Success under Pressure 1200 x 500
Cam Spray is a small but mighty family-owned company nestled in tiny Iowa Falls, Iowa, population 5,500. 

The company’s 43,000-square-foot facility is surrounded by farmland and industry, and who’s inside that facility is a testament to work done right: Average tenure among the 32 employees is 24 years.
President Jim Gillespie is plenty proud of it, too.

“In my 39 years here, there have been only two or three people who have left us for another job locally,” he said. “Otherwise, we just don’t lose anybody. We try to make sure people are taken care of so we don’t lose them.”
Success under Pressure CamSpray 334 x 186

The workaday life of those tight-knit employees revolves around the company’s lifeblood: pressure washers and sewer and drain jetters. Way back in the 1970s, the first Cam Spray product line consisted of two models of pressure washers producing three gallons per minute at 1,000 psi. Today, Cam Spray offers around 250 products, with about 50 of those products accounting for 80 percent of the company’s sales, Gillespie said.

Since 1971, Cam Spray has been building pressure washers and sewer and drain jetters for the commercial industry.

What are they?
A pressure washer is a machine that uses pressurized water to perform a wide range of cleaning, construction, and paint removal tasks. The power rating of a standard or commercial pressure washer is measured in pounds per square inch (psi), and the volume of dispensed water is expressed in either liters or gallons per minute.

Cam Spray offers pressure washers with a gamut of options. Buyers can choose a machine based on flow rate, hot or cold water, horsepower, fuel type, mounting type, voltage/amperage and more.
What’s the difference? Plenty, says Gillespie.

A hot water pressure washer needs power to drive the pump system, and buyers can choose between electric, gasoline and diesel fuel power.

Electric-powered hot water pressure washer motors are a very efficient way to power a pressure washer. The actual cost of operation varies by the horsepower of the motor, but compared to gas or diesel fuel, the electric motor is less expensive to operate. The average industrial motor can last two to three times longer than an engine and require less routine maintenance, according to the company’s website.

Gas-powered and diesel-powered hot water pressure washer engines keep you pressure washing wherever you need to get things clean. They will require periodic maintenance and daily checks of the crankcase oil level and air filter to perform at their best and provide longer, trouble-free service life.

There are some things to consider with gas-powered heated pressure washers. Gasoline engines are much more economical to purchase than industrial duty diesel engines. Cam Spray sells many more gas-powered hot water pressure washers than diesel-powered hot water pressure washers, possibly for that reason alone.

However, diesel engine models are purchased for good reasons: the equipment is operating eight to 10 hours a day, seven days a week, sometimes in critical applications. The United States military prefers to use the Hatz® air-cooled diesel on equipment as their first choice for those reasons. They depend on them to operate in the worst conditions, all day long, every day of the year. For that reason, Cam Spray uses only Hatz® diesel engines on its diesel-powered hot water pressure washers.

Cold  water pressure washers
Cam Spray’s large line of cold water pressure washers comes in a variety of styles: Hand carry, cart-mounted, wall-mounted, skid-mounted and trailer-mounted.

Cold water hand-held pressure washers are convenient to use and store in a small space when not in use. Cam Spray electric hand-held power washers are made with commercial and industrial motors that are designed for thousands of hours of use. The pumps feature replaceable seals and valves and are rated for up to a 2,500-hour life. These machines all weigh 50 pounds or more due to the use of industrial and commercial components.

Hand-held pressure washer features include an industrial motor that is totally enclosed and thermal-overload protected; the industrial triplex plunger pump with ceramic plungers and stainless-steel valves is protected by an unloader valve. Washers are equipped with low-pressure chemical injection for application of concentrated liquid detergents and are activated by a hi-low pressure adjustable nozzle on the trigger gun.

Drain and sewer jetters

A hydro jetter is a high-performance drain cleaning system that uses extremely high-pressured water to clear impediments in commercial drains, residential drains and larger sewage drains. Sewer jetters are comprised of an engine, pump, water tank, reel and length of hose with various attachments that can be used for several types of clogs. The length of operation use will depend on the size of the water tank and the amount of water that is used for the job. Drain jetters are usually mounted on the bed of a truck or are attached to a trailer and towed to each job site.

Cam Spray began producing drain and sewer jetting equipment in the early 1980s. During a partnership with a franchise drain-cleaning company, they worked on the idea of modifying a pressure washer system into a drain jetter.

Partnering with pump, hose and nozzle manufacturers, Cam Spray offered the first electric-powered sewer and drain jetters on the market. This has grown into a full line of hydro jetting machines for sewer pipe diameters up to 20 inches or more. 

Cam Spray’s compact, portable sewer and drain jetters can fit in the trunk of most cars for easy transport. Their larger trailer-mounted sewer jetters are designed to be pulled behind a vehicle. Van-, truck-, and skid-mounted drain and sewer jetters let customers bring commercial-grade cleaning power wherever it’s needed with the convenience and portability of a utility truck or enclosed van.

While all Cam Spray drain and sewer jetters are designed for use in commercial jobs, every application presents its own challenges, and the power level of a drain jetter is not a one-size-fits-all scenario. Underpowered equipment won’t do the job for tougher clogs or larger drain lines; an overpowered sewer jetter hose can be hard to navigate in smaller lines and can damage the drainage system. Cam Spray offers industrial sewer and drain jetters in a range of sizes and power levels. Whether the drain line is two inches or 20 inches, Cam Spray products can easily take on the toughest clogs.

“When I started, I was the first full-time employee,” Gillespie said. “When we emerged from the ’80s and the farm crisis, we got into the hotel/motel industry, and today, we cover so many markets, and that’s given us some long-term stability,"

 "We love to build cleaning equipment to specifically address a customer’s needs. We spend a lot of time on site visits, what applications they’ve got and what they want to accomplish.”

Looking ahead
Cam Spray isn’t about exponential growth and a big sale to a corporate hand . It’s just the opposite, Gillespie said.

“The market is a mature market, but I don’t think we’ve touched even the tip of customers we can help solve issues for. I think there’s a lot who don’t know what we bring to the table.

“We’ve always been a slow grow: If we see 8 to 10 percent growth in a year, that’s extreme for us. It’s always been that way – we’re not out to grow fast. Our growth potential is great, but we won’t grow so fast we can’t take care of our customers in a very good way. My father-in-law and his brother started the company, and we’ve got the third generation involved in the company now.”

Most of the folks who work at Cam Spray spend so much time together, they’re like a family, Gillespie said.

“Most people were walking beans  as kids or detasseling corn, so they know what work is, and they aren’t scared to work. We golf together, hunt and fish together, we’re always running into fellow employees at the soccer field or the gym.”

That’s the secret to Cam Spray’s success, he said.

“The whole key to the longevity of this company is close-knit employees over a long period of time. It’s the idea that we’re in business to provide jobs and sustainability for families,” he said. “We’ve been a successful company and so have had other companies want to know if we want to sell.

“We’ve seen that happen and the destruction that causes in a small town,” Gillespie said. “Our intent is not to build the company up to sell. There are families working here. It’s a family deal.”


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