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December 4, 2009

International Cryogenics: a Brief History

Cold Facts, Spring 2009

The history of International Cryogenics is entwined with the origin of other Indiana companies in the cryogenic manufacturing world. The company has an interesting past and is looking forward to a very active future in this industry.

An interview with President Donna Jung gave us insight into the evolution of International Cryogenics, which was founded by her late father, Rex Leonard, on November 5, 1980.

Leonard was a Special Project Engineer in charge of the cryophysics group for Union Carbide Corp., Linde Division, from 1962-1966, engaged in the manufacture and design of custom cryogenic equipment. From 1966-1980, he was the Founder, President and General Manager of Cryogenic Associates. In July 1972, Cryogenic Associates merged with Beatrice Foods for the development of the Liberator/Stroller for home oxygen use (Leonard’s invention and patent). The company grew to sales of over $10 million, had coast-to-coast service centers and employed more than 100.

In late 1980 when it was clear that Cryogenic Associates would be abandoning the custom cryogenic work and full concentration would be on the oxygen home health market, Leonard decided to follow his passion for custom cryogenic design and manufacturing by founding a new company, International Cryogenics, Inc.

Two other Indiana-based companies were formed from International Cryogenics — Precision Cryogenics and Technifab Products.

Donna Jung, Rex’s daughter, joined the company in 1981 after completing her college degree in Marketing and Finance. Her father made sure she learned every inch of the business, testing her talent. She began by handling the finances, then took on further responsibilities of Buyer, becoming Product Manager as well in the mid-1980s, and Vice President in the early 1990s. When her father passed away in 2002, she was ready to assume the Presidency.

Over the years she has built the company to its present strength, at first conscious that she was often one of the few women in the industry. She has valued the trust and support she received from her fellow “Cryo Mafia” colleagues, a group of suppliers — many of them also second-generation company presidents — who often cooperate, refer business to one another and socialize at the various conferences, who were kind to her and grew to respect her knowledge and business sense.

International Cryogenics started out providing design engineering and manufacturing for custom cryogenic applications such as beryllium filter dewars (so-called “banjo” dewars), infrared detector dewars and NMR dewars, liquid helium transfer equipment and magnet systems — all open filled cryostats.

IC’s custom product line includes custom aluminum cryostats with fiberglass necks as well as cryostats fabricated from stainless steel.

Other interesting products are the company’s optical cryostats, and LN2 cold trap reservoirs (so-called “chicken feeders”), as well as bucket or belly style helium research dewars which are also used for magnets. IC also manufactures helium liquefying dewars for superconducting gravity meters. These units have been installed from the Himalayas to African mountain tops.

Another product line is Inventory Racking Systems, designated the Director Series.

Transfer lines for liquid helium and nitrogen, all stainless steel, rigid or flexible, are a specialty. IC is a major supplier of transfer lines for MRI and research worldwide.

The company does business with all the national laboratories and with a large number of universities with PhD departments of physics or chemistry. Customers include NASA and others in the space industry, as well as nuclear accelerator operations.

In the late 1980s, IC developed liquid helium transport storage containers, which are available in 30, 60, 100, 250 and 500 liter sizes. These are available standard or with modifications such as larger neck openings or with absolute pressure relief valves for air transport. They feature permanently fixed braking casters for safety and convenience.

International Cryogenics produces LN2 cryobiological refrigerators, dewars, LN2 inventory racking systems and vapor shippers. These standard production products serve the agriculture, artificial insemination (beef, dairy, boar goats, horses, dogs), life science (stem cell research, embryos, blood banks), medical laboratory as well as the welding and industrial markets.

The company also offers a full line of accessories, including cryogenic shut-off valves, evacuation operators and evacuation valves, brass split nuts, adapters, stingers, manifolds, bayonet connections and relief valves. International Cryogenics also offers repair and reconditioning, welding and leak check using a helium mass spectrometer, machining and refabrication of their own equipment as well as that of other manufacturers.

The company built its present building in 1994, on land with room for future expansion. With distribution in 30 countries, IC products have been at work worldwide and in space–from the African Safari for Collection of Endangered Species project, which preserves the semen of big cats and elephants, to Mt. Everest, to the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station, as well as at facilities large and small across the globe.

An official Small Business, IC will soon be obtaining the CE designation for the European Union as well as the WBE (Women’s Business Enterprise) designation. In addition to being a CSA Corporate Sustaining Member, the company is a member of the Gases and Welding Distributors Association (GAWDA) and the Indiana Chamber of Commerce and a past member of the US District Export Council.

Fri Jan 12 2018 11:23:19 CST