Air separation specialist Ranch Cryogenics Inc. (RCI), will be celebrating its 30th anniversary in August.
The family business was born on a Pennsylvania farm in August 1987, found its voice during the economic boom of the 1990s, and came of age in the 21st century as the demand for liquid oxygen (O2), hydrogen (H2) and other gasses soared to accommodate new manufacturing markets.
RCI was launched by Michael’s grandfather, Mike Duffy Sr. who had a 20-year background with companies like Northern Gases, where he began in 1966 as a truck and trailer mechanic. He went on to operate and manage several air separation plants. But he really found his niche when he was assigned to move two 69 T/D gaseous O2 plants from Chicago to Waukesha, Wisconsin.
RCI enters its fourth decade in a new home outside of Chicago, with a staff serving a growing customer base that includes everything from steel mills to hospitals, sewage treatment plants and even gold mines. It continues as a family owned business with a reputation for reliability, efficiency and innovation – and a practical approach to finding solutions.
“We’ve grown quite a bit – it’s been crazy,” says Michael ‘Trey’ Duffy, Vice-President and General Manager of the company based in Dwight, Illinois. “On our 20th anniversary we just had the one barn office with probably five employees, whereas now we range up to 25. We’ve also grown in terms of the number of jobs we can run, but we want to maintain the same quality and efficiency.”
In a first for the company, RCI designed and built a plant from scratch in Washington State. The company recently finished building one of the world’s largest H2 refuelling facilities outside of Boston.
RCI has been a global player over the last few decades, but current growth is centred in North America, says grandson Chris Duffy, the company’s office manager. About 10 % of the business is international now, down from 30% to 40%. The 1990s saw lots of projects in South America, Asia and the Middle East.
Over next five years, RCI will focus more on its own construction projects now that it has an in-house crew. President, Mike Duffy Jr. says, “We’re getting state contractor licenses where we need them.” He continues, “Now that we have our foot in the door, we’re going to be doing more H2 refuelling facilities, because they’re starting to build them all over the country.”