Pfaudler Incorporated is a manufacturer of glass-lined tanks used in the food, beverage, chemical and pharmaceutical industries. Pfaudler was established in 1884, by brewer Casper Pfaudler as the Pfaudler Vacuum Fermentation Process Company. Casper Pfaudler wanted to accelerate the fermentation process through the application of a vacuum. Pfaudler failed at this undertaking, but his glass-lined steel tanks became popular with beer brewers.
In 1903, Pfaudler constructed a plant on West Avenue in Rochester, New York, in order to manufacture glass-lined tanks for various industrial applications. Beginning in the 1950s through the 1990s, Pfaudler went through a series of mergers and acquisitions. The company is now known as Pfaudler Reactor Systems, and it is a division of the Process Solutions Group of Robbins & Myers, Incorporated. Pfaudler maintains its headquarters and main production facilities at the West Avenue location.
Asbestos was used in the manufacturing process and as an insulation material at Pfaudler up until the late 1970s. Asbestos was incorporated into castable refractory cement, asbestos blankets and gaskets. Asbestos-containing fireproof insulation was also applied to the plant’s structural steel. Retirees and senior workers who worked at Pfaudler in Rochester, New York, are at the greatest risk for developing an asbestos-related disease, such as mesothelioma or lung cancer.
Castable refractory cement contained asbestos, and it was cast into bricks for use in furnaces. At Pfaudler, furnaces were used to bake glass linings on the inside of tanks. Because of the high temperatures created in these furnaces, the brick lining deteriorated and required frequent repair. Asbestos-containing refractory cement was utilized to repair these brick linings. The refractory cement was manufactured as a dry powder, mixed with water to form a paste and applied to the interior of the furnace. Pouring and mixing the dry cement mix released asbestos fibers into the air, which workers subsequently inhaled.
At Pfaudler, asbestos blankets were used to serve as insulation between the glass-lined tanks and the stainless steel shell that surrounded the outside of the tanks. This blanket material was manufactured as one-half inch thick, four-foot by eight-foot sheets. Workers cut the blanket material to fit any irregularly shaped areas. Handling and cutting asbestos blanket material emitted asbestos fibers and dust into the air.
Pipes associated with the glass-lined tanks at Pfaudler contained gaskets composed of asbestos. These gaskets required regular replacement. Workers at Pfaudler fabricated gaskets from sheets of asbestos-containing gasket material. Cutting and removing asbestos-containing gaskets also emitted asbestos dust into the air.
Contractors who performed repairs and upgrades at Pfaudler worked in close proximity to asbestos-containing fireproof insulation. Fireproof insulation was a mixture of asbestos, cement and waste from linen mills. It was applied to structural steel to protect the steel from high temperatures or fire damage. In order to gain access to the structural steel, carpenters, electricians, pipefitters, sheet metal workers and other contractors routinely disturbed the insulation after it was applied. When workers disturbed the insulation, asbestos fibers were emitted into the air.
Our clients understand the importance of securing legal representation as soon as possible after a diagnosis of mesothelioma. If you or a loved one once worked at Pfaudler and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease, we urge you to contact us regarding your legal rights.