Valtek Inc. saw an increase of $70 million in sales in 1988, hired 70 new people since July and has increased production by 33.6 percent.

Lawrence A. Haines, Valtek president and co-founder, said 1988 was the best year ever since the company started in 1966.Orders in 1988 were up 36.8 percent, which has caused the control-valve manufacturer's backlog of orders to increase.

The upswing in the world economy's is the big reason for the company's recent surge, which should continue for another few years, according to Haines. "At this point I can say we'll continue to rise the next two years for sure, the next three years probably and the next four years possibly."

Valtek gave its employees a year-end bonus, which when added to four quarterly bonuses throughout the year, equaled more than 6 percent for the year.

The bonuses were based on the company's ability to meet its goals. In 1988, the company set a goal to book $27.1 million in orders and to ship $27.8 million in products. Valtek exceeded its booking goal by $9.7 million and its shipping figure by $5.8 million.

Control-valve systems moderate the amount of a substance running through a pipe. Valtek has a major market with chemical companies.

Mark Vernon, the company's senior vice president of domestic sales, told the company's employees that the company is looking to bring sales to other industries in line with its sales to chemical companies. That way, if one industry begins to suffer, Valtek will have enough work with the other industries to pick up any slack.

Valtek is addressing the company's order backlog by instituting a cellular manufacturing program, based on Japanese manufacturing principles.

The cellular plan gives an employee all the machines necessary to manufacture an entire part. The benefits of the cellular plan, according to Haines, are improved quality, less time lost while parts wait for the next process and more pride in workmanship.

"We started this process because it's the right way to do things," said Les Schroeppel, vice president of quality. "This cuts out the problems associated with shared responsibility." There are shop audits, he said, but employees are primarily responsible for inspecting the parts they make.

Some areas of the manufacturing plant in Springville are still assembly-line oriented, but the company plans to expand the cellular process throughout the whole company, including office staff.

Domestically, Valtek is the No. 2 company in its industry.