Koso Kent Introl - What’s in a Name?

Takashi "Ike" Ikegaya, founder, Chairman and President of the Koso Group of Companies and Ed Singleton, founder of Introl

A History of the Company

by Edward Singleton, founder of Introl, Managing Director of Introl from 1967 to 1990, Chairman from 1990 to 1995 and currently consultant to Koso Kent Introl Limited

If names are important, ‘Introl’ has had more than its fair share, starting with Introl and then moving on to Kent Introl, Kent Process Control, Kent Instruments, ABB Control Valves and currently Koso Kent Introl Ltd. Ownership has changed six times in the company’s 40 years history. All these changes, under different circumstances, could have created difficulties for the company, but most of them brought benefits through capital investment and access to new markets. I am pleased to say that the "raison d’être" for the formation of the company, namely to design and manufacture control valves for severe services and to provide pre-sales and post-sales customer services, has not changed. The company remains committed to this policy.

Introl was founded in 1967 by Edward Singleton (Ed) who, after 18 years experience with a British/American control valve company, decided to form his own specialist control valve company. The new company started with many years experience invested in its founder and a nucleus of skilled engineers who moved with him. Orders from the specialist North Sea oil and gas market, which was taking-off at that time, were secured by the company almost immediately after its formation. Introl was in a favoured position for this and other specialist control valve markets because, although most of the competitors were much bigger, they depended on the States for special purpose designs. At that time Introl appeared to be the only company with design expertise in the UK.

The company grew rapidly and in 1971 attracted the attention of the major British process control instrument company - George Kent. Introl joined the Kent Group but remained a fully autonomous company and market expansion continued. The product range also continued to develop whilst remaining firmly anchored to the specialist field.

In 1974 the Kent Group was acquired by Brown Boveri of Switzerland, so Introl now became part of a huge international electro-mechanical conglomerate. This gave Introl access to the BBC fluids laboratory, which along with the high capacity liquid flow test at Kent Meters, met all requirements for testing and research into fluid dynamics as applied to new valve designs.

Several new products were added to the range in the ten years ‘74-’84, including the Turbotrol anti-cavitation control valve and the Rotrol anti-cavitation butterfly valve. In response to requests of oil and gas operators in the North Sea, choke valves were developed in 1980 and sub-sea chokes followed in 1985. The company was now, on a regular basis, successfully negotiating large contracts for markets geographically as far apart as Alaska and the Middle East.

In 1985 Brown Boveri was merged with BBC to form the massive ABB, but Introl continued to work autonomously and its objectives remained unchanged. A subsidiary unit including engineering, sales and manufacturing was set up at Nashik, India in 1992. In a restructuring exercise in 2000, ABB transferred Introl from the Kent Group to the Vetco division of ABB, specialising in sub-sea wellheads and associated equipment. Introl was a major supplier of sub-sea chokes to Vetco and in anticipation of the growth of this market it was decided to transfer the production of sub-sea chokes from Introl to the Vetco factory whilst retaining the surface chokes at Introl. Shortly after this move, in a policy of concentrating on its core products, ABB decided to divest itself of Vetco and in 2005 Introl was purchased from Vetco by Koso of Japan.

Apart from the change of the company name to Koso Kent Introl, the company remains unchanged in its original objectives and policies. The provision of control valves and a service for the special requirements of the oil, gas and processing industries is still its preoccupation. Throughout the last 40 years there have been name changes and progressive developments, but the company has remained on the course originally mapped out for it in 1967.

Published in Valve User Magazine Issue 1

Summer 2020 // Issue 53
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