoted to expanding all businesses’ horizons, reaching out to new customers in new markets. From the Stripe Hog to Polarex AC products, Sheet Metal Unlimited and Waterblasting Technologies offer unlimited production capabilities to discerning clients worldwide.

Published on: May 15, 2013

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