Century Instrument Company

Century Instrument Company

In 1950, the Century Instrument Company in Livonia, MI started business manufacturing a diaphragm type pneumatic operator which was rapidly accepted for its reliability and quality. Soon, Century was supplying this actuator as a private label to Hills McCanna, Saunders, and Dow Chemical (aka Saran Lined Piping Co.). This was a profitable arrangement for both Century and its private label customers and this relationship went on for many years. In the mid 1980s, two of Century`s larger customers moved off in other directions. Hills concentrated on ball valves and other projects, and Dow decided to work with manual diaphragm valves only. Century continues to supply actuators for Saunders world wide to this day and also on a smaller scale for Hills.

Company details

11865 Mayfield , Livonia , Michigan 48150 USA
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Business Type:
Industry Type:
Water and Wastewater
Market Focus:
Globally (various continents)

Century Instrument Company provides process control valves serving the petroleum chemical, water treatment, food & beverage, paper, pharmaceutical, and utilities industries. Our diaphragm valves follow strict compliance of ASA, ASTM, and other industry standards.

This left a considerable hole in Century's business, which prompted them to sell direct through sales representatives to its largest potential market, the water treatment industry, which they continue to supply to this day. Century has a long and impressive history and customers list in their own right, and many thousands of valves in service under other names as a private label

Century Instrument Company Mission Statement

Century Instrument Company is committed to manufacturing quality process control valves and instrumentation for all sectors of industry requiring control of fluids or vapors be it water, steam, corrosive chemicals or sanitary fluids.

  1. We will use only those materials or suppliers that meet ASTM standards or other accepted industry standards and maintain incoming Quality control of all new material or assembled sub-assemblies.
  2. Our manufacturing process will be accomplished under strict compliance of ASA, ASTM, or accepted industry standards. All manufacturing procedures will be documented with in process quality control checks.
  3. All completed products will be inspected and tested to actual service conditions prior to shipment.
  4. We will be committed to on time as shipment as quoted.
  5. We are dedicated to complete customer service before the order, during process and after shipment. We will go anywhere at any time at any cost to give our customers the best service they can buy.

Our customers are our most important asset and as such our philosophy is to put the customer first and foremost in all considerations. If there is a problem with one of our products, first we will correct that problem and then discuss the issues that created the problem. In our service to our customers, we believe that we act as Henry Ford once said, 'Don't find fault, find a remedy.'

The diaphragm valve traces its origins back to the ancient Roman and Greek times, where it was used to control the water and temperature of the hot baths. With a crude leather diaphragm that was manually closed over a weir, it was a primitive but effective control valve.

In the early 1900s, a South African mining engineer by the name of P. K. Saunders was charged with the project to cut the costly power losses due to faulty, leaking seats and stuffing boxes of the valves used to supply air and water in the underground mines. Saunders was interested in ancient history and archaeology as a hobby, and stumbled upon the use of the control valves used in the baths. He utilized this concept to develop the first modern diaphragm valve. Many patents were filed in his name for this valve and in1931, the Hills McCanna Company became the first licensee to manufacture the Saunders patent diaphragm valve in the United States. Soon after that, others entered the business such as Grinell (ITT Dia Flow), Dow Chemical, and Arco Winn.

With the advent of a variety of advanced plastics and elastomeric materials that could be used in the internal construction of this valve, its sales growth was remarkable; however, it soon became apparent that a reliable actuator to automate it efficiently was urgently required.