AKO Armaturen & Separationstechnik GmbH
About: Marcus Langeheine - Head of Sales
Marcus Langeheine is Head of Sales of the world’s leading manufacturer of pinch valve solutions, AKO Armaturen, located in Germany. In the last decades, he worked for different industrial manufacturers in France, Belgium, and Germany and joined AKO Armaturen at the end of 2017.
1. What are the design strategies behind AKO’s valves and fittings?
Honestly, I could say it in only two words: Simply clever! We at AKO are constantly striving to make good things even better.
For example, a couple of years ago, we developed a new era of pinch valve bodies, which save 40% of the required compressed air. This design evolution made our pinch valves even more economical and our clients were able to reduce their pinch valve’s TCO significant.
Our design and development process always focuses on our customer’s needs. A simple structure and a reliable mode of operation, paired with high-quality materials and know-how of more than 30 years, are the cornerstones of our pinch valves.
Another aspect in the development process is the ease of maintenance. We design our products in such a way that our customers are able to maintain them independently on site. Long downtimes can thus be avoided.
Another USP is our incredible wide range of pinch valve variations – we are able to configure more than 10,000 different pinch valve configurations and thus can usually serve all costumers requests. Should we – with some exceptions – not be able to serve a request, we offer custom developed pinch valve solutions that are elaborate from our technical engineers in cooperation with the customer.
2. Can you reflect on the challenges faced by AKO moving forward?
Although pinch valves were initially developed more than 50 years ago, they are fortunately still a niche product. So our daily challenge is to convince prospective clients from our pinch valves’ benefits and to show that they are the ideal solution for their requested requirements.
But we can deal with it: Constantly more than 600 new customers per year and more than 20,000 overall customers from the most diverse industry sectors and application areas show that pinch valves can basically be used anywhere. We at AKO are completely focused on pinch valves – so we love our pioneer work in this sector!
3. What are the quality measures behind the premium valves manufactured by AKO?
First of all: high-quality materials and production specifications with low tolerance ranges.
Our customers know and appreciate our constantly high-class processing paired with a fair pricing policy and an all-round service range.
Although we already focus on quality in our production process, furthermore every single component and every pinch valve that leaves our company buildings is checked visually and functionally. Due to these checks and additional regular long-term tests, we have been able to reduce our complaint rate to less than 0.4%. When you consider the harsh operating conditions that our pinch valves have to withstand every day, this extremely low rate is absolutely fantastic and I’m sure, with this rate we are leading the top league of pinch valve manufacturers.
4. What are the other projects that AKO is currently engaged and what are its future plans?
One of our key issues in the near future is to increase the availability of further pinch valve variations and to optimize our delivery and assembly times. To achieve this, we will treble our warehouse capacity this year at our headquarters in Germany.
Our constantly increasing sales worldwide in recent years has shown us that more and more plant construction companies, engineering offices and plant operators are convinced of the advantages of our pinch valves.
In the medium term, our focus is on new &ongoing development and optimization of pinch valve solutions, service offerings, and accessory components to increase the range of application possibilities of pinch valves even more.
5. AKO manufactures various valves. Do these valves are designed specifically for the certain type of industries?
Our pinch valves are the ideal shut-off and regulating solution for many applications and countless conveying media across all sectors. Due to our modular systems, we can configure our pinch valves precisely for almost every requirement. Our pinch valves handle conveying media like contaminated liquids, suspensions, sludges, granules, fibers, rough bulk materials and many more. Our pinch valves are used in dosing and weighing systems, in railways, in the food & beverage sector, in the mining industry, in environmental technologies, in the chemical industry, in various pneumatic and vacuum conveying systems and countless other applications. Even for hazardous areas (zones 0, 1, 2, 20, 21, 22), we offer several solutions. In conclusion, I can say that anyone looking for an innovative and reliable shut-off solution should take a deeper look in our extensive pinch valve range.