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Hot or cold, the climate’s been good for 25 years at Julabo

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PHOTO/BRIAN PEDERSEN
A look inside the manufacturing space at Julabo USA, which contains many heating and cooling devices.
PHOTO/BRIAN PEDERSEN A look inside the manufacturing space at Julabo USA, which contains many heating and cooling devices.

Nearly every industry relies on temperature control systems to function properly.

To that end, Julabo has been quietly “heating things up and cooling things down” by making temperature control products since 1967.

Based in Germany, Julabo this summer marks the 25th anniversary for its U.S. headquarters operations in the Greater Lehigh Valley, Julabo USA.

With the company’s global 50-year anniversary last year and this year’s U.S. quarter-century milestone, the company is gaining attention after keeping a low profile over the years. It began on the premise of making temperature control devices that serve reactors for chemical and pharmaceutical production.

“There’s really no industry that doesn’t need temperature control,” said Dirk Frese, director of sales, marketing and service at Julabo.

The company name is an amalgamation of the family name Juchheim (the founder is Gerhard Juchheim) and “labo” for laboratory, he said.

Julabo eventually set up subsidiaries across the globe. The U.S. facility, which opened in 1993, mainly sells German-made products but also has manufacturing capabilities to address local needs.

TESTING BY NASA

At its U.S. headquarters in Hanover Township, Lehigh County, Julabo conducts research, development and production and ships its products from a warehouse a few doors down.

Today, the company makes temperature control devices for everything from food production and cosmetics to material testing processes for NASA.

As Frese explained, astronauts are looking for water on the moon, with the intention of using the moon as a gas station in the future to launch spacecraft from the moon – and they need temperature control devices to achieve that.

“You need temperature control even in printing to pre-heat toners,” Frese said.

USE IN CANNABIS INDUSTRY

Julabo’s products also serve the automotive industry with battery testing, and the company sees a big demand from the cannabis industry with recently relaxed laws.

“Overnight came this demand from the cannabis industry that we weren’t prepared for,” Frese said. The company can’t keep up with the demand, he added.

Mark Diener, product manager for Julabo, said companies in the cannabis industry use Julabo’s products to extract unwanted components through distillation, or they can also isolate the THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), a chemical compound in cannabis. On the medicinal side, it can provide pain relief, he added.

“All of these processes need heating and cooling in the piece of equipment,” Diener said.

‘NEVER ANTICIPATED THIS’

Julabo has many relationships with companies that sell these products, and one of their devices could have six of Julabo’s products on it, Diener said.

“We never anticipated this,” Diener said. “Everything has to be grown and extracted within state borders.”

Though it’s a growing industry now, if every state legalizes marijuana use, it will reach a saturation point, he added.

FOOD SAFETY

The restaurant industry relies heavily on temperature control products to keep food heated properly and safely.

Chefs often put food in vacuum-sealed bags and use Julabo’s devices that have two circulators sitting in a tub of water to determine the safety of food and prevent overcooking. It’s often how chefs can simultaneously cook one steak medium rare and another at a different temperature.

Frese said the product is very consistent and has a date and time printed on the bag for food-safety purposes. Many restaurants in the Greater Lehigh Valley use it, he said.

ROOM TO GROW

The Greater Lehigh Valley site is Julabo’s only U.S. facility. Julabo sales reps work remotely, scattered across the nation, Frese said.

It began in the U.S. on Roble Road in Hanover Township, Lehigh County, before moving to Marcon Boulevard.

Julabo bought its building on Marcon Boulevard in 2011.

It also bought some of the surrounding land and could expand if needed, Frese said.

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