AQUATHERM: FROM 1 GARAGE TO 75 COUNTRIES
In 1973, experienced tradesman Gerhard Rosenberg discovers that polypropylene is an ideal material for in-floor radiant heating tubing. He begins manufacturing the polypropylene pipe, known as Aquatherm, in his garage in Attendorn, Germany. From these humble beginnings, a global plastic pipe manufacturing company is born.
During the next four decades, Rosenberg works with a constantly evolving, world-class team, which eventually includes his three sons, Dirk, Maik and Christof. They introduce innovation after innovation, all centered on polypropylene pipe and fittings.
Today, Aquatherm employs 600+ worldwide. It manufactures polypropylene pipe up to two feet in diameter (quite a jump from Gerhard Rosenberg’s tubing which was less than 3/4 inch). Plus, Aquatherm pipe is installed in 75+ countries.
AQUATHERM BECOMES A FORMIDABLE NORTH AMERICAN PRESENCE
Although it operates on a global scale for decades, Aquatherm doesn’t enter the North American market until 2005. That’s when Steve Clark, P.E.—an energy engineer with building system design awards and international HVAC and piping patents— acquires Aquatherm’s North American distribution rights with the newly formed Aquatherm, Inc.
Clark and his team introduce polypropylene-random (PP-R) piping systems to the PHVAC market. It’s first distributed to Canada in 2005 and then to the U.S. in 2007.
Up to that point, heat fusion was primarily relegated to underground uses of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) piping systems. Aquatherm introduces heat fusion as a technology to connect pipe and fittings. Applications included the inside and outside of buildings and industrial facilities, such as residences, health care facilities, schools, data centers and more. Plus, Aquatherm Inc. performs the arduous and expensive task of gaining code approvals as well as educating the market through training and support.
Clark, along with company leaders Jordan Hardy, Jim Paschal, P.E., LEED AP, and Barry Campbell, quickly grow the company. In fact, Aquatherm, Inc. makes the Forbes Magazine list of America’s Most Promising Companies in 2012.
By 2013, Aquatherm PP-R piping systems are installed in a wide variety of projects throughout North America. This includes mission-critical applications like Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, which is home to one of the world’s fastest supercomputers as well as handles weather forecasting and critical national defense functions. The same year, Aquatherm, Inc. makes the Forbes list again and is also number 1617 on the Inc. 5000.
AQUATHERM STREAMLINES OWNERSHIP
After a tragic motorhome accident claims the lives of Clark and his wife, Aquatherm GmbH assumed control over the North American venture in 2015, forming Aquatherm LP in the U.S. and Aquatherm Corp. in Canada. This new arrangement removes the “middleman” and allows the North American ventures to directly supply the market with top-quality PP-R and PP-RP (RCT) piping systems.
In today’s evolving market, Aquatherm GmbH and Aquatherm North America continue to innovate and lead. They exemplify the global organization’s commitment to making the world a better place one piping system at a time:
• Played a key role in establishing a polypropylene steering committee within the Plastic Pipe Institute (PPI)
• Partnered with McElroy Manufacturing, Inc. to introduce the industry’s first hot tap tool for PP piping systems
• Educate the market on optimizing design for domestic hot water recirculating systems that combine PP and copper
• Became the first piping system in North America to directly contribute to LEED v4 credits
A GLOBAL LEADER IN THE PIPING INDUSTRY
Aquatherm continues to set the bar for plastic pipe manufacturers. This is exemplified by the inaugural BIGGEXCHANGE, which took place at Aquatherm global headquarters in 2018. Aquatherm launched the event to bring key players in the construction and HVAC industries together. More than 270 global industry leaders discussed mega trends, such as digitization, climate change, sustainability and aging infrastructures, that will profoundly change our world.
Today’s business climate is ever-changing. The price of traditional metal piping systems continually rises and falls, but the cost of PP-R piping systems remains stable. In fact, Aquatherm PP-R pipes don’t rust or corrode like metal, so they help building owners, contractors, designers and facility managers stay competitive and offer a superior piping system. And behind those piping systems, there are 600+ men and women ready to do whatever it takes to support Aquatherm customers.