Industrial Process News is proud to announce that Watlow® has been selected as the recipient of our Thermal Solutions Company of the Year Award.
Founded in 1922 by Louis Desloge Sr., Watlow strives to be the leading provider of thermal solutions for the world’s most demanding applications. Watlow has grown significantly since its inception, in both its product capability and market experience and boasts a global reach to over 1000 patents, with 12 manufacturing facilities and three technology centres in the U.S., Mexico, Europe and Asia.
“Watlow is a global company with almost 100 years of experience solving the toughest thermal challenges. With long design and product life cycles in this market and increasing decentralization of design and manufacturing activities, customers must be confident suppliers can support them now, and in the future, wherever they need it.” Stated Johann Lainer, Senior Marketing Communications Specialist.
With over 2,200 team members across the world, Watlow is a global provider of industrial heaters, temperature sensors, temperature and power controllers and supporting software for a range of industries, including semiconductor processing, environmental chambers, energy and environmental technologies, diesel emissions and medical and analytical equipment.
“Our broad experience spans across many applications and allows us to solve challenging thermal problems. We leverage our experience to solve new challenges and we also have a broad standard product offering to enable rapid prototyping and fast cycles of learning. Johann continued, “We take a systems view versus trying to optimize just one component. Customers come to Watlow because we understand the regulatory environment, they must operate in. For example, when talking to a new customer, we do not ask what type of heater, sensor or controller they are interested in. Instead, we first explore their strategy for dealing with challenges at the device level.”
Designing and manufacturing all the components of a thermal system, Watlow partners with its customers to optimize their thermal performance, decrease design time and improve the efficiency of their customer’s products and applications. Utilizing its advanced technology, leading companies apply Watlow’s thermal systems, which are ideally suited for vital applications such as clean and environmentally friendly energy systems and processes, front-end semiconductor processing and lifesaving medical and clinical equipment.
A recent example of how Watlow supported a leading medical device company was through a global technology summit to share its advanced capabilities and jointly discuss technology roadmaps. This event happened simultaneously across two locations in Europe, two in the U.S. and one in Asia. Watlow had in-person representation to answer technical questions as well as product demonstrations in all five locations. The company’s global footprint and sales channel enable the company to support its customers, wherever they are located.
A couple of noteworthy recent developments for the company, in February, Watlow signed an agreement to sell to Tinicum L.P. The transaction with Tinicum will preserve Watlow’s legacy while accelerating investments to support growth with its global customers including international expansion, key technology advancements driven by Industry 4.0, the addition of strategic products and capabilities through acquisitions and enhancement of operating capabilities and capacity. The agreement was finalized at the beginning of March. Another development for Watlow is the product launch for its energy and environmental technologies business unit, the launch of its HELIMAX™ heat exchanger with Continuous Helical Flow Technology™.
Johann expanded, “The HELIMAX is an outstanding product that improves heat transfer, reduces carbon emissions and increases uptime as it avoids frequent maintenance intervals because of coking/fouling.”
He continued, “We also launched the PM LEGACY™, which is the first 1/32 DIN panel mount controller on the market to incorporate Bluetooth® wireless technology. We have a FLUENT® heater with thermal spray technology, which provides on-demand heating in a small package, the ULTRAMIC® advanced ceramic heater, silicone rubber heaters, etc.”
Through the unprecedented circumstances of last year regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, many industries have been adversely affected and faced new challenges adapting to work-from-home, furlough and lockdowns. Like many others, Watlow has also faced challenges during the pandemic and many of its team members are still working remotely.
As for its production staff, Watlow has established the highest safety standards. Despite these challenges, Watlow was able to acquire CRC, Inc. of Santa Clara, CA, USA, which is great support for its semiconductor business. Using this time to evaluate and grow, Watlow also went through some organisational changes and has gained a new strong partnership with Tinicum.
Johann expanded on some further developments for Watlow since the COVID-19 pandemic, “Several Watlow products have been used to help during the pandemic. For example, a medical device manufacturer is using our ULTRAMIC advanced ceramic heaters in a product that treats COVID-19 patients. This treatment is proving effective to keep people off mechanical ventilators and helping them recover faster. Watlow had an amazing year and we beat many of our existing sales records. We are proud to say we outperformed our forecast. “
In terms of the company’s plans, Watlow is determined to continue its great work with existing and potential customers but will also leverage its capabilities in new areas like Industry 4.0. Johann explained, “This is crucial for our journey to an industrial technology company. The semiconductor industry, medical/clinical/analytical, controllers as well as energy and environmental technologies, including medium voltage and energy storage, are our strategic focus in the future.” Indeed, Watlow’s commitment to consistent growth and development is a pinnacle focus for the company, and we look forward to seeing what the next 12 months will bring them.
Lastly, we asked Johann about how the company felt upon receiving our award, he told us that, “It is a great honour to be selected as the Company of the Year from Industrial Process News. We appreciate this award and will continue our work in Europe, Asia and the U.S.”
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