Harris Products Mourns Passing of Loren Smith

Former senior project engineer Loren Charles Smith, holder of six patents and developer of the one-piece encapsulated seat, passed away at the age of 88.

In the gas apparatus world, Loren Charles Smith was a well-respected innovator. The industry, and particularly The Harris Products Group (Mason, OH), is honoring his legacy and celebrating his life. He passed away June 25 in Gainesville, GA, at the age of 88.

Smith was one of those fortunate men who loved his work. His engineering career spanned over six decades and he continued to work until age 83. He worked at Harris from 1991 to 2012 as a senior project engineer in the Gainesville facility.

According to Randy Edenfield, the director of North American product development at Harris, the company is mourning his loss and felt it was important to take a moment to recognize his accomplishments. He explained how Smith helped shape the industry throughout his career.

“I never met anyone who loved his work as much as he did. I never met anyone who loved gas apparatus as much as he did. Loren Smith was a mentor to everyone he came into contact with,” said Edenfield.

Smith’s career with The Harris Products Group was actually a second act in his life. He officially retired from another company before joining Harris at age 65. He actively worked and consulted with Harris until 2012. His most recent efforts involved collaboration with the Harris marketing team to share his knowledge and insights with Harris customers.

“We will all deeply miss Loren,” said Ira Vea Bennett, the director of marketing for Harris. “He was instrumental in helping Harris achieve success in research and development and he was a leader in the industry. On a personal level, he was a pleasure to work with.”

Smith developed one of the signature innovations that to this day set Harris regulators apart from the competition – the one-piece encapsulated seat, This product innovation is used in every Harris regulator worldwide, and significantly improves safety by:

  •  Allowing the regulator and its seat to be pretested in sub-assembly and retested in assembly
  •  Protecting the regulator body from debris
  •  Offering  the best filtration system available in a regulator

The company uses the encapsulated seat in all regulators, from the least expensive shielding gas regulator to the highest purity specialty gas regulator.

Smith also played a key role in the development of the company’s new signature gas regulation product, The Perfect FlameTM, a system of flame control that creates the perfect oxyfuel flame for brazing.

Well-known throughout an industry where he served 20 years on the Compressed Gas Association (CGA), Smith was a key contributor to the critical CGA E4 standard. This standard specifies requirements for regulators used with compressed gases to reduce the supply pressure from a storage cylinder, pipeline, or other source to the use pressure.

“Loren was a quiet, gentle person. When he had a suggestion, we listened. He was the most respected and knowledgeable expert I have known. We were privileged to work with him,” said Edenfield. He noted that one of Smith’s greatest joys was mentoring young engineers. “Many of our engineers are better because of the time they spent with Loren.”

Smith held six patents and developed these key products while at Harris:

  •  Pro Series line of Harris torches and cutting attachments
  •  Model 750 dome-load regulators
  •  Model 705, a 2-stage heated CO2 regulator
  •  Model 8700 high-pressure delivery regulator with self-relieving feature
  •  Model 9200 and 3500 series 2-stage and single-stage regulators

“Loren was always a team player and mentor. He will be missed by all of us here – and throughout the industry,” Edenfield said. “I will fondly remember him for his skill and critical thinking, as well as for his love of a good cigar.”