Ideas. Solutions. Success.
A Conax tradition since day one.
In 1948, Cornell University graduate and Buffalo Electro-Chemical engineer Maurice W. Connell was approached by friends who were unable to come up with the means to measure temperature in a high-temperature, high-pressure reactor of a very small size.
In the basement of his home in suburban Buffalo, New York, Connell developed an idea for a device that, for the first time, could measure temperature very rapidly in high-temperature, high-pressure environments. His solution—the high-speed thermocouple—was the catalyst for developing a highly-successful, worldwide company that began with a $450 investment and has grown to a multi-million dollar enterprise.
Along with adaptations of basic thermocouple technology, Connell designed and marketed a specialty pressure vacuum seal that could be used across many applications. Designed for conductors and probes that enter chamber housings in harsh environments, this sealing technology was a forerunner of the electrical penetration technology and many other seals for high pressure and extreme temperature environments that remain staples of industry today.
Maurice W. Connell forms Conax Corporation, and first-year sales of his newly-patented high-speed thermocouple reach $9,000. Shown above is Joe Gennocro with the first Conax van.
Conax Corp. begins construction of a new $200,000 plant at its current location on Walden Avenue in Buffalo, New York. The company’s existing workforce of 25 is projected to increase to 40 the following year. The primary products remain thermocouples used in jet engines and atomic submarines. However, Conax has already expanded its offerings to include pressure seals used by the military and in deep-sea exploration, as well as explosive-actuated valves for guided missiles.
Conax begins work on a $100,000 addition to its new plant, adding 6,000 square feet to expand its manufacturing capabilities and provide office and engineering space for the company’s more than 70 employees.
After 10 years, Conax Corporation’s annual sales volume reaches $2 million, with 120 employees serving 4,000 industrial customers worldwide.
February 20, 1962
Conax employees watch John Glenn orbit the Earth as part of NASA’s Project Mercury, knowing that explosive-actuated valves manufactured by Conax have played a role in the mission’s success. The company’s contribution to the mission is just the beginning of what will become a proud heritage in the aerospace industry for Conax.
Conax designs and manufactures three small valves that play a major role in mid-course correction in the Mariner II spacecraft, whose mission was to fly within a distance of 10,000 miles of the planet Venus for various experiments—closer than any other device sent into space at that time.
Based on the strength of Conax’s thermocouples for the atomic energy industry, foreign sales increase by 400 percent. With representatives/ distributors in Italy, France, Belgium and Spain, an expansion of the company’s European footprint is planned to include new offices in England, West Germany and the Netherlands.
Conax breaks ground for a 10,000-square-foot expansion of its Walden Avenue plant.
Conax buys the Morrison-International Equipment Division of Ryder System Inc., increasing the company’s non-military and non-industrial product offerings to include display cabinets, tire racks and portable refreshment stands.
Conax acquires Beacon Devices Inc., a manufacturer of pressure cylinders and regulators, tire inflators and rescue torches. The company’s second acquisition of 1964 increases the number of employees to nearly 300 and puts Conax Corporation on pace for sales nearing $6 million in the 1964-65 fiscal year.
Conax develops a CO2 beer tap for use in home refrigerators. Orders from breweries for more than 250,000 units are taken even before the product is on the market.
Conax receives a patent for electrical penetration for nuclear applications. This patented electrical penetration became the standard bearer of the industry and remains so today, produced by Mirion Technologies.
Applied Materials introduces the Epitaxial Barrel Reactor and selects Conax to supply the calibration thermocouple. The tool’s popularity helped establish Conax as a trusted partner in the epitaxial departments of wafer fabs worldwide.
Conax is sold to New York M&A firm, Cortec Group.
Conax Buffalo Corporation is awarded a patent for its Fiber Optic Temperature Sensor for extreme environments.
Conax Buffalo Corporation is sold to Birmingham UK based IMIplc.
Conax begins providing temperature sensors to EMCORE (now a division of Veeco) for their MOCVD reactors.
Intel seeks Conax’s help sealing on wiring to their HAST (Highly Accelerated Stress Test) chambers.
Conax receives ISO 9001 quality management system certification—a designation that helps the company to be more competitive worldwide and to continually monitor and manage quality across all operations.
Conax creates a separate group within the company to focus on products unique to the semiconductor industry; installs first laminar flow tables for Class 100 Cleanroom production.
Conax adds a dedicated area for quartz sensor production on laminar flow tables.
Conax begins to provide the semiconductor market with Profile and Spike thermocouples for many furnace manufacturers. These high-precision temperature sensors are engineered to address the critical process temperature measurement and control required for the semiconductor, solar and LED industries.
Conax triples the size of its quartz sensor production facilities and laminar flow table production capacity.
Conax opens its Shanghai sales office with a strong focus on the Asian semiconductor market.
Conax receives AS9100 certificate, meeting stringent quality management system requirements for the aviation, space, and defense industries. AS9100 encompasses ISO 9001, with additional requirements for quality and safety relevant to aerospace, and defines the quality management systems standard for the industry. All major aerospace manufacturers (OEMs) and suppliers worldwide endorse or require certificate to AS9100 as a condition of doing business with them.
Conax purchases Quartz Engineering to better vertically integrate the production of quartz sheathed thermocouples for the semiconductor industry.
Conax purchases a new state-of-the-art x-ray system that provides real-time x-ray views of parts and increased resolution 10X greater than the previous system. The new system enables parts to be repositioned to see the internal detail of interest.
Conax introduces EtchDefender™, a quartz coating that significantly increases quartz life in high-temperature, highly-corrosive semiconductor reaction chamber environments.
To accelerate the pace of their continued growth in the semiconductor industry, Conax Technologies moves their Arizona facility to a new, modern facility in Tempe, AZ, featuring expanded office space, an improved production area, and increased annealing capabilities.
Conax gains reaccreditation to revision D, AS9100D certificate. All major aerospace manufacturers (OEMs) and suppliers worldwide endorse or require AS9100 certification as a condition of doing business with them. The update incorporates changes to the ISO 9001:2015 and addresses industry and stakeholder needs.
Conax introduces a new exhaust gas thermocouple for FT8 turbines that utilizes two dual circuit ungrounded thermocouple probes versus the OEM version utilizing four single thermocouple probes. The superior design results in a thermocouple that lasts longer and is more accurate over time than the OEM’s product.
Conax Technologies develops the Wake Frequency Solution Builder™, an online tool that enables engineers to conduct Wake Frequency calculations for Sample Probe Assemblies (SPAs) prior to manufacturing. Engineers can get fast confirmation for each design element that passes and immediately identify design flaws that don’t meet standards.
Conax continues to develop innovative solutions for the power generation industry, introducing competitively-priced, aftermarket exhaust gas sensors for large frame and aeroderivative ground-based turbines. The new solutions for LM6000 T4.8 and LM2500/LM5000 engines are engineered with state-of-the-art materials and are fully interchangeable with OEM products.
Conax receives ISO/IEC 17025:2017 Accreditation, officially recognizing the Conax calibration laboratory as fully capable and competent. ISO/IEC 17025:2017 sets the national standard of excellence for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories, and accreditation assures customers that Conax will produce valid and reliable results.
In addition, Conax receives ILCA MRA (International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation, Mutual Recognition Arrangement) certification, which ensures that the calibration lab is in compliance with other standards around the world dealing with calibration laboratory quality requirements.
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