Innovative Approach Helps EPG Expand To New Markets

by Jim Meusey

Engineering Minnesota
VOL. 50 NO. 9 2015

Tucked away in a tree‐clustered office compound off County Road 81 in Maple Grove Minnesota, a community northwest of the Twin Cities metropolitan area, are the corporate offices of EPG Companies. The somewhat isolated location is deceiving in that the 30‐year manufacturer of environmental, remediation and industrial equipment is experiencing a growing presence in the national and international marketplace. The growth developed in part as a result of working relationships the company has established through the years with engineering firms that are now operating on a national and international basis. Foreign work ranges from Canada and Mexico to the Middle East, India and the Far East. “I guess you can say our world is becoming smaller . . . or larger,” joked Chris Riddle, an EPG applications engineer. “But it has certainly changed.”

He noted, for example, engineering firms EPG did work for in Minnesota and elsewhere throughout the United States have expanded operations, often through mergers, to other countries. Engineers at those firms are recommending their new clients employ the same equipment and techniques used in the United States. A major advantage for the Maple Grove‐based company is that it has four patents on their four pumps used in the landfill business. That distinction, Riddle said, exemplifies the firm’s innovation approach in solving customers problems and enables it to have an attractive marketplace niche. Clientele using EPG products range from paper companies to copper and gold mines.

EPG Companies got its start primarily in the landfill business by manufacturing products used in the landfill and remediation markets. The company has over 12,000 installations in more than 1,500 landfills throughout the world. Those products include submersible pumps, flow controllers, sensors, electrical panels, telemetry systems and tanks gauging systems among others. “Our ability to provide engineers with the variety of products used for a job has been a major asset,” said Jim Bailey, also an applications engineer with the company. “Relationships are important in engineering and we have found engineers like working with one company they know can deliver systems that work, in a timely and reliable way. They like working with people they can depend on. They appreciate the fact we can supply them with pumps, flow meters, controls and whatever else they may need.”

Riddle observed EPG has stayed very busy even during the challenging economic slowdown of a few years back. “Our workload is driven by the need to comply with environmental regulations,” he said. “Those requirements don’t change or ease just because the economy slows.” He observed, however, that EPG’s unique marketplace position does present challenges. “Our pumps are custom built,” he pointed out. “As a result, it can take from three to eight weeks before they are ready for use. This time frame can be frustrating for an unaware engineer.”

EPG has its own testing facility for equipment it manufactures. “That is a very valuable asset,” Bailey said. “It provides an advantage in that we know the equipment we send out will work properly.” If there is an equipment malfunction, he noted, it then can be quickly traced to the way a product was installed. As an example, he pointed out a problem can easily develop if an electrician wired a control panel
incorrectly. To avoid such problems, EPG offers classes to help users understand how its equipment operates. Focus is on methods that can reduce costs, properly maintain equipment and maximize performance. Training courses are aimed at workers involved with the design, maintenance or installation of liquid or gas handling systems, remediation systems and Data Acquisition Systems. They also meet Continuing Education requirements for Professional Engineers. Training sessions are kept small but have attracted around 500 attendees over the past 15 years.

The company is quick to promote it patented SurePump, which operates in a horizontal or vertical manner, that helps facilitate the elimination of contaminated water liquid in many applications such as landfills and mines from landfills. The sealed and stainless steel pump can be operated in very harsh conditions. It also draws liquid over its motor to promote cooling, which helps extend the life of the pump.