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Business As Usual: Sealevel Continues to Expand in Slow Economy

Author: Earle Foster
Date: 02/15/2011
Contact E-mail: earlef@sealevel.com

Gina Tigue and Robert Klauser assemble docking stations
Gina Tigue and Robert Klauser assemble docking stations
  • Major expansion to Liberty headquarters allows space for future operations and additional warehouse areas
  • Growing demand for customized solutions a key area of growth
  • Chosen by two leading military contractors to design, manufacture and supply equipment for DoD projects

For the past 25 years, Sealevel Systems, Inc. has overcome whatever obstacles the economy has thrown its way. While many companies were hit hard in 2010, Sealevel continued to expand its facility, its workforce and its customer base. As the company heads into 2011, its goal remains the same – to produce the best-quality products possible while maintaining the highest standards of customer service before and after the sale.

Sealevel houses its design, sales, support and manufacturing in a 48,000 square foot facility located in Liberty, South Carolina. In 2010, the company worked with Creative Builders LLC (Greenville, SC) on a major expansion to allow space for future operations and additional warehouse areas. To prevent static electricity damage to electronic equipment, Sealevel installed over 15,000 sq. ft. of state-of-the-art electrostatic discharge (ESD) tiling, and 5,000 sq. ft. of warehouse space was converted to manufacturing and office space.

(Watch our time-lapse construction video)

The company also upgraded its high-tech, in-house equipment to guarantee top-quality products. From assembly to environmental testing, the goal of the manufacturing process is to maintain the highest standard of quality.

“Because our products are designed and manufactured at our headquarters in Liberty, we have direct control over product development, production, burn-in and testing,” said Ben O’Hanlan, Sealevel’s chief operating officer. ”By maintaining a state-of-the-art facility, we can ensure our customers receive the highest quality products and services.”

An innovative part of Sealevel’s quality process is its in-house environmental stress screening (ESS) procedures. Developed for products that require the highest reliability, ESS can accelerate defects that may otherwise not be detected until a field failure occurs. Utilizing thermal cycling and vibration testing, latent defects such as cold solder joints, loose fasteners, or poor wire crimps can be identified and addressed early on in the manufacturing process.

Custom Product Development is Key

The expanded facilities and equipment were necessitated by a growing demand for customized solutions. The company works with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) through all aspects of the design, manufacturing, testing and integration of custom product development to ensure the final product is a perfect fit for the application.

“Our engineers work relentlessly to find innovative ways to make our products faster, more reliable, and more powerful. Our goal is to help our customers get their products to market faster,” noted O’Hanlan. “Hardware is worthless without software drivers, installation tools, and debug and demo programs. Installing a device and then verifying that it works properly is a necessity and needs to be done before the application runs.”

During 2010, the company was chosen by two leading military contractors to design, manufacture and supply equipment for Department of Defense projects. The first of these projects includes designing and manufacturing docking stations for ruggedized laptop computers used by the U.S. military for diagnostics and maintenance of vehicles and aircraft. The docking stations can operate under extreme conditions including extended temperatures, rain, sand and dust.

In addition, Sealevel was chosen to supply electronic equipment to a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, homeland security and other government markets throughout the world as part of its new modernization effort for the company’s Patriot air and missile defense system. Sealevel’s product was chosen based on its functional specifications and the contractor’s desire to buy a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) product.

An important part of Sealevel’s success in military applications is the ability to certify that product designs comply with demanding technical specifications. In particular, the company’s relationship with Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Excellence (CU-ICAR) has been extremely beneficial for conducting testing for electromagnetic interference (EMI) to ensure products will not interfere with other equipment in use nearby. The advanced, highly accurate instruments available through CU-ICAR allow this testing to be done quickly to support rapid product development.

ABOUT SEALEVEL SYSTEMS, INC.

Sealevel Systems, founded in 1986, provides industrial computing solutions in addition to a variety of communications and I/O products including PCI Express and PCI Bus cards, Ethernet serial servers, and USB serial adapters. The product line includes multi-port RS-232, RS-422/485, RS-232/422/485 multi-interface high-speed sync/async, and digital/relay I/O. For more information visit www.sealevel.com or call 864-843-4343.

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