Spiral duct’s debut in the HVAC industry revolves around the creation of the Bösingen, Switzerland-based company, Spiro International S.A. Founders Erling Jensen and Leif Andresen invented the first Spiro Tubeformer machine for making spiral duct in 1956 with hopes of designing an easier to seal and maintain ventilation system. Initially, the duct style was a novelty. Then contractors quickly began to realize its benefits.
Before Spiro Tubeformer machines were made available in the U.S., contractors ordered spiral duct directly from overseas. They factored in shipping and a 7- hour time difference when bidding jobs. And when the duct arrived, they could only hope that it was the right fit and not damaged.
When Spiro opened an outpost in the U.S. for producing its Spiro Tubeformer machines in the 1970s, the move marked spiral’s rise in popularity in the HVAC industry.
“Actually, it was a sales office originally,” explains Matt Halleran, director of sales at Spiral-Helix Inc, an offshoot of Spiro that began in the ’80s. “At that time, they were being built in Norway and sold in the U.S. market. Then the office just sold way too many, and they had to start building them here.”
With U.S. sales representing a large share of Spiro’s business, the Spiral Duct Manufacturers Association was created to help guide market growth and the exchange of ideas among a burgeoning group of spiral duct manufacturers.
“It’s essentially the start of the peer group concept,” says Halleran, who has been in the Spiro company group for over 19 years. Spiro was SPIDA’s first member. “Right now you hear about this ‘new concept’ of peer groups. You get five or six businesses all over the country that aren’t necessarily in the same market; they aren’t competitors, but they are doing the same thing. They get together to talk about trends they are seeing, and the needs in the marketplace. SPIDA was probably one of the original peer groups, but back then they called them organizations.”
SPIDA is a nonprofit organization promoting the use of spiral-seamed round and flat-oval duct through research and education from some of the leading experts in the spiral duct industry. Its members — which include duct manufacturers, suppliers and installers — represent residential, industrial and commercial markets from all over the country.
“It’s all about the sharing of ideas,” explains SPIDA 2019 president John Newland of Hercules Industries. “The more we can listen and learn from others and collectively gather information within the group, the more we will be able to effectively promote and grow the market share of round and oval spiral ductwork. This is a collaborative effort between engineers, contractors, and manufacturers.”
Hercules has been a SPIDA member for more than 15 years. Depending on the company, the value of a SPIDA membership can be measured in various ways, including increased sales, increased efficiencies, or an increased level of education.
“Spiral pipe is a large part of Hercules’ business, and the more we can become better at marketing, selling, manufacturing, and delivering round and oval spiral, the stronger our business will become,” says Newland.
SPIDA hosts two annual meetings: one coincides with the annual AHR Expo, and the other, typically a spring or summer conference, was recently held in Nashville, Tennessee (photos above). The program included presentations on industry topics such as hiring strategies, job site safety, product transportation, and a keynote presentation on the manufacturing market. The underlying goal being to collectively grow SPIDA’s membership and network of experts and resources.
“This will come by showing the value that SPIDA can bring to companies (and individual development as well) through increased technical studies, reputable speakers, and overall informative content at all meetings,” says Newland. “By getting more members together, this also allows for a great deal of networking amongst different peers in the industry.”
For more information about the Spiral Duct Manufacturers Association, visit spida.org.
This story originally appeared in the July 2019 issue of SNIPS magazine.