Hi-Vac History

Hi-Vac Corporation was founded in 1969 and was based in the Chicago, Illinois area for approximately 20 years.

Originally named National Foundry Equipment International (“NFE International”), the company was formed to supply industrial vacuums for general housekeeping to the foundry industry. Prior to its introduction, plant cleanup was still being done by laborers with brooms, shovels, and wheelbarrows. The company developed the industrial vacuum cleaner which they called the “Hi-Vac”. This industrial vacuum was an entirely new concept in foundry housekeeping. With it, one person replaced an entire work crew. He could clean elevator pits, dust collectors, catwalks, conveyors, and operating equipment in minutes instead of hours.

Spills from conveyor breakdowns could be quickly picked up to allow immediate repairs. Many clean-up jobs could be done during regular working hours without costly overtime. Valuable materials could be vacuumed up and recycled. In short, the Hi-Vac industrial vacuum cleaner reduced the cost of foundry cleanup and, at the same time, substantially reduced the exposure of employees to noxious or harmful materials.

The problems of waste, spillage, and the need to recover reusable materials are common to many industries. Hi-Vac industrial vacuum cleaners were soon being put into service in cement plants, steel mills, shipyards, chemical plants and other bulk solids handling and processing facilities.

In September 1989, Mr. Rudolph John Lehman purchased Hi-Vac and relocated it to the Marietta Industrial Park in Marietta, Ohio. The move was completed by December 7, 1989.

In July of 1991, Hi-Vac Corporation purchased the assets of UltraVac, one of its competitors since 1968. The production was moved from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to the Marietta plant. The product line was folded in under one corporate name, Hi-Vac  Corporation.

In June 1999, Hi-Vac Corporation purchased Aquatech Inc. Aquatech had been in business since 1964 producing a complete line of sewer cleaning equipment. Upon acquisition, the Aquatech product line was moved from Twinsburg, Ohio, to Marietta, Ohio.

In April of 2001, Hi-Vac Corporation started a subsidiary in Beijing, China called Beijing Hi-Vac. Today, the Beijing operation produces a full line of Hi-Vac equipment and caters to the Asian market with a focus on China.Hi-Vac Corporation acquired O’Brien Manufacturing in 2006. As with the previous stateside acquisitions, the production was moved to Marietta. O’Brien has been making trailer mounted sewer cleaning equipment since 1945.