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Ground-breaking Statiflo celebrates milestone

A ground-breaking engineering company founded in a spare bedroom whose products are now used in more than 100 countries is celebrating its 40th anniversary.

Award-winning Statiflo International is a world leader in the design and distribution of motionless mixing technology, including static mixers, gas dispersion systems and other chemical process equipment.

It supplies the water and wastewater treatment industries and sectors including oil and gas, petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, pulp and paper.

Statiflo’s equipment is also used in the production of everyday goods such as beer and wine, ice-cream, chocolate, yoghurts, cosmetics and detergents, medicines, soft drinks and hair dyes.

The company has its headquarters in Macclesfield, Cheshire, and subsidiaries in the US and Germany. It has annual revenues of £5m and employs nearly 30 staff. Most of its sales come from overseas. Its key markets are Europe, the Middle East, Asia-Pacific and North America.

Statiflo has a global network of business partners, who distribute its products and provide advice and support to customers in over 100 countries.

John Baron set up the business in a spare bedroom at his home in Wilmslow, Cheshire. He had vast experience in the mixing industry, identified gaps in the market and sought to address this with Statiflo. The business was initially called Statiflo UK, but was later incorporated under the new name Statiflo International.

Statiflo moved to Macclesfield in 1986 and settled in its current home on Wood Street in 2008. The same year, Gareth Fry joined the business as sales manager and, in 2016 as managing director, he acquired a majority stake from John, who retired following the transaction.

After Gareth sadly passed away in 2021, directors Paul Davies, Paul Buck and Carl Wilkinson completed a management buyout, acquiring the business from Gareth’s family. Paul Davies moved from finance director to managing director and chairman.

The company’s longest-serving member of staff is administration manager Kay Swindells, who joined the business in 1987.

John Baron developed and patented a matrix-style static mixing element (the STM) and Statiflo began by mainly supplying products to the UK water industry, which is still a significant market for the business.

A static mixer is a device which takes the energy required to continuously and efficiently mix liquids, gases and solids from the fluid itself. Static mixers are so versatile they can be used in almost any chemical process or application.

Statiflo’s custom-designed mixers are renowned for being highly-efficient and straightforward to use, and they require no spares or servicing as they have no moving parts. Only the fluids within the system move, so there is no direct power consumption, resulting in major savings for users of the equipment.

John’s idea remains a revolutionary concept for static mixing, as it enables a higher quality of mixing in shorter time and with reduced pressure drop.

Since its initial development, the STM mixing element concept has been successfully expanded to adapt the same technology for channels and duct mixing processes as well as custody transfer and fiscal measurement in the oil, gas and petrochemicals industries. Statiflo products are nowadays used in some of the world’s largest oil refineries and petrochemical complexes.

In the water industry, its products are used for the treatment of drinking water and wastewater as well as desalination, which is becoming more and more important on a global scale as demand for water increases as populations grow.

Statiflo has also developed products to treat ballast water, helping to reduce the environmental impact of ships around the world. Large ships such as cruise liners, tankers and cargo carriers use a huge amount of ballast water, which is often taken from the waters in one region and then discharged at the next port of call. Ballast water typically contains contaminants and a variety of biological materials.

The company’s gas dispersion systems are used in power stations and water treatment plants around the world.

John Baron said: “We started this journey with a single office – which was a spare room at my home – a state-of-the-art typewriter and a few ideas about opportunities in industrial mixing technology. I envisaged a product with many applications in many process industries with global relevance.

“Today, with approximately 30 employees, including its US and German subsidiaries, Statiflo is an organisation to be enormously proud of, and with so much still to achieve.

“The business has a wonderful team of talented people and has developed a reputation as a world leader in static mixing technology that would not have been possible without them.

“Statiflo has had its share of challenges and faced them well. It is fitting, at this time, to pay tribute to Gareth, my successor in 2016.  He had eight years of experience with Statiflo and seamlessly accepted the role of MD and owner. He became a very popular boss too.

“Sadly, after a short illness he passed away in 2021, at the age of only 41. The company will always owe a huge debt of gratitude to Gareth for his brief time in the hot seat, driving forward with far more energy than I could ever muster.

“In just a few years, Statiflo has undergone two MBOs. One of Gareth’s last duties was to set out a new management team to succeed him, which remains in place today.

“I mention all this because too often when writing about company success we seem to focus only on the product and its development, sales figures, profitability and the like. These are all important factors, but we tend to overlook the strength of character of its people to overcome the inevitable internal, more personal, challenges.

“I wish Statiflo, its customers, business partners and suppliers an even more successful next 40 years.”

Paul Davies said: “While we are celebrating an important milestone this year, we also focusing very much on the future with exciting plans to invest for continued and sustainable growth on a global scale.

“The combination of a highly-skilled team, market-leading products and a strong network of business partners around the world means we are in an excellent position to achieve our goals across a variety of sectors and industries, and we look forward to the coming years with immense confidence.”

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L-R Paul Buck, Carl Wilkinson and Paul Davies, Statiflo's senior management team

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