“If something is difficult,
it is because it has a solution;
if it is impossible,
we have a challenge!”
“If something is difficult,
JUAN ALEJANDRO SEGRELLES
Founder and soul of NORTEK
in memoriam ~ 1939-2016
A technological legacy of five decades
NORTEK’s history would not be understood without the drive and ingenuity of its founder and inspiration, Juan Alejandro Segrelles (1939-2016). Over fifty years, its entrepreneurial vision and technical daring have allowed for the transformation of a small workshop dedicated to the distribution of small greasing equipment and fluid systems on a global scale. Perseverance, imagination, inventive ability and fighting spirit were some of the traits that defined the path of this unique entrepreneur, for whom any complex project was a source of hope and every closing door was seen as an opportunity to slip inside, even if through the tiniest crack. Honoring this legacy and continuing to make it grow is our goal for the next fifty years…
Tribology, at the heart of our engineering
Having been created as a supplier of lubrication systems, NORTEK developed the heart of its engineering within the framework of tribology. This is the science that seeks to ascertain, predict and control the working conditions of solid surfaces that are in contact and motion, in order to increase productivity, lengthen the service life of machines, improve the accuracy of parts, and save energy and maintenance efforts.
Juan Alejandro Segrelles and his team soon stood out for their deep familiarity with this field of technical knowledge and for developing creative solutions for lubrication and cooling, with two fundamental premises: maximum reliability at a competitive price. This synthesis between quality and rationality soon caught the attention of leading companies in several industries. NORTEK, in turn, grew and consolidated, learning from the demanding requirements it was expected to meet, while also providing new insights and developments. Thus, from tribology we grew toward a global vision of fluids engineering, gradually expanding the product range and widening the boundaries of our research work.
NORTEK’s innovative track record has been acknowledged by receiving numerous patents and utility models, in some cases shared with leading global companies. The following is a summary of the main developments that certified and protected NORTEK’S technological contribution throughout its history.
The first patents
Juan Alejandro Segrelles received recognition for his first patent in 1969. Numerous technical improvements were therefore certified, as they had been successfully introduced into NORTEK brand double line grease dispensers, compared with those supplied by its competitors.
Other company developments, such as a hydraulic inverter powered by overpressure, the hydraulic proportional multiplier and a series of improvements in the construction of hand pumps for grease, were patented in later years.
In 1998, once NORTEK had already gone beyond its positioning as only a supplier of greasing systems, it obtained a patent for one of our catalogue’s emblematic products: an air-oil divider which, due to its use of the direction of rotation of the oil through its internal helical gear, offers a higher level of precision.
This innovation was accompanied by the registration of a trademark for the product: the NORTEK divider could only be called DIVINOR®.
Traditionally, oil circulation storage systems were oversized or even doubled to promote maximum decanting and aeration of fluid. This meant, in addition to cooling problems, a cost increase that proved unnecessary when NORTEK and MORGAN CONSTRUCTION CO. (today, Primetals Technologies) jointly patented SmartTank® in 2003.
It contains an innovative interior design for oil storage systems that, while managing to minimize their size, also increased the time the oil remained in the tank and ensured greater homogeneity in lubricant temperature. Greater reliability at lower cost: a design benchmark fundamental to understanding NORTEK’s track record.
Heating system without electricity for accumulators
In 2006, NORTEK patented a new heating system for the oil stored in accumulators. This solved the problem caused by cooling the oil stored in accumulators located on the circulation line (but outside of it) in a very original way, a challenge traditionally dealt with using resistors.
Under the NORTEK system, the line passes through the inside of the tank, making it possible to use mechanical means to take advantage of the temperature of the circulating oil to guarantee that of the stored oil.
NORTEK’s major contribution to oil dehydration systems
Pollution of the water by oil is one of the greatest enemies of any lubrication system and can cause failures with serious consequences. NORTEK’s contribution to the development of vacuum dehydration systems has been essential, because it managed to use highly reliable and economically competitive solutions to solve two of the biggest questions in the industry:
On the one hand, NORTEK’s patent for vacuum devices (2007) finally provided an optimal, tested solution for effective and almost complete dehydration of high-viscosity oils. By doing this, we became the only global supplier with the ability to offer this solution in a proven manner.
On the other hand, the patent was registered jointly in 2009 with MORGAN CONSTRUCTION CO. (today, Primetals Technologies) for a dehydrator used on highly contaminated oils, very useful for applications with a high level of water penetration.