Ben Franklin


Richardson Cooling: Growing Rapidly in the Diesel Engine Cooling Industry

Dave Richardson is the kind of guy who thrives on being busy. And that’s a good thing, because these days he doesn’t have much of a choice. His company, Richardson Cooling Packages, is rapidly growing and he’s doing everything he can to keep up.

Richardson CoolingRichardson Cooling Packages supplies radiator solutions to an ever-growing list of off-highway diesel applications, including agriculture, construction, industrial, lawn and garden, pumps, compressors and generators. But unlike their competitors, Richardson Cooling Packages provides complete solutions—distributors and customers alike can call them and receive everything they need from one place.

Started in 2002 with just two employees, the company now employs 37 and operates from two facilities in and near New Castle, PA. Richardson Cooling Packages also has a summer intern, 5 summer helpers, and 13 temporary workers at the present time.

Until recently, the company lacked some of the R&D tools it needed to make new product designs more efficient—and improve their bottom line. In particular, the company needed faster turnaround on performance testing, some of which was being done at specialized laboratories in Germany.

Insourcing with Help from Ben Franklin Technology Partners/Innovation Works

Richardson turned to the Ben Franklin Technology Partners/Innovation Works (BFTP/IW), which provided a $50,000 Innovation Adoption Grant to get started on a testing solution right in their own facility. BFTP/IW also connected Richardson with experts at Penn State University, who helped the company design and install a custom wind tunnel to test the efficiency improvements of new systems on-site. The funding support, introduction to world-class experts and project management assistance have helped the company save time and money.

We can now do things in-house that we couldn’t do before, do them quickly and at a fraction of the cost. We’re developing a world-class testing lab that wouldn’t have happened without Ben Franklin’s support.—Dave Richardson, President and Founder, Richardson Cooling Packages

“For example, we’re developing a new product that would require a $500,000 capital investment,” says engineering manager Brian Meier. “This wind tunnel will show us in whether it’s worth it. We can now do things in-house that we couldn’t do before, do them more quickly and at a fraction of the cost. We’re on our way to developing a world-class testing laboratory that wouldn’t have happened at all without Ben Franklin’s support.”

Meier is quick to highlight the company’s bigger-picture commitment to insourcing and local job growth. “As of right now,” he said, “we are working towards making everything—parts, equipment—within a few hours of our facility here in New Castle. As we grow, we want to keep jobs in Pennsylvania.”

Fresh Ideas from the BFTP/IW Intern Program

Richardson Cooling has also benefited from BFTP/IW’s Intern Program, in which IW helps fund the cost of summer interns in regional companies. The company was so impressed with intern Jon OBlock that they hired him full time at the end of his internship program. Today OBlock heads up the enclosure products at Richardson Cooling.

“We wouldn’t have hired an intern on our own,” said Meier. “So without the Intern Program, we’d never have found and hired Jon. He’s been absolutely stellar, and Innovation Works made that happen.”

Rapid Growth—According to Plan
Richardson Cooling is enjoying great success with newest line of enclosures. A new aluminum line is in development, and two patents are pending for an aluminum radiator. All production will be done in-house.

The company recently purchased a new facility near their original building in New Castle, which will be used for warehousing and some manufacturing. As a one-stop shop for customers, Richardson Cooling is committed to continuing manufacturing and assembly at their own facility.

“Since we launched, we’ve evolved from a light assembly and design house to a full-scale manufacturing facility. Today we’re a true one-stop shop for our customers,” said Meier. “And without assistance from IW, this would not have happened so quickly.”

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This article was featured in
Keynotes July, 2011
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