History of Welch Vacuum


2020 Gardner Denver and Ingersoll Rand merge, forming a new bigger Ingersoll Rand.


Gardner Denver Medical acquired Zinsser Analytic GmbH and Innovative Labor Systeme GmbH. The experience, the global distribution network, and the worldwide production sites of Gardner Denver Medical enable us to be a unique provider of technical solutions for laboratory automation systems and components.


Gardner Denver Medical acquired TriContinent Scientific Inc. With this acquisition Gardner Denver Medical increased its footprint in the liquid handling segment of laboratory automation by completing the product offering with precision syringe pumps, xyz-robots, micro plate washers and pipettes.


Gardner Denver, a US based company, founded in 1859, was acquired by KKR and the company taken private. The company was restructured into 3 major and distinct operating units - Industrial, Energy, and Medical Groups.

The brands Thomas, Welch and Ilmvac, with significant focus on Medical OEM and Laboratory Science applications formed the Gardner Denver Medical group. The group develops and manufactures relatively small compressors, gas and liquid pumps and modules for the medical, laboratory, enviromental and numerous other demanding markets. Organizing these three brands in the Medical Group allowed to align the business processes and development efforts to our customer needs.


Gardner Denver acquired Ilmvac GmbH in Ilmenau, Germany. Ilmvac was a leading European provider of deep vacuum equipment for laboratory applications. Today, the US company Welch Vacuum Technology and the German company Ilmvac GmbH are known in the market under the global brand, “Welch”.


Gardner Denver acquired Thomas Industries, a manufacturer of systems, compressors, vacuum pumps, liquid pumps and OEM pumps in the medical, laboratory, environmental and industrial sector, as well as Welch Vacuum Technology, a manufacturer of an innovative range of vacuum pumps, modular systems and network solutions for use in laboratory (laboratory vacuum pumps) and industry (industrial vacuum pumps).


Thomas Industries, acquired Welch Vacuum Technology to create a new presence in the laboratory market for deep vacuum flow control devices


Thomas Industries got the patent US 3.961.868 for a breakthrough innovation, the WOB-L pump technology.


The first investor to further build the foundation for the today's Medical Group was Lee B. Thomas who acquired 1948 a company from the Moe family that produced inlighting systems. He built Thomas Industries in 1953 with numerous acquisitions and re-organisations. The scope of the company moved from lighting to spray systems, leak detection systems and finally to the still available unique portfolio of different pump technologies.