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Innovation Experienced First-hand on an #EBIndustryTour


Innovation Experienced First-hand on an #EBIndustryTour

Author: Cieana Detloff, Reporting for the Pump Industry

Empowering Pumps & Equipment was recently welcomed by W.S. Darley & Co to tour their Itasca, Illinois-based facility. Upon entering the building, I was first greeted by beautiful statues honoring military and firefighters – two communities which Darley has supported since 1908. A family-owned business operating for four generations, Darley is truly powered by its people. 

One passionate person who explained the fascinating history of Darley and their deeply embedded culture of quality is Kevin Sofen, a self-proclaimed “water guy who loves technology and helping others”. His commitment to people is evident in the effort he puts in with his team at Darley’s Innovation Lab. 

#EBIndustryTourThis space is a designated area where the brilliant minds at Darley can think through the real needs of the various people and markets they serve. In the Innovation Lab, I learned about several solutions they have developed – from drones and boxed water to ozone atomizing equipment for personnel decontamination and filtered drinking water solutions that could be added to fire trucks to hydrate evacuees and first responders (this is still in the testing and product development phase, as you can see in the picture where Kevin is holding the latest prototype).  

Innovation is not limited to the lab – it was just as tangible to see in Darley’s lower level where I had the pleasure of sitting in one of the first Darley fire engines – which came into existence when Mr. Darley had the audacity to put a Barton pump on a Ford chassis!


Can you believe this sold for only $690?! Back in the day!


Ingenuity continued to be demonstrated with a walkthrough of how Darley provides virtual reality training for fire fighters, educates the public with 360-degree viewers, distributes dewatering equipment for flooded areas as well as award-winning, self-contained fire sprinkler systems for disaster relief. The Darley Tank and Pump Systems (shown below) are manufactured to NFPA 13D standards and include a 300 gallon water tank, Darley 2 HP 230 volt pump rated at 30 gpm @ 52 psi, and a high tech pump control panel.

Learning how Darley pump systems support people who are forced to live in temporary manufactured housing units was an eye-opening experience and a reminder that people are why we need pumps. Much like a pump is the heart of a system, people are at the heart of finding solutions to drive us forward. It was refreshing to meet a company and the people within who are innovating to make our current problems a thing of the past. 

We invite you to learn more about W.S. Darley & Co. and the many solutions they offer. They also educate people with Pump School –  a 3-day class that teaches participants pump theory and hands-on maintenance and repair of Darley Pumps and accessories. Engage with them online through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

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