ECR International: Acquisition bolsters strategic positioning in marketplace

 

ECR International, with headquarters in Utica, manufactures heating and cooling products under a family of brand names including: Dunkirk, Utica Boilers, Olsen, Airco, Pennco, RetroAire, Argo and EMI. The company markets its products in the U.S., Canada and China.

In December of 2015, company shareholders approved the sale of the company to BDR Thermea, Dutch heating products group with its global headquarters in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands. BDR Thermea is the parent company of international heating brands, including De Dietrich, Baxi, Remeha, Brötje, Chappée and Baymak.

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“We are pleased that ECR shareholders have supported this transaction which now allows us to access the tools necessary to compete in all technology and market segments,” said Ron Passafaro, president and CEO of ECR International.

“I’m excited to welcome ECR International to our family of leading, international brands,” added Rob Van Banning, CEO of BDR Thermea. “BDR Thermea is on its way to become the leading heating manufacturer and distributor in the U.S. For us, this acquisition represents a first step of a bigger strategy to increase market share and presence worldwide.”

All BDR North American operations will be integrated into the newly established company, which will continue to operate under the ECR International name and be managed by the current ECR team led by Passafaro.

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The current management structure and manufacturing facilities in Dunkirk and Utica, N.Y. will also remain the same. Products will continue to be sold under the ECR family of brands, which customers have known since 1928.

Continued investment into engineering and manufacturing has helped ECR to remain innovative and competitive in an ever-changing industry. New and innovative products will be added to ECR’s brands and facilities, which was the subject matter of an initial visit by BDR CEO Rob Van Banning and other leaders to the company in January.

ECR distributors and installing contractors will soon have access to a robust product offering with more choices to meet residential and commercial customer’s needs and applications. “The relationship allows BDR to get mature manufacturer and distribution channels in the U.S., and for ECR it allows for volume and critical mass leverage,” said Passafaro.

Products & Services

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399 Model modulating condensing boiler

As an expert in hydronics, says Don DeCarr, product manager, ECR capitalized on its unique heat exchanger designs and developed a larger boiler for the light commercial market with the new 399 Model modulating condensing boiler, which features 96% thermal efficiency, a 5:1 turndown ratio and a 399 MBH input with a small footprint. There is a polypropylene flue collector and the unit is tested at 150 psi MAWP. It is approved for PVC, CPVC and polypropylene venting.

The unit is also CSD 1 compliant with built-in manual reset low water cut off and manual reset high temperature limit, and an outdoor temperature sensor is included. The user display interface is easy to program and has a text display. The main component of the boiler is the innovative patent pending heat exchanger that utilizes 316L/444 Stainless Steel fin tubing. It is vertically positioned, low maintenance, and self-cleaning. ECR’s engineers at the Research and Development Center, located in Utica, designed the heat exchanger.

“We have many new products that we are working on in the near future,” said DeCarr. At the top of the list is a commercial condensing boiler, product complements to the oil fired furnace line, and high SEER variable speed heat pump ductless split systems.

“ECR is also excited to be working on high-efficiency wall-hung boilers to add to the product lineup in 2016. We are looking at high efficiency, a modulation level of 7:1, self-calibration, gas adaptive control and other great features in a combi/space heat only wall hung application,” added DeCarr.

Training Programs

ECR is fully committed to a robust training program. “We have been training the installing contractors since we first introduced condensing boilers back in 1996. In 2014 ECR expanded our training program with the introduction of the Hydronic Boot Camp training program and I am pleased to say that this program is still going strong into 2016. Course content includes many aspects of modern condensing boilers including product selection, meeting with the customer, commissioning techniques, efficiency of the heating equipment/system and troubleshooting,” said DeCarr.

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In 2015, ECR revamped its training centers and added a third in New England. Live firing is now available in a classroom setting in Utica and Dunkirk, N.Y. locations and Hopkinton, Mass.

Bet You Didn’t Know

ECR stands for the initials of the company’s founder Earle C. Reed. Reed founded Dunkirk Radiator and Utica Radiator in 1928. Today the Utica and Dunkirk brands are still very strong in the hydronics industry.

ECR is has a long history of innovations: the company was the first to introduce 95% efficiency boilers to North America in 1996; it was the first to introduce integral draft diverters to gas boilers; the first to introduce swing-out burner doors on oil boilers; and ECR was also the first to feature a full line of condensing wall-hung boilers with built-in primary/secondary piping in 2010.

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