LOVES PARK, ILL. — Members of the trade media were invited to accompany Illinois Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R–16th District) while he visited the Danfoss facility here, which included a tour of the variable frequency drive and solar inverter production areas.
The company’s 250,000-sq.ft. Loves Park facility is focused on the development and advancement of high-efficiency variable frequency drives (VFDs) for HVACR, water and wastewater treatment, and industrial applications, as well as solar inverters for the rapidly growing renewable energy market.
“There is a great opportunity to save energy and money by broadly deploying these technologies in the United States, where they are underutilized compared to other major countries,” said Robert Wilkins, vice president of public affairs at Danfoss.
The meeting concluded with a tour of Danfoss’ production facility, during which Danfoss employees showed the Congressman how VFDs and solar inverters are engineered and manufactured, and, specifically, how these Danfoss technologies directly impact both the local and national economies.
Kinzinger, who serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and Foreign Affairs Committee, addressed Danfoss employees and members of the press, emphasizing his support for renewable energy and encouraging deployment of renewable and energy-efficient technologies as key components of a broad national energy policy.
Congressman Kinzinger, who also sits on the Board of Directors for the Alliance to Save Energy, further noted that proven, existing technologies, like the VFDs and solar inverters manufactured by Danfoss, play a critical role in improving U.S. energy productivity today — driving solutions for U.S. energy challenges and helping make the country less reliant on foreign resources.
“Energy security and diversity is an important aspect of the country,” said Kinzinger.
According to Jonathan Baer, head of U.S. solar inverters at Danfoss, the solar photovoltaic market is strong and growing, while the cost to install utility-scale PV systems is rapidly declining, thus, this is a great opportunity for the country to expand its use of renewable energy.
“For the economy, this means the job market also is growing,” said Baer. “In fact, from 2010 to 2012, the solar PV job market in the United States grew almost 30%. These are strong, sustainable jobs — and Danfoss is investing in these technologies right here in Illinois.”
Danfoss’ Loves Park facility, which expanded from 125,000-sq.ft. in 2001 to 250,000-sq.ft. in 2009, employs approximately 365 people, and is serious about the local job market.
“We are serious about being here and staying here,” said Jeff Duncan, senior manager of strategic marketing, VLT drives, Danfoss. Globally, Danfoss employs approximately 23,000 people, and, in 2012, had net sales of $6 billion.
Celebrating 80 years
This September, it will have been 80 years since Mads Clausen founded Danfoss in his parents’ farmhouse in Nordborg, Denmark. Since then, the business has grown from a solo enterprise into one of the world's suppliers of energy-efficient and innovative solutions, employing a staff of 23,000 and with sales in more than 100 countries. Gaining an early footing on emerging markets and a clear focus on innovative products for its customers is part of the reason for this.
Right from Mads Clausen's first inventions, Danfoss has been devoted to developing products that meet customers' needs. It all started with the expansion valve to regulate refrigeration systems and continued with one of the world’s first radiator thermostats to regulate heating and the world's first mass-produced frequency converters for the speed control of electric motors. Today, Danfoss has close to 50 different product lines and invests around 4% of its net sales in new and innovative products capable of saving the world large amounts of energy and CO2, for example, in food refrigeration, air conditioning, heating buildings, regulating the speed of electric motors and in powering mobile machinery.