John Crane: Looking Back, Thinking Ahead

As we begin this new chapter, let’s a look back at some of John Crane’s crowning achievements, we’ll examine how they helped forge an identity that has led to over 100 years of success—a feat that has allowed the company to establish itself as a global leader and technology innovator.

December 19, 2018 | 3 minute read

John Crane Old Locations

The Beginning of Something Big

John Crane can trace its roots back to 1917, with the creation of Crane Packing Company. Within 20 years, the company had grown so much that before World War II, the company’s England-based operations were sold to Tube Investments, resulting in the creation of TI Group.

So how did we become John Crane? In 1987, TI Group acquired the remaining regional operations and the company reunited and was named after one of the company’s original founders. In 2000, TI Group merged with Smiths Industries to become Smiths Group plc, a 167-year-old global technology company comprised of five divisions and based in London. Today, John Crane is the largest subsidiary of Smiths Group plc.

A Look Back: How John Crane Built a Legacy for the Future

John Crane has achieved many landmark successes through the years, including the design of the world’s first automotive mechanical seal in 1949. The innovative design was soon followed by the development and introduction of the John Crane Type 1, end-face, elastomer bellows shaft seal. This patented product revolutionized sealing technology and is still one of the most widely used seals in the industry.

John Crane later introduced another breakthrough in seal technology, the Type 28 non-contacting, gas-lubricated seal. This historical seal has been—and continues to be—used to seal pipeline compressor stations in locations as diverse as the mountains of western Canada, the deserts of the Middle East and the jungles of the Far East.

As environmental concerns grew, John Crane developed non-contacting sealing technology for pumps that handle environmentally sensitive liquids. Applying this technology to a standard American National Standards Institute (ANSI) or American Petroleum Institute (API) pump allows users to meet or exceed the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) stringent regulations for hazardous emissions.

Interest in R&D and growth through strategic investment led to the acquisition of two sealing companies in 1998—Sealol and Safematic. These additions extended John Crane’s global reach and expanded our product portfolio to include high-quality welded metal bellows seals; proven sealing and lubrication products for the pulp and paper market; and high-temperature and high-pressure cartridge seals for pipeline and refinery applications. John Crane’s seal support system portfolio grew again with the later acquisition of Lemco.

In 2007, the company expanded into an exciting new sector―John Crane Product Solutions. This branch of the company specializes in artificial lift equipment and services for upstream oil and gas production.

The purchase of the Netherlands-based Indufil BV in 2008 added filtration systems to the company’s comprehensive portfolio, In 2018, the company acquired Seebach GmbH, a German-based provider of highly engineered filtration solutions for use in polymer, oil and gas, mining and other high-end applications. Through this acquisition, we will enhance our portfolio to develop more innovative filtration solutions, provide faster response times to customer inquiries, and improve planning allowing for quicker turnaround and shorter lead times.

The culmination of these momentous events took place on March 9, 2017, when we celebrated our 100-year anniversary, with celebrations held across all of our global sites.

Looking Ahead: Transformation in the Age of Technology

In an era of constantly shifting landscapes—technology, marketplaces and process industries—John Crane has been able to establish itself as an adaptable, advanced technology company that continues to place its people at the center of all business ideas.

The Launch of the Aura 120NS dry gas seal helps reinforce our commitment in advancing technology solutions to keep pace with customer requirements as well as global issues. This new gas seal technology is designed to be retrofitted into centrifugal compressors with oil seals to significantly lower operating costs, improve reliability and reduce methane emissions by up to 95 percent.

While some things change, others remain constant. We still offer the mechanical packing and gasket products upon which the Crane Packing Company built its success. Each year, we manufacture some 238,900 miles of braided packing—almost enough to reach to the moon.

We are proud to bring the depth and breadth of our knowledge to every customer experience. Now that you’ve learned what we are capable of, how can we help you today?

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