Tulsa-based Zeeco marks 45 years in business


If you’re taking a sip from a plastic water bottle, flipping though apps on your iPhone or even taking Advil for mild pain, you’ve likely got the work of a little-known Tulsa company in your hands.

“It’s not very sexy, but what we do is a pretty important part for consumers all over the world,” said Darton Zink, president and CEO of Zeeco, one of the metro’s largest employers.

Zeeco has the world’s largest combustion research and test facility, and a manufacturing facility on a 250-acre campus at its Global Technology Center in Broken Arrow.

Zeeco, which has become a global leader in designing and manufacturing advanced combustion and emissions reduction technologies, is marking 45 years.

“A lot of people don’t understand who we are in the Tulsa community because most of the products that we make go into industrial facilities and they go outside Tulsa, outside the U.S. …,” Zink said.

“Our products are used to manufacture all kinds of products that you have today — plastic water bottles couldn’t be made without Zeeco burners in the industrial facility that makes plastics,” he said.

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“Your iPhone case was very likely — the raw material for it — was made in a facility that used our equipment.”

Zink said that most any kind of fuel, plastic, or pharmaceutical product may have Zeeco fingerprints on it.

“The largest plant that makes Advil has the heat supplied by our equipment,” he said.

One of Zeeco’s main products is burner technologies.

“It’s like the burner that would be on your stove, except thousands of times bigger and it goes into a huge industrial process,” Zink said.

Flames shoot into the air at Zeeco’s research and test facility in Broken Arrow.

“At our core, we’re an engineering company that custom-engineers and provides environmental solutions for industrial customers (and) industrial plants that have combustion as part of their process.”

Founded by Jack Zink in a small machine shop in north Tulsa in 1979, Zeeco operates more than 30 locations around the world and employs more than 2,500 people, including more than 700 in the Tulsa metro.

It has the world’s largest combustion research and test facility, and a manufacturing facility on a 250-acre campus at its Global Technology Center in Broken Arrow.

A Zeeco employee works on equipment at its manufacturing facility in Broken Arrow.

Zeeco also about a year ago purchased the 133,000-square-foot former U.S. Cellular building just south of the Broken Arrow Expressway on the west side of Garnett Road.

The company is still in the process of renovating that building and moving employees into the location, where a 45th anniversary event with food and drink for employees and their families was held last week.

The company has previously announced anticipated growth in local employment, and the expanded headquarters provides the necessary room to support additional hiring, officials said.

Zeeco recently announced a strategic alliance with ExxonMobil for industrial process burners that can fire 100% hydrogen as a fuel and don’t require cost-prohibitive changes to furnaces.

Hydrogen is emerging as a low-emission fuel because there are no carbon dioxide emissions at the point of combustion, making it ideal for replacing higher emission fuels.

“We can take that process from being something that is an emitter of carbon to switching to 100% hydrogen, and your carbon emissions go to zero,” Zink said. “This is a big technological change.

Zeeco has the world’s largest combustion research and test facility, and a manufacturing facility on a 250-acre campus at its Global Technology Center in Broken Arrow.

“We have developed and patented technology that will allow a customer to go from a conventional fuel to a hydrogen fuel inside their facility.”

Zeeco products and solutions include burners used in boilers for steam and electricity, flare systems, thermal oxidizers, vapor control, rentals, global field services and combustion electronics.

Zink, who has been CEO of Zeeco nearly 24 years, attributes the company’s success to its customers, business partners, and its thousands of employees.

A Zeeco employee works at the company’s facility in Broken Arrow.

“The trust and support of our customers and business partners have allowed us to develop equipment and services that are helping our customers around the world operate safely, control emissions, and decarbonize their operations,” he said.

“The talent, expertise, and dedication of Zeeco’s people is truly remarkable. They are a unique group of people who show up, give their best every day, and do everything they can to solve problems for our customers.”

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Patrick Prince


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