Custom, temperature controlled equipment used by the science community and beyond.
“We are there, but we are in the background. We are not well known to the public, but we are there and our products are used to find solutions.”
-Vesa Vihavainen, COO, Sheldon Manufacturing
Constant Temperature in a Changing World
Founded in 1970, Oregon-based Sheldon Manufacturing Inc. has spent nearly forty years behind the scenes focused on building chambers that get hot and stay hot. A simple sounding goal, but one demanding significant engineering and manufacturing expertise when customers are using these devices in high-profile biotech and hospital cell culturing applications, electronics clean room procedures, and aerospace testing and component flight prep. All these uses call for temperature stability and chamber uniformities measured in tenths of a degree, often over long durations. Just as challenging, these temperatures must be obtained and sustained in a variety of workplace environmental conditions. Then there is the matter of the air within or its complete lack. Often the chambers contain specialized atmospheres or — in devices built for rocket and satellite manufactures — no atmosphere at all. As company COO, Vesa Vihavainen, explains: “Our products are not going into space but many of the materials, components, and products tested in our products do.”
Many Brands, One Focus
To tackle the breadth of demand for constant temperature devices, Sheldon is building a broad brand portfolio. Its SHEL LAB, BACTRON, and Lab Armor® brands provide products for a variety of incubation applications, complete anaerobic cell cultivation workstations, and countertop cell warming devices. Its engineering staff, under the brand Cascade TEK, delivers both standardized and turn-key solutions for aerospace-grade vacuum chambers that are used, as one example, in satellite building industry. This includes orbital environment simulation chambers capable of cycling between high heat and cryogenic temperatures under vacuum. Sales Manager Jeremy McDonald, with the customization capability of Cascade TEK’s engineering, continues to open new doors for Sheldon Manufacturing every week, expanding its footprint in the industry. Sheldon’s Product line VISU offers a flexible and mobile stainless-steel shelving system to laboratories and clean rooms. Marketing Coordinator Katrina Thorsen is tasked with bringing Sheldon and its extensive family of brands into the lime light and is in the process of unveiling a new Cascade TEK website.
Patented Lab Armor® Beads and Bead Baths
Sheldon’s Lab Armor® brand recently patented a thermal antimicrobial concept in the US, Canada, the EU, and Australia. Its bead-filled heating baths and chill buckets are intended to replace traditional heated or cold-water baths. Water baths can potentially allow water to enter the sample containers or contaminate the sample when the container is opened. By relying on carefully designed heat-conducting beads, Lab Armor® removes the possibility of fluid contamination while providing improved temperature stability. The elimination of water as a potential transport channel also helps to safeguard lab personnel and the laboratory environment. Lab Armor® line of products have the potential of changing the market and redefining the way water is used in labs, a fact that is not lost on Sheldon Manufacturing. The Washington County local government entity, Clean Water Services, awarded the company a pretreatment excellence award for its efforts to prevent water contamination over the past five years.
Acquiring High Point Design
Sheldon Manufacturing acquisition of Texas-based High Point Design has made it possible, under the lead of Stephen Dillier, to extend its design and production capability to the field of microprocessors, machine controls, and radio systems. This synergistic relationship has allowed High Point Design access to Sheldon’s knowledge of client applications and requirements, as well as its world-class manufacturing capabilities. In the words of COO Vihavainen: “We can now build every product and satisfy every customer’s need from electronics to mechanical, from design to manufacturing by ourselves, which gives us huge flexibility and opportunity to offer our services to almost anybody.”
Expanding into Contract Manufacturing
Sheldon’s expansion into contract manufacturing business, led by Henry Morgan, Director of Custom Solutions and Contract Manufacturing, aims to move the company into a new area of growth. The endeavor has already secured approved vendor status for its first European customer.
Safety first in a healthy environment
Worker safety and employee retention are critical to Sheldon’s business philosophy. Onsite training programs have resulted in no “time loss” for two consecutive years: 2017 and 2018. The company pays 100% of employee insurance and has minimized insurance costs to employee family members through aggressive negotiations. It also matches 4% of 401k and provides long-term disability insurance for all employees. Whenever possible, the company promotes employees from within. The company is also striving to reduce its pollutant footprint and materials usage. The company manufacturing department, overseen by Manufacturing Manager Kevin Cowan, is pursuing new methods to improve the utilization ratio of raw material while reducing material waste, increasing throughput speed, and saving money.
Sheldon’s clients are expanding. Space flight is presently enjoying record expansion, driving increased demand for vacuum systems platforms and accessories. Purchasing manager Robert Sheldon makes sure Sheldon keeps up with the high demand of fast-paced industry requirements. Sheldon has also found a foothold in the booming pharma and nutrition market, and has plans for further growth—even outside the USA. Combined with its acquisition of High Point Design, its new contract manufacturing capabilities, and ongoing innovations and product updates in laboratory systems, Sheldon Manufacturing is set to enjoy an increased profile in manufacturing circles by providing new solutions and proven products to prominent national and international clients. As Vihavainen explains, “We are pretty much involved in every growth sector.
Sheldon Manufacturing, Inc. is family owned and ISO 9001:2015 certified manufacturer of high quality, innovative, and customized constant temperature equipment to the global market. Major product lines include vacuum and forced air ovens, incubators, anaerobic chambers, humidity test chambers, water and bead baths for the aerospace, defense, life science, pharmaceutical, biomedical, food and beverage, environmental, and various industrial markets.
Sheldon Manufacturing, Inc.
300 N. 26th Avenue
P.O. Box 627
Cornelius, OR 97113