Kilfrost Limited

Our History

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    Privately-owned and run for over 80 years, Kilfrost was founded in the 1930s by Joseph Halbert nicknamed Tiny, due to his larger-than-life personality.

    Joseph's initial idea was to develop a de-icing product inspired by the humble snowdrop.

    Initially based in Whitley Bay, the company's first products were used to de-ice football pitches including St James Park in Newcastle, before they moved in 1936 to London.

    In 1937 Kilfrost turned their attention to aircraft de-icing and launched a Defrosting Composite which the UK Royal Air Force trialled on the Sunderland Flying Boats of Imperial Airways before approving its use.

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    The advent of the Second World War saw the demand for Kilfrost's Defrosting Concrete for aircraft soar, and the company had to expand to keep up with the country's growing demands. During this period Kilfrost moved to their present location in Haltwhistle, Northumberland where, as well as employing over 100 people in the production department, they also added a larger laboratory.

    In 1942 Kilfrost lent its expertise in collaboration with Tecalemit and Sheepridge Stokes, and helped establish TKS (Aircraft De-icing) Ltd, with the company producing the de-icing fluid used in the developed system.

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    Between 1949 and 1952 Kilfrost's Radiator Anti-Freeze was used in the Norwegian-British-Swedish Antarctic Expeditions, and the same product was favoured by the 1952 to 1954 British North Greenland Expedition team, and the 1955 to 1958 Commonwealth Trans-Arctic Expeditions. The importance of effective aircraft and runway de-icing was highlighted by the Munich air disaster of 1958.

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    In 1962 Kilfrost won a big contract with Lufthansa for its DC2A fluid, and three years later launched Kilfrost ABC, the first ever modern thickened fluid with extended holdover.

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    In the late 1970s the AEA introduced fluid specifications to regulate the production of the this safety critical fluid, and in 1982 Kilfrost became the only company recommended in their guidelines and in fact the Type II specification was drawn up based on the Kilfrost's ABC and its own test methods. In 1980 Kilfrost's continual product innovation was once again seen in the launch of the K400 Pneumatic Tool Anti-Freeze Lubricant

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    The 1980s saw Kilfrost become the first ever company recommended in the AEA guidelines, with the Type II specification drawn up based on Kilfrost's ABC product and test methods. Between 1986 and 1987, Type II fluids ABC-2 and then ABC-3 were introduced for customers requiring longer holdover protection, and Kilfrost's R&D team continued their work to develop cutting-edge new products and techniques

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    In 1996 the company expanded into the Far East when it licensed production of its Type I fluid in Japan, and the new ABC-S Type IV fluid in 1998. This was introduced in the USA in 1999 following the introduction by the AEA of a Type IV specification because demand for even longer holdover was growing.

    In 1999 Kilfrost launched ABC II Plus which offered customers a Type II product with longer holdover than ABC-3.

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    In 2007 as the result of an exciting partnership with DuPont Tate & Lyle BioProducts, Kilfrost's world-renowned R&D team developed the world's first ever fluid based on bio-glycol derived from a sustainable source DFsustain. The rail sector also saw the launch Kilfrost Rail, an eco-de-icer for the electrified third rail of railways and a more environmentally-friendly replacement for Electrice 101.

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    In 2011 Kilfrost was awarded the prestigious title of North East Business of the year, after a period of global expansion and substantial investment in research and development. The company secured 17th place in the Sunday Times Profit Track 100 and was listed as the 'highest climber' in The Journal's Top 200.

    In 2012 Kilfrost's Type I and Type II fluids were approved for use by China Eastern Airways, the country's second largest air carrier. Sales of Kilfrost's bio-derived sustainable fluid, DFsustain also increased with significant orders being placed by Japans' ANA and St Louis International Airport.

    2012 was an important year for Kilfrost, as well as celebrating over 80 years in business the company launched its Speciality Fluids Division.