Continuous Innovation Helps Taprite-Fassco Prevail

Succeeding as a U.S.-based manufacturer is a tricky game — especially in today’s global marketplace in which economic pressure to outsource and relocate can be pressing. Taprite-Fassco Manufacturing Inc., which makes beverage dispensing equipment, has chosen to stay at its San Antonio, Texas, headquarters and not leave the country.
“We will remain as the market leaders in CO2 regulators and bag-in-box racks (BIB) for the beverage industry, and we will keep our production facilities exactly where they are today,” states Barbara Jean Rincon, marketing communications specialist.
Though it is based in the United States, Taprite-Fassco was acquired by Aalberts Industries, based in The Netherlands. Aalberts Industries owns more than 80 international subsidiaries in the flow control and industrial services arenas. With such a broad portfolio, Taprite-Fassco has two sister companies in Germany that also have leading market positions in compressed gas regulators and valves. Within America, the company is affiliated with CO2 regulator and draft beer dispensing equipment supplier, North American Dispense Systems (NADS).
To remain competitive in an arena where cost-cutting and relocation can be tempting, Taprite chose to innovate its product design and production. Design improvements were made to simplify the mechanics of the function of its regulators. These improvements produced regulators that are longer lasting and easier to service.  Donald Aromando, vice president of marketing and sales, promises more modifications are in the works, which will continue to improve the performance and value of regulators made by Taprite and NADS.
Also, while both companies have experienced increased raw material prices for brass, copper, stainless steel and zinc, which are used in volume for its equipment, the companies have retained their commitment to quality.
“We cannot compromise the value-added benefits that we have incorporated into our products, despite our customers’ sensitivity to economic market pressures,” Aromando explains. “It is better to reduce our customers’ costs for doing business by investing in efficiencies that produce satisfaction and loyalty.”
With efficiency in mind, the company also devised a new production system to ensure both faster assembly and better quality products. The new system considers key objectives such as productivity improvement as well as reduction in material handling, floor space requirements, process set-up time/cycle time and inventory. The result was Lean Cell Manufacturing, which Taprite-Fassco implemented in all of its regulator assembly areas. The system uses three assembly cells that each house an average of six people. As each regulator is assembled, it moves through the cell and is inspected to the company’s own 3-Tier QA protocol.  
In its BIB rack business, Taprite also constructed a new system. The racks are domestically made to the company’s high standards at its manufacturing plant in Marion, Texas. In addition, Taprite no longer plates its BIB racks with nickel-chrome finish because the process can have a potentially negative impact on the environment. The company now uses an environmentally friendly powder coated finish to protect and lengthen the working life of the BIB racks.
Lean processing in its regulator assembly area has allowed Taprite-Fassco not only to compete as a manufacturer in the United States but also to excel with its product line that is now one of the premier offerings for soft drink and beer dispensing.  
— Taprite-Fassco Manufacturing Inc., 3248 Northwestern Drive, San Antonio, Texas 78238; 210/523-0800;