Electromate Corporation was founded in 1969 by inventor and born tinkerer William “Andy” Irvin and Wendell Griffin with investment partner Sam Jacobson. Electromate was a metal enclosure manufacturer. The company they acquired was formerly known as Pillar Manufacturing. Their first location was near Corbett and Stockton in Jacksonville, Florida. In addition to metal enclosures, Electromate would later expand into fiberglass enclosures.
In 1972, Andy decided to get into the controls side of the industry. He hired an electrical engineer named Carl Hoyt and tasked him with designing a duplex pump circuit panel. Carl realized he needed a drafter and a wireman to complete this task. Fresh out of school, a 20-year-old draftsman named Everett Robinson started working at Electromate part time. Still at EG Controls, Everett Robinson is the longest running employee in company history.
Electromate grew rapidly with its business model of offering enclosures and finished electrical panels. Electromate had such success, they were running multiple shifts. Wendell retired leaving the business to Andy and Sam. In the mid 1970’s a fire broke out near the enclosure oven when some paint ignited. The fire wiped out the company’s controls division. They relocated to a larger facility on the southeast corner of Jacksonville near I-95 on Salisbury road.
The business continued to grow and acquired other small businesses to expand its basket of services to include electronic components. One business of note; Electrodata. The Electrodata system was a room availability monitoring system for hotels.
The panel shop was building a significant amount of pressure switch panels for lift stations during this time. Pressure switches in the late 70’s were significantly larger than today. If an industrial control panel used multiple pressure switches, a stainless-steel enclosure was massive, and very expensive. Andy saw an opportunity…
After working full days, Andy and Everett would work into the night developing a pump control system using a specialized and precise liquid column manometer. Andy had Everett create multiple drawings for a product that was later branded the Electrogage.
The Electrogage is one of Andy’s very noteworthy inventions and rapidly became a flagship product for the company. This new product improved reliability and accuracy. With new and better equipment, the redesign significantly reduced the size and costs of the control panel. The Electrogage was such a success, the City of Jacksonville standardized on them almost immediately.
The Electrogage continued to increase in popularity because of its intuitive operation and ease of use. Municipalities across the country standardized on the Electrogage.
Some additional EG products came about from the Electrogage. The Logic Chassis: A simplified, low voltage, customer focused duplex pump control board which made troubleshooting every easy. Then the ATC10 (Air Transfer Chassis) which was succeeded by the BAMS (Bubbler Air Monitoring System. Both the ATC10 and the BAMS used pneumatics offering a lower cost and simple way around some of the complications of intrinsically safe areas.
In 1989, Electromate split into an enclosure division and controls division. The controls division relocated to Phillips highway, staying under private ownership and incorporated as EG Pump Controls, Inc. doing business as EG Controls. The enclosure division was sold to Robroy and remained at the Salisbury road location. Then in 2003, Electromate changed ownership again from Robroy to Rittal.
The Electrogage had an Achilles heel; it required the electrical conductivity of Mercury to operate. With a growing awareness and desire to safeguard the environment, the use of Mercury was phased out. If a panel that used an Electrogage was damaged or decommissioned, special disposal of the Mercury was needed. Reacting to the change, Andy connected with a company that was focusing on software development that wanted sell off their electronic controller division. EG Controls acquired the MicroMAC and VariMAC electronic controllers. With a little reinvention, the Digi-Gage and Vari-Gage were created. The Digi-Gage was a pump controller that took information from floats, a bubbler or a transducer and controlled up to 6 across-the-line starters. The Digi-Gage was a gamechanger. It was hot swappable and so simple, anyone that invested a minute to get familiar, became a pro. The hot swappable feature was a winner for municipalities. If Digi-Gage had a failure, a replacement could be put in its place in under a minute without powering down the control panel! The Vari-Gage functioned like the Digi-Gage but included motor speed control for up to 3 variable frequency drives (VFDs).
Andy’s vision was “If something needed has not been invented, I must invent it. If something has already been invented, I must improve it!” Andy partnered with Cliff Ingram and started Ingram Products. Many of Andy’s inventions and parts for custom control panels were marketed and sold through Ingram Products. Ingram products continues to sell quality industrial controls to this day. In the mid 1990’s Andy sold his interests in EG Controls to become the president of Ingram Products. Andy passed away in 2014.
EG Controls continued to grow with addition of the Representative Network. EG Controls also adapted to the changes in the water industry over the following decades. Throughout the years, EG has embraced Andy’s entrepreneurial and inventive spirit by keeping its commitment to developing new products and services. EG strives to keep pace with the increasing demand for innovation and new technology.
The Electrogage has been replaced by the Electrogage ECO. The Logic Chassis and BAMS are still available by customer request. The Digi-Gage and Vari-Gage have been updated and are now touchscreens that can even be controlled with a smartphone. Dedication to product quality and customer responsiveness continues to be a top priority at EG Controls.
Today EG Controls designs and builds custom panels for virtually every industrial sector. EG continues to be a leader in the wastewater and controls industry. Serving all 50 states through representatives or direct contact, EG’s headquarters are conveniently located approximately 1 mile south from interstate 295 on the Phillips highway in Jacksonville, Florida.