What's up with Hydraxtor Diaphragms?
The Hydraxtor extractor diaphragms are, in large part, victims of the reduced number of machines in the field.
In years past, sales of diaphragms numbered about 100 to 150 per month, a number that supported two vendors (ourselves and Ludell Manufacturing of Milwaukee, WI) comfortably. Within the past two decades, since the extractors themselves have been out of production, the sales of diaphragms have decreased to less than 30 per month, as more and more machines are removed from service. With reduced sales, the manufacturer that we (Tandem-Flow Systems) had used for years decided they no longer wanted to manufacture diaphragms.
While we were able to secure another source, the Environmental Protection Agency stepped in - it seems that one of the chemicals used in preparing the rubber for the mold over the previous 40 years was on one of their lists of "environmentally unfriendly" chemicals. As long as they were being made by Goodrich, the use of this chemical was grandfathered; the change of manufacturer, however, meant that the diaphragm rubber formula had to be revamped.
This revamped formula requires different curing times and temperatures than the original, and, on two batches produced in 1998, the curing was done incorrectly. Because of this, we stopped production of diaphragms until such time as the new manufacturer got the curing problems corrected. Since Ludell had diaphragms in stock, and had just received a fresh shipment when our problems occurred, the inconvenience to customers was minimul.
However, at Ludell, the decision had been made in early 1999 that the market was not large enough for two suppliers, so they did not reorder. And they ran out in late 1999.
By early 2000, our production was back up to where it should be, and all back orders had been filled. Due to the reduced market, however, we are not maintaining a large stock level, so shortages have occured.
Fast forward to the present. Our supplier, responding to an increase in the cost of rubber and the lack of volume on our part, hit us with another increase on the finished product. Therefore, effective January 1, 2007, we are raising the of the diaphragm to U.S. $680, F.O.B. Woodstock, IL, USA. This is, perhaps, the last time we will be ordering diaphragms, because the current stock has been extremely slow to move - approximately one per month.
Update 2012: All remaining diaphragms are in the hands of the manufacturer, Industrial Composites of Carol, PA. You will have to contact them regarding purchases.