Bill Van Zante founded Ring-O-Matic in 1960 as a general machining and manufacturing company. Bill grew up on a farm outside of Pella, Iowa. Because he would often encounter problems that made his farmwork difficult, Bill quickly became adept at creating solutions to make his job easier. Bill wanted others to also benefit from his ideas, so he handed his farming duties to other family members and focused on starting a manufacturing business to design and build products to solve problems. Bill would take on a wide variety of work, ranging from building out production lines for other manufacturing companies, creating cement trowels, and OEM or purpose-built special products in manufacturing for other larger companies without the appropriate experience, design capability or skill set.
The name Ring-O-Matic comes from one of Bill’s early inventions, an automated hog ringer. Other, more lucrative inventions were pursued ahead of the hog ringer, but the name stuck and is still associated with excellence and proven performance. Bill understood the challenges of inventing and product development.
“Being an inventor requires, primarily, a world of patience. You can wake up in the middle of the night with a wonderful idea - and the clear light of the morning shows it up as impractical. You keep experimenting, changing, testing.” Founder Bill Van Zante
Some of Ring-O-Matic’s earliest products were a Hog Catcher, a tool used by farmers and veterinarians in ringing and vaccination procedures, and a Uni-Digger, a corkscrew-type posthole digger that could be attached to any type of tractor with a remote-controlled cylinder.
Ring-O-Matic introduced its line of Car Wash Pit Cleaner machines in 1968. These machines allowed the operator to easily and efficiently clean out collection pit sediment in car wash bays. Ring-O-Matic’s Pit Cleaners have become the car wash industry standard.
Ring-O-Matic continued to develop with evolving needs. A quote from Bill says, “We started out as a small company, but through the years have grown with the product demands. We will continue to grow and will need men and new ideas to grow with us.” Through the 1970’s, clamshell pit cleaner model options expanded, and the first vacuum pit cleaner was introduced in 1980.
In 1996, Ring-O-Matic introduced its largest product line, industrial Vacuum Excavation and Vac Only machines. These are widely used by contractors for general construction site cleanup and for potholing (hydro excavation digging) to locate underground utilities. After a 50-year run of success, Bill sold the business to Bob Zylstra at the end of 2010.
Bob brought a vast array of operational experience to the company and developed new product enhancements and product offerings to both the utility construction market and car wash industry. New dealerships partnered with Ring-O-Matic, and the company expanded further. In 2015 Brian Metcalf joined the company. Brian brought significant expertise in the market and continued to build upon the expansion started by Bob Zylstra.
In December of 2017, Brian Metcalf purchased the business and continued to expand the company’s distribution, sales and marketing efforts to include going direct with key customers and new dealers across North America and in some International markets. In addition, investments were made in the manufacturing plant and in equipment to support growth and improved quality and efficiencies in operations. The company made significant investments in talent acquisition across all aspects of the company including production, engineering, sales and administration.
Ring-O-Matic products still reflect the creativity of its founder Bill Van Zante, who was always looking for better ways to get the job completed not only with quality, but with efficiency. His mechanical genius led Ring-O-Matic to many industry firsts, including: low-profile, load balanced, trailer mounted vacuum excavation machines, pressurized collection tank off-loading, a pneumatic load-breaker to break up sediment in the collection tank, and the Viper Pothole Tool.
Ring-O-Matic is committed to making the best vacuum excavation equipment and pit-cleaners in the world, providing value along with superb service to our customers while continuing to earn our reputation as the industry’s leading innovator.
Bill Van Zante, Founder and Owner 1960-2010 Bob Zylstra, Owner 2010-2017 Brian Metcalf, Owner 2017-Current
Owner Brian Metcalf with Founder Bill Van Zante