On a cold winter day, the last thing you want is a furnace that doesn’t fire up.
Making sure furnaces, gas ranges and other appliances keep blazing year-round is one of the things SCP Limited prides itself on. The Auburn, Indiana-based company specializes in making better and more reliable high-temperature appliance ignitors, a niche market in which it has become an innovation leader.
“Our mission is to be the world’s leading ignitor supplier,” says Jim Buchanan, president and CEO of the company since 2005.
Ignitors might be something most of us take for granted – until they fail. But they require tremendous engineering to remain strong and reliable despite super-high temperatures and repeated use.
What’s more, SCP is never satisfied with the current state of ignitor technology; rather, the company is always looking for the next big improvement, Buchanan says. SCP engineers are constantly designing and developing creative solutions, and work to make sure their products set new industry standards. As a result, SCP records about 13 new patents each year, he says.
Why not just settle into the market and coast along with current technology?
“That would bore us to tears,” Buchanan answers. “That’s just not who we are as a people.”
Because product improvement and innovation is essential to the SCP business model, Ventures is a perfect partner. Working with Ventures allows the company to tap into the talents of creative young Rose-Hulman students and experienced Ventures project managers, all of whom are used to searching for creative solutions to existing problems.
Most recently, Ventures helped SCP create a large-scale semi-automated conveyor system that can rapidly test individual ignitors one-by-one for reliability. The multistage machine, which required months of development and testing, will allow SCP to test its ignitors at a rate far surpassing what has been possible in the past.
“Ventures is part of our business plan,” Buchanan says. “We love working with them. They have no hidden agenda and they definitely think outside the box.”