Wessington Cryogenics, as a company, was born in April 1984 – from a small 2,500sq.ft. factory in Washington, near Sunderland in the UK.
At the helm was current Director Eddie Rowe, who along with one other employee, accomplished everything at the company – from blue-print creations, to welding and manufacturing. Staff numbers and company size began to expand quickly, according to Managing Director Paul Rowe – who began working for his father’s company in February 1985.
“Wessington began as a small operation – but with a reasonable portfolio,” recalled Paul, adding, “but when I joined in February 1985 the numbers on the floor had already begun increasing.”
“About two years after I begun employment at Wessington we did the thing lots of small businesses, who are expanding, do. We bought the space next door, knocked the separating wall down, and doubled our floor space.”
“We did this again a few years later and had a building which offered 7,500sq.ft. But this soon wasn’t enough due to the orders we were getting.”
Due to requiring cranes and machinery able to lift and move large storage vessels additional space was required – but until a suitable location was discovered, the team didn’t let lack of space stop them from fulfilling orders.
“A 4,000l tank was the biggest we built at that time – which is impressive given the space limitations. A very special helium dewar was also made which we’re particularly proud of,” said Paul.
“An order from India forced our hand when we were required to provide large tanks and had insufficient space to construct them.”
The company moved to a new 15,000sq.ft. home in Houghton le Spring, and was able to fulfill the required order. But with this extra space available, the company began marketing its ability to manufacture large tanks – as well as smaller vessels from its original home in Washington.
The orders continued to flood in and, in 2010, Wessington announced it was creating additional jobs and in search of more space due to secure international contracts for their products around the globe, moving into a prestigious new 70,000 sq.ft facility elsewhere in Houghton le Spring, and expanding into another 15,000 sq.ft facility in nearby Sunderland .
Products are shipped all over the World, from simple open dewars, ISO containers, road tankers, large and custom helium products, acid and chemical tanks, as well as a wide range of supporting equipment – all constructed by the team of over 120 people.
“Our products have been to the North Pole, Everest and used by NASA – but our beginnings will never be forgotten,” said Paul.
“The company was started by my father and my sister, Gill Southern MBE, works here – as does her daughter, Victoria.”
“We are always going to go where the market takes us – if new products take us to new areas, that’s where we’ll go.”