SELEE Corporation, located in Hendersonville, North Carolina, is the world’s leading manufacturer of ceramic foam. SELEE pioneered ceramic foam technology in the mid-1970s and has successfully developed a reputation for quality, service, innovation and technical leadership.
The foundation of SELEE was the development of this unique continuous open ceramic foam structure for use as a filter medium. As a result of this development, SELEE received the Industrial Research and Development I·R 100 Award in 1978 for “one of the most significant new technical innovations of the year.”
Move to Hendersonville, NC
During the late 1970s, rapid and successful introduction of the SELEE® filter to the aluminum industry quickly stretched the capacity of the initial pilot facility in St. Louis, Missouri. As a consequence, a new and larger plant in Hendersonville, North Carolina was commissioned in May 1979. All operations of the SELEE business including sales, marketing, engineering, research and development and general administration were subsequently relocated to Hendersonville.
In the mid-1980s, an ambitious program was launched to expand the SELEE product line. Nonferrous metal filtration technology was expanded and ferrous metal filtration products were developed for the iron and steel industry. During this period, SELEE doubled its production capacity.
Up until January 1987, SELEE had operated as the Ceramic Foam Filter division of Consolidated Aluminum Corporation. On January 1, 1987, SELEE was spun off from Consolidated Aluminum to become a wholly owned subsidiary of Alusuisse-Lonza, a multi-billion dollar, multi-national Swiss corporation with extensive holdings in the metals, mining, chemicals and packaging industries.
During the late 1980s, new products for thermal processing, biotech, chemical and emission control applications were introduced. SELEE again expanded its manufacturing facilities and constructed a new technology center with a comprehensive pilot plant and extensive research and development laboratories. Also in the late 1980s, manufacturing and direct marketing operations were established in Europe, Brazil and Australia. In 1989, SELEE de Venezuela, a manufacturing joint venture, was formed.
ISO 9001 Certification
In 1990, SELEE received ISO 9001 certification – one of the first 500 companies in the United States to be awarded this certification.
In 1992, a group of key employees, with the help of several outside investors, purchased SELEE Corporation and its Venezuelan joint venture from Alusuisse-Lonza. Subsequently in 1995, SELEE joined Porvair plc and became part of Porvair Corporation in the United States maintaining its strong position as SELEE in the melt treatment and filtration industry. Porvair Advanced Materials, Inc. was spun off from SELEE Corporation and Porvair Corporation in December 1997 broadening its marketing base into liquid and gas filtration, environmental, thermal, chemical and catalysis applications.
Research and development and licensing of the metal foam process led SELEE and Porvair to form Porvair Fuel Cell Technology (PFCT) in 2000. The goal of this division was to capitalize on the strengths of ceramic and metal foams to provide components to fuel cell manufacturers. In 2001 a major grant was awarded to PFCT to commercialize low cost carbon graphite plates in development at Oak Ridge National Laboratories. While PFCT has been absorbed into SELEE, and fuel cell component manufacturing has been ceased, the experience and knowledge gained from the venture has allowed SELEE to design and build new products for the metals casting industry.
Acquired Engineered Ceramics®
In 2001, SELEE Corporation acquired Engineered Ceramics® in Gilberts, Illinois from SPX-Lindberg. Engineered Ceramics® is a highly innovative company and world leader in molten metal containment technologies that targets the fast growing nickel based superalloy investment casting industry. The combination of Engineered Ceramics® technologies, and SELEE’s award winning customer and technical service has proven to be an excellent combination.
Since its inception, SELEE’s business has grown to well over 500 customers. SELEE’s innovative products are currently being sold in 50 countries around the world. SELEE, like its parent, Porvair plc, is particularly strong in research and development, having pioneered virtually all of the new technological innovations in the ceramic foam filter industry. SELEE reinvests a significant percentage of every sales dollar back into the research and development of new advanced material technology. SELEE’s 23,000 square foot technology center and pilot plant spearhead this new product development, as well as improvements in existing products. SELEE is constantly looking for products and processes which provide a technical edge and opportunities for growth. Customer support includes an experienced staff of degreed metallurgists as Applications Engineers, a metallurgical lab, SEM, and X-ray diffraction.
From a quality standpoint, SELEE has achieved several prestigious, internationally recognized quality rankings. SELEE was one of the first U.S. firms to be certified ISO 9001 as well as receiving Ford Q1 certification. In 1996, SELEE was one of the first companies in the U.S. to be certified to QS 9000. SELEE also achieved ISO 14001 certification in 2002. SELEE continues to maintain its strong quality system through ISO 9001:2008.
Built China Manufacturing Facility
In 2009, recognizing the importance of the China metals casting industry, SELEE formed Porvair SELEE Filtration Technology (Hubei) Co., Ltd. The new facility was designed to build filters for the iron foundry industry, and after four years of continuous improvement in productivity and sales, a new larger facility has been built to produce product for both the iron foundry and aluminum cast house markets.
SELEE as Industry Value Leader
SELEE is the industry value leader, having substantially invested, and continuing to invest in highly efficient, automated manufacturing equipment. SELEE employs the combined competitive advantages of technological leadership and superior product quality.
SELEE is recognized as both the commercial and technical leader in the ceramic foam industry. SELEE's consistent growth has been propelled by its corporate philosophy of continuous improvement, which demands “an obsessive commitment to customers that is paramount in all considerations.”