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Follett Forms Partnership to Supply Freezers for COVID-19 Vaccines

By Colin McEvoy on February 12, 2021

Follett LLC has announced the formation of a partnership with PHC Corporation to market and sell a line of low-temperature freezers and refrigerators that can be used to store COVID-19 vaccines and other valuable medical products.

Follett announced last month that the ongoing $12 million expansion project at its Forks Township manufacturing facility would allow the company to redesign its line of the type of upright medical-grade refrigerators and freezers that will be used for storage of COVID-19 vaccines.

This partnership with PHC Corporation will help allow for more wider distribution and use of those ultra-low temperature (ULT) freezers, pharmaceutical grade refrigerators, and biomedical freezers among Follett’s healthcare customers.

“Follett is thrilled to partner with PHCNA, a global leader in high-performance refrigeration, to provide our customers with ultra-low temperature freezers,” said Cindy Fitton, Director of Marketing for Healthcare Products at Follett.

“When looking for a partner to help us meet our customers’ needs for ultra-low temperature freezers, PHCNA was the natural choice,” Fitton said. “PHCNA’s reputation for precision, quality, performance and service is unsurpassed, and the addition of the PHCNA products will be a wonderful complement to our broad line of medical-grade refrigerators and freezers.”

Although those freezers weren’t part of the company’s original plans for Follett’s expansion, the timing of the project allowed the company to increase its production line to help support Operation Warp Speed, the national initiative for the development and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.

Follett President Korey Kohl discussed the company’s expansion, as well as other aspects of the company, as part of the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation’s (LVEDC) series of video interviews with new corporate executives from across the region.

The interview with Kohl, which was conducted by LVEDC President & CEO Don Cunningham, can be viewed below as well as on LVEDC’s YouTube channel. Other interviews from the series can be found here.

COVID-19 vaccines must be stored at precise ultra-low temperature specifications, going as cold as -70 to -110 degrees Fahrenheit.

The units Follett will be manufacturing are not that cold, but they can be used to store the vaccines in the -30 to -40 degree Fahrenheit range during intermediate stages as the vaccine is kept in an increasingly warmer environment before being administered.

Follett’s ULT freezers will be co-branded with the PHC Corporation, allowing Follett to complement its current line of medical-grade refrigerators and freezers with a variety of models that can store COVID-19 vaccines and other valuable medical products and specimens in the healthcare and life science arenas.

“We are excited to be able to partner with Follett Products LLC to expand the availability of PHCbi brand cold chain products to their healthcare customers,” said PHCNA President Hans Brok. “PHCbi products have delivered excellence in design and unmatched reliability for over 50 years and we look forward to the success of this partnership.”

Follett’s addition will allow the company to grow and consolidate its current Bethlehem Township location into one building. The company currently employs about 300 people in the Lehigh Valley, and the expansion is expected to add 50 more employees to Follet’s office staff, as well 50 new manufacturing jobs and 30 remote positions.

Since 1948, Follett has led the industry in designing and manufacturing high quality, innovative ice storage bins, ice storage and transport systems, ice machines, ice and water dispensers, and ice and beverage dispensers for the global food service industry.

Follett is one of 12 brands Kohl is responsible for as Group President at the Middleby Corporation, a global leader in the food service equipment industry, which acquired Follett four years ago.

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