Joseph ‘Tiny’ Halbert was a larger-than-life character who pioneered a world-first deicing product. Initially used to deice football pitches, including St James Park in Newcastle, Kilfrost was originally based in Whitley Bay before moving to London in 1936. Shortly after this move, we turned our attention to aviation and launched an aircraft Defrosting Composite which was trialled on Imperial Airways’ Sunderland Flying Boats.
Demand for our Defrosting Composite soared during the Second World War, and we worked hard to expand to meet the nation’s needs. We moved back home to the North East, and started a factory in Haltwhistle which is still our Head Office today. As well as employing over 100 people in our production departments, we added a larger laboratory and invested heavily in product development and research. We also lent our expertise to a joint venture with Tecalemit and Sheepridge Stokes which saw us produce the deicing fluid used in the developed TKS system.
Our product range continued to grow as a result of our R&D laboratory, and between 1949 and 1952 Kilfrost Radiator Anti-Freeze was used in the Norwegian-British-Swedish Antarctic expeditions, latterly also used by the British North Greenland Expedition team from 1952 to 1954, and the Commonwealth Trans-Arctic Expeditions from 1955 to 1958.
In 1962 we won a large contract with Lufthansa for our DC2A fluid, and our ongoing investment in product development saw the launch of a world-first in 1965 when we unveiled our ABC fluid – the first ever modern thickened fluid which provided extended holdover protection from icing.
The late 1970s saw an increased focus on product efficacy, and the Association of European Airlines (AEA) introduced fluid specifications to regulate production. We became the only company recommended in their guidelines and, in fact, the Type II Specification document was designed around our ABC product and our test procedures. Our commitment to product development to support industrial applications continued across the 1970s too, and in 1980 we launched the K400 Pneumatic Tool Anti-Freeze Lubricant.
Not only did the 1980s see us become the only fluid manufacturer recommended by the Association of European Airlines (AEA) but our R&D team pioneered two additional products which we brought to market – ABC-2 and ABC-3 – both of which provided longer holdover protection from icing.
By 1996 we had started our global expansion, with licensing of our Type I fluid agreed in Japan to service the Far East, followed in 1998 by our ABC-S Type IV fluid. America followed the year after as their demand for ever-longer holdover protection continued to grow, and in 1999 we launched ABC II Plus which provided the longest holdover protection of a Type II fluid.
The noughties saw us focus ever more on the environment, and our R&D team set to work to develop ever-more world-leading products. An innovative partnership with DuPont Tate & Lyle BioProducts saw us develop the first ever fluid based on glycol derived from a sustainable source – DFsustain. And a brand-new eco de-icer for electrified third rails – Kilfrost Rail – was launched to support the rail sector and was quickly taken up by mass transit systems across the globe.
After further significant investment in research and development, and after a period of strategic global expansion, Kilfrost was recognised with a number of awards and accolades. In 2011 we picked up the prestigious title of North East Business of the Year, secured 17th place in the Sunday Times Profit Track 100, and we were also listed as The Journal’s ‘Highest Climber’ in their Top 200.
Our Type I and Type II fluids were approved for use by China Airways, and our bio-glycol-based DFsustain product saw prestigious contract wins with Japan’s ANA and St Louis International Airport.
In 2012, our expert scientists revealed a game-changing suite of world-first heat transfer fluids, following two years of dynamic and pioneering research - and we launched our Speciality Fluids Division.
This division was set up specifically to focus our R&D on solving some of the greatest modern-day challenges faced across industrial and commercial applications.
Efficient heat transfer fluids can be toxic, and so present a risk to human health when used in industries such as food and beverage, and brewing. Opt for something safer, and you have to compromise on the performance of the fluid.
The fluids we created are different - our Low Viscosity range boasts superior performance - and our scientists carefully crafted them to be non-toxic and climate friendly.
Constantly innovating, we’re continuing to further enhance the performance and safety profile of our LV range - as well as its impressive green credentials - bringing positive disruption to many industries that have been too reliant on the status quo.