Zebra focuses on three main market categories that parallel its divisional makeup, but in many cases our divisions cut across these markets. We also focus on extremely specific markets, such that our typical customer can be described to a high level of detail within each of the general categories.
Our largest general category is that of the consumer market, and given the global nature of our business the potential market approaches that of the world's population. Within this great scope, we have differentiated several highly specific segments with sophisticated products.
For instance, our newest hand and limb lotion brand, Sequin, uses advanced chemical technology to address chronic eczema problems arising in people with a specific skin morphology. Its greaseless waterless formula allows it to resist washing and sweating, giving it a long-lasting properties needed by both older adults and children.
The Uncle Earl brand, primarily sold through another division, has been tailored to address the unique needs of modern machinists. Dealing with oily fluids and greasy parts gets their hands thoroughly dirty. Unlike machinists of old, a modern metal maker must quickly adapt to working with a sophisticated computer, handle parts with sub-micron tolerances, and shake a prospective customer's hand. It's not uncommon for a modern machinist to wash their hands 5 or more times every day. Using an abrasive soap invented 100 years ago is no longer an option, because it quickly wears the skin off – and eczema is the result. Our Uncle Earl formulation has no abrasives, has extra strong oil removing components, and most importantly, has a large amount of lotion built right in. It's not for anyone, and it's not for washing your hair or face – hands and arms only. In fact, it's the only soap we know of that has specific drying instructions.
The second largest market category we address is that of the Industrial and Environmental markets. Within this broad scope is government agencies, military bases, food processing plants, transportation centers and ports, utilities, warehouse facilities, and more. Several examples of equipment designed for these markets include specialized devices designed to eliminate or reduce contaminants in the waste stream.
Many large facilities use air compressors to power equipment, move material, or act as extremely safe power transmission vectors in highly explosive environments. These compressors are designed to take normal air at atmospheric pressures and squeeze it until it occupies less than 1/100 of it's normal size. This compression releases the humidity, causing it to 'rain' within the compressor. On a periodic basis, this collected rain is released to a sewer so that the compressor avoids damage. In the process of raining within the compressor, leaking oil is collecting as well. Discharging oil into the environment is no longer as acceptable as it once was, so some device is needed to intercept the oils. Expensive devices have been available for some time, but our device, the F15AC, is able to remove virtually all the free oil for less than half the price of the competition. At the same time, the device has been made of components that last years, if not decades. It is self powered, can run unattended for months at a time, and occupies a minimum of floor space.
Another product designed for this market is our portable evaporator, the TMN06. This revolutionary device turns the concept of bulk water evaporation on its head; instead of putting waste water streams into a large hot pot, we put the evaporator element into the waste stream. This allows us a greater efficiency in packaging and electrical usage, such that we are able to deliver a product for less than a 1/3 of the price of the smallest hot pot device. This effectively lowers the time to payback for a small waste generator to well within a year. It also allows those who generate less than 100 gallons (378 L) of waste water per week to justify reducing their waste stream by as much as 90%.
Our third market segment is also our oldest and best defined, it is that of the industrial machinist. We have worked closely with thousands of machinists through the years, learning much about their needs and habits. Many of the core products within the Zebra Skimmers Metalworking Division were inspired by, and in some case created by, our own customers. Though his makeup may change depending on where he lives throughout the world, he has certain personality traits that are universal. We know him, we know his likes and dislikes, and we cater to those through our products.
The most successful of those is our Sidewinder brand tube skimmer. A mechanical pump, the Sidewinder is designed to lift oils from water any distance. The oils can then be fed to a waste receptacle via gravity. The unique features of Sidewinder allow it to be installed in the toughest areas within minutes, and its small diameter tube enables it to navigate corners as it lifts oil from machine sumps.
Another successful product is what we call the odor control tablets. A good example of how our scientific approach to our customer's problems applies not only to products that we invent, but also to products developed elsewhere. In this case, customers indicated that they liked the product, but did not fully understand its functions. Using modern chemical and biological investigating tools, we were able to not only able to understand the biochemical methods by which the product worked, but also managed to improve upon the formula. This simple tablet, a product that had been used by early machinists over 100 years earlier, was in fact a method of confusing microbes that interfered with machining fluids. Safe as salt, yet sophisticated enough to slow the reproduction of microbes to a manageable level. As a result, we have become the world's largest supplier of these tablets to the machine shop market.