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Modine Manufacturing: A Century of Innovation


Modine Manufacturing Company, based in Wisconsin, will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2016. It is a global thermal-management company with sales of $1.4 billion. Modine makes engineered heating and cooling technology that is used in vehicles, HVAC applications, and refrigeration systems.

Modine has more than 2,200 patents, but it views innovation as more than just new products. The company’s culture is built on the conviction that every process can be continually improved though innovative thinking.

That philosophy was present right from the start. Back in 1916, Arthur Modine was a young engineer who followed the growth of the automobile industry with considerable interest. As he observed, the automobile was a revolutionary advance in transportation, but many of the parts being used in cars were either ineffective or unreliable. He first introduced a new radiator, then a new car heater. His technologies had an indelible impact on the car industry.

Today, one of Modine’s advanced products is the Airedale precision air conditioning system, which can meet the demands of modern datacenters, which consume enormous amounts of electricity, and which must be controlled at precise temperatures. Another application is the cooling of greenhouses, an industry sector that Modine has led for many years.The automotive business remains central to Modine’s operations. The company focuses on direct offerings to OEMs, rather than on the aftermarket sector.

In recent years, Modine has used acquisitions to broaden its product portfolio and deepen its footprint in global markets. Concurrently, it has consolidated production where it makes financial sense. Two factories in Germany were consolidated into one. The company announced in 2014 that a U.S. plant would be closed, with production shifting to three other U.S. plants.

Businesses don’t last for 100 years without doing a lot of things right. Modine was founded on the principle of solving thermal management problems in better ways. Modine customers will attest that the company has never lost that focus.