The old saying ‘you get what you pay for’ is eminently applicable across all facets of the road transport realm.
It is, for example, a well-known fact that spending more up-front on a top-quality product that gives a long, trouble-free service life can often be a more cost-effective option than choosing a cheaper alternative that doesn’t last the distance.
Over and above the price of the part, the resultant downtime of the vehicle can significantly compound the cost to a level that far exceeds the initial extra outlay for a premium component.
Sean Alcock, Mechanical Services Manager at FBT Transwest, is the first to admit that Fort Vale products are far from the least expensive in the marketplace. However, he maintains that over the 25- to 30-year period the company has been using them, the cost-effectiveness of the products remains undisputed.
“We continue to specify Fort Vale valves because they are built to last using high quality stainless-steel and PTFE (Teflon) sealing and wear parts,” Sean says.
“In addition, unlike some competitor products, the valves are fully serviceable using readily available and inexpensive Original Equipment Manufacturer repair kits which means the valves can effectively last for the life of the tanker, and beyond.
“In terms of value over the life of our vehicles, there is certainly no doubt in my mind that Fort Vale delivers.”
Fort Vale Engineering was established at Lancashire in the UK in 1967 by Ted Fort. The first component Ted made was a 2.5-inch cast iron valve for tankers delivering heating oil to residential properties.
The company grew quickly, relocating to larger premises in Lancashire in 1975 and significantly expanding its product range and workforce expertise.
In 1981 Fort Vale received its first Queen’s Award for Export Achievement, an honour that was subsequently repeated in 1986, 2008 and 2013.
In addition, in 1987, Fort Vale founder Ted Fort received an O.B.E. for services to industry.
The year 1982 saw the company’s first foray on foreign soil when Fort Vale Inc was established in Houston, Texas. Subsequent plant expansions included Netherlands in 1989, Moscow in 1995, Shanghai in 2002 and Singapore in 2006.
Finally, in 2017 Fort Vale Australia was established in Brisbane.
According to FBT Transwest’s Sean Alcock, the quality and serviceability of Fort Vale valves makes them a much better value proposition over the life of the vehicle than less costly unserviceable competitor products.