By Donna Kreutz
Even as a child, Chuck Sanderson was fascinated by and involved in his family’s business: Superior Manufacturing Corporation in Fort Wayne, IN. The company is a global leader in the chemical-free treatment of water to control scale and corrosion. It evolved from an invention Sanderson’s father developed in 1964.
“My father used to pick me up after school and bring me into the shop when I was 10 years old. I started working full-time at the company after graduation from high school. I started out in manufacturing and eventually got into sales. I am currently Vice President in charge of marketing nationally and internationally,” Sanderson said. “My brother Scott is President and our sister Terri is CFO.
“Having a background in chemical sales, our father, Charles H. Sanderson, felt there was a better way to deal with scale and corrosion than with conventional chemical treatment. Through extensive research, he discovered that magnets had been used to alter the damaging effects of the hardness minerals in water and eventually invented our unique, multiple-pole, multiple-field magnetic treatment product in 1964: the Superior Water Conditioner®,” Sanderson said.
“Superior Water Conditioners magnetically alter the natural characteristics of hard-water minerals, making it difficult for them to bond together and form an undesirable, hard brittle scale. Instead, they remain in a suspended state and will either flow on through or can be easily purged from water-using equipment and plumbing systems. Superior technology also has zero environmental impact because it requires no energy or chemicals to operate,” according to the company’s website.
“There’s a lot of literature on magnetic treatment of water for scale control.
My dad went to the library doing research. He was intrigued by the fact that if there was a better way to treat water than using conventional chemicals, if there was an alternative product, it would be a lot safer for people, less costly and involve a one-time purchase as opposed to buying chemicals every month. Dad saw this as a great opportunity—basically his claim to fame. Dad lived and breathed this business.”
Staying small but doing big business
Superior Manufacturing remains intentionally small, building its global reputation primary through trade shows, Sanderson said, and more recently through social media and the Internet, to increase awareness of the company’s unique technology. “Our biggest challenge through the years was to get our technology accepted as a viable alternative to the more conventional treatment methods. To overcome this, we have just kept our nose to the grindstone and continued doing what we do best, and that is providing the best quality product available on the market today. Our track record of being in business for 55 years, along with over a half a million successful applications worldwide, has certainly proven our validity,” he said.
“Our products offer the most cost-effective, user-friendly and environmentally safe solutions to the problems typically caused by hard water in food-service equipment, water heaters, boilers, cooling towers and more than 400 other types of applications. Our non-conventional technology was difficult to get recognized at first as a viable alternative to scale control, but over the years, the awareness and acceptance grew exponentially.
“Today our products are sold through dealers and distributors throughout the US and around the globe. We are the largest OEM supplier of a unit that gets installed internally in tank-type media filters for the purpose of controlling scale. We strive to remain the world leader in the chemical-free treatment of water for control of scale and corrosion. We are probably in 50 different countries. We do business all over the world, but very little in our own backyard right here in Indiana.”
The company’s online video explains the process. “Over time, minerals in the water attract to one another and create a thickening scale buildup in water-using equipment and related plumbing systems. By installing a Superior Water Conditioner, these effects are prevented and even reversed. Superior is the innovator of the in-line, multi-field permanent magnet. Our company’s exclusive and proprietary technology distinguishes us from all other non-chemical water treatment systems. Customers are the key to our success and we achieve our goals one customer at a time.”
Sanderson said: “We are unique among water treatment equipment manufacturers worldwide for our Superior magnetic water conditioner technology. From the biggest industrial plants to the humblest plumbing systems, our non-chemical, salt-free water conditioning technology provides better protection against hard-water scale and corrosion. We consider ourselves a pioneer in chemical-free water treatment technology. We are not a world leader in water treatment—there are chemical companies bigger than we are. But there is not anybody out there who has as many installations as we do. We have over a half million units, from coffee makers, ice machines and table-top steamers up to cooling towers and boilers. Our biggest mover is the residential DU8 model, an OEM unit that gets installed in the distributor riser of tank-type media filters that processes up to eight gpm.
“After 55 years, we’ve stood the test of time. One reason for our success is the product—it really is one of the best things since sliced bread. It does so much with so little. It’s what we have to offer the customer and the environment to literally eliminate the need for chemicals typically used for residential, commercial and industrial water treatment.”
The earth itself is a giant magnet, with an iron core that generates a magnetic field that continuously protects us from deadly solar radiation: the Van Allen Belt. And although the extended science of magnetism is still not fully understood, it hasn’t stopped innovators from harnessing magnetic forces and using them to change our world. Simply put, the value of magnetic technologies cannot be overstated.
• MRI or Magnetic Resonance Imaging is a lifesaving diagnostic technology for healthcare.
• Wind turbines use magnets to convert wind energy into electric current to power our homes.
• Mag-lev bullet trains levitate and propel the world’s fastest rail transports.
It’s this spirit of innovation that led Charles H. Sanderson, the inventor of the Superior Water Conditioner, to create a technology and formulas that have delivered over 50 years of proven success.