MADISON, WI — Research Products Corp. made its largest acquisition in the company’s history recently by acquiring the Dri-Steem® Humidifier Co.

As of March 30, under the agreement between the two companies, Dri-Steem started operating as a subsidiary of Research Products.

Research Products is the maker of the Aprilaire® brand of indoor air comfort products for the residential and light commercial market. With the current acquisition, Research Products will strengthen its presence in the commercial and industrial markets.

Dri-Steem is a commercial and industrial humidification manufacturer and sells units to industrial plants, office buildings, hospitals, and other large facilities. Dri-Steem humidifiers can be found in some prominent buildings including the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, NY, and the White House.

The company has developed such products as the GTS® gas-to-steam humidifier, the STS® steam-to-steam humidifier, and the Ultra-sorb®. Each of these humidifiers are standard in the light commercial market.

According to Dean Pierringer, president and ceo of Research Products, the move is a strategic advantage for the company. “In the past several years, our growing line of thermostats, zoning, and building automation products has allowed us to expand beyond the residential market into the light commercial market,” he said. “Dri-Steem’s leadership position in commercial and industrial humidification opens new doors and gives us new opportunities to grow in equally important segments.”

This is not the first strategic move for Research Products. The company acquired Enerzone Systems in 1999, which also helped in opening the door to the commercial market, as well as increasing the company’s emphasis on computer technology.

In July 2000, Research Products introduced the Aprilaire Electronic Air Cleaner, which uses a patented air cleaning technology.

Even before the acquisition of Enerzone, Research Products was developing and marketing more technological products. For example, the company has introduced zone control and both communicating and electronic thermostats. Also, in 1997, Research Products released the Aprilaire automatic humidifier that includes a “no-touch” computer-equipped design.

Pierringer also says that the acquisition is beneficial for both companies. “This is a great match,” he said. “Both companies have a reputation for making the best quality products in our categories and for being first to market with advanced technology.”

Julie Samuelson, a Dri-Steem ceo before the acquisition, agrees. “For the sake of our employees and customers, we couldn’t have found a better partner than Research Products,” she said.

Although the two companies have begun working together, some aspects will stay the same. Dri-Steem will still use the company name and manufacture its products in Eden Prairie, MN. The existing management team, general staff, sales force, and production staff will stay in place as well. Approximately 130 people are employed by Dri-Steem in Eden Prairie.

Research Products, which was founded in 1938, has four separate locations. The main location can be found in Madison, WI, while the others can be found in Poynette, WI, Avondale AZ, and Parker, TX. Approximately 300 individuals are employed between the four Research Products locations.

Publication date: 04/16/2001