Protecting the environment through technology
Epcon Industrial Systems, LP leads the way in the custom design and manufacture of regenerative thermal oxidizers, recuperative thermal oxidizers, afterburners, industrial furnaces, industrial ovens, and specialty finishing systems. Holding several patents in the areas of air pollution control and heat processing, it is one of few related businesses with its own on-site manufacturing facility.
Since its inception in 1977, Epcon has garnered great success both at home and abroad for its state-of-the-art thermal oxidizing systems, as well as conveyor, batch, dry-off, and industrial ovens. From concept to completion, Epcon’s elite technical team works together to design an efficient, customized product to suit each client’s unique needs. Epcon can help achieve the goals of either new equipment or modernizing existing equipment for higher fuel efficiency, better performance, and compliance with the regulatory agencies.
One Man’s Vision
Epcon’s President and CEO, Aziz Jamaluddin, is also the founder of the company. He chuckles when remembering the early days: “It was late November/December 1976. I couldn’t see beyond a foot what I was going to be doing. I just got in with both feet to start my own business.”
He notes it wasn’t about a particular company, but rather about a particular technology, that engendered his enthusiasm. “I am a mechanical engineer. I already had several patents, and my education and experience had been in the heat transfer, thermal dynamics, specifically in thermal pollution control systems and industrial furnaces and ovens. I knew how to design and build, while incorporating leading edge technology and innovations.”
The establishment of Epcon came about while Jamaluddin was working in Mexico for a Chicago-based company, as a joint business venture. When the peso was devalued, the Mexicans essentially wanted out of the partnership. “At the time, I was General Manager of one of their divisions of a Mexican company, located in Houston. Through my efforts, I obtained a contract to design and build a brand new multi-million dollar, 55-gallon drum manufacturing plant, Sharney Container.
“When the Mexicans shut down the operation in Houston, I called Mr. Sharney, President of Sharney Container, and advised him of the situation, and that I may have to return to Chicago. Eager to have me continue with the project, He said: ‘Well, stay here in Houston and start your own company.’ So I did.”
Over the decades, with no actual master plan, Jamaluddin took advantage of every opportunity that came along. “Mostly, I was a good engineer, seeking out challenging problems coming up with unique technical solutions. However, I had very little sales and marketing and business experience.”
Humble words, given that his acumen has turned Epcon into a thriving industry leader with close to 100 employees. Growth came “a little bit at a time” – organic growth, vertical growth, with no infusion of outside capital. “Starting out with no other talent than my own, I trained the rest of the engineers and the other staff, and cultivated a unique company culture that embraces innovation and the unknown,” he says.
Today, Epcon encompasses a 250,000 square foot, modern, manufacturing facility on 18 acres in the Greater Houston area, housing 8 to 10 million dollars’ worth of fabricating machines, CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machines, and other automated machinery. Products are sold around the world, with sales fluctuating between 70-80 percent domestic, and 20-30 percent outside the US.
Product lines include environmental thermal oxidizers, environmental abatement systems for volatile organic compounds (VOCs), as well as custom-designed, industrial ovens and furnaces. Because of its proven engineering expertise and on-site manufacturing facilities, meeting American Petroleum Institute (API) standards, Epcon is now considered the go-to source for these high-tech, niche products. Customers come from the automotive, aerospace, metal coatings, internal pipe coating, flexible packaging, resin manufacturing, copper-clad laminates, industrial finishing systems industries, and basically anywhere that curing/heat processing is required.
Go Green with Epcon
With a mission to “protect the environment through technology,” Epcon is proud to be advancing in the area of solar energy production. Its design team has developed a procedure using existing on-site systems for the curing and heating processes of solar panel production – a significant achievement in its ongoing quest to preserve our natural resources.
Air quality control is another key component of Epcon’s green focus.
Jamaluddin explains, “When the EPA was born in the early ‘70s, the Nixon administration targeted major polluters of the day. I happened to be on the front end, working in one of those industries when the regulations came in, so I have first-hand knowledge. Today, we manufacture thermal oxidizers to control VOCs and noxious substances. Those carcinogens cause a lot of diseases, acid rain, and the brown haze you see over large cities. The EPA has identified 189 hazardous pollutants/chemicals, and our technology destroys those in the air.”
Environmental compliance controls are mandated by the EPA, as well as state agencies. The levels are highly regulated: zero tolerance for polluters. Customers rely on Epcon for help in this extremely specialized area, because they trust the company’s outstanding reputation.
The Epcon Edge
What makes Epcon stand out among its industry peers? Jamaluddin offers his top five reasons:
• We are a full service organization. Start to completion. From pilot study to engineering, sales, manufacturing, installation, and after-sale service.
• Our 250,000 square foot manufacturing facility gives us control over quality and delivery. We do it all here. Many of our competitors are mainly sales and marketing and cannot offer the complete package.
• Longevity. More than three decades of hard work, providing high quality systems. By standing 100 percent behind our products, we have consistent, repeat business at our door.
• Our unique patented technologies aren’t available anywhere else. We do complete systems, including some phenomenal jobs in the aluminum industry. We also belong to industry-related associations to keep up with customer concerns.
• Overall key to success is performance. Products that are engineered to perform well and ensure customer satisfaction.
In the past year and a half, Epcon has added 180,000 square feet to its facility, and is poised to add another 100,000 in the coming year. The long-term plan centers on maintaining continuity in the business and successfully expanding while handling growth-related issues.
According to Jamaluddin: “Our goal is to strive for better and better systems based on creating something new, something different, for a higher level of performance with minimum fuel consumption.” It looks like all systems are “GO” for a great, green future.
AT A GLANCE
WHO: Epcon Industrial Systems LP
WHAT: Custom design and manufacturing of thermal oxidizers, industrial ovens, and specialty finishing systems
WHERE: 250,000 square foot manufacturing facility based in Greater Houston, Texas