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Osborne Refrigerators Ltd - A Brief History



1960s



The company is founded on 5th February 1960 and incorporated on 2nd March 1961.


Our factory circa 1963


Situated in Merchant Street and later West Street, Bognor Regis, Osborne Refrigeration and Engineering Ltd starts producing specialist refrigerators for fish storage and chilled bottle shelf units for the licensed trade. The decision to use polystyrene panels for insulation as opposed to polyurethane foam is made, which will have far reaching consequences in later decades when polyurethane foams are shown to have serious environmental implications. In March 1966, the factory is relocated to the current site, an old wood yard in Rose Green Road.


1970s



Hard at work manufacturing fish keepers in the 1970s


The range of refrigerators expands to include units for general storage of food and drink. Towards the end of the decade, the company is the first to introduce the idea of glass door refrigerators to the UK. The display of chilled bottled beer in pubs and bars is born. In 1976 the company name is shortened to the simpler Osborne Refrigeration Ltd to stress the nature of the company as a manufacturer.


1980s



Expansion of the factory


Budweiser arrives in the UK, helping to revitalise the British chilled beer industry. Osborne are perfectly placed to supply specialist screen printed refrigerators for Budweiser and the new glass doored refrigerators for the likes of Bass. The company earns a well deserved reputation for the exceptional build quality, reliability and performance of it’s products. The resulting boom in sales requires greater production capacity and a series of extensions to the factory is begun. Over the next two decades the factory floorspace is increased fourfold, with huge investments in new plant and machinery. The fleet of delivery vehicles is increased to cope with the demand and separate office facilities are also constructed within the site.


1990s



A row of BB48s ready for Anheuser Busch in the early 1990s


The company continues to expand, exporting units across the world to markets including Europe, South America, Australia and New Zealand. In August 1991 Osborne introduce the new “ozone friendly” refrigerant, R134a, and by December become the first company in the UK to roll it out across the entire range. The rest of the industry are soon forced to catch up. In 1994 the company name is altered to Osborne Refrigerators Ltd. The change, although subtle, is designed to highlight the company’s role as a manufacturer rather than refrigeration engineers. The increased requirement for storage space leads to the purchase of adjoining land to provide an increased warehousing facility. On the main site, the offices are relocated to their current position, providing an improved office environment, a proper product showroom and an open plan area to the rear which can be utilised for exhibition planning and product photography as well as storage. This new building also incorporates a purpose-built test room, used for research and development of new products and comparative testing of competitor’s products.


2000 – 2008



The factory from the air circa 2001


With the increasing prevalence of cheap, low-quality imports, Osborne continue to concentrate on quality and value for money rather than cheapness. The company’s excellent reputation is further enhanced by the longevity of it’s products. It’s clear that large numbers of refrigerators originally supplied in the mid eighties and early nineties are still going strong, a record frequently not met by the rest of the industry. As the decade rattles on, the company continues to invest in research and development as it seeks new areas for expansion. Osborne Refrigerators Ltd remains as one of the few “British” manufacturers still actually wholly based in the UK and are proud to be so.


2008



Snow to christen the new factory in 2008


Those shrewd property investments over the preceding decades pay off dividends. The sale of part of the site allows for the construction of a completely new factory and offices and investment in cutting edge manufacturing plant. Designed with the environment in mind, the new offices make best use of natural light, cutting the lighting bill alone by some 80%. The most important decision was to keep the new investment here in the UK. Osborne Refrigerators have no plans to go the way of so many "British" companies and maintain only a shell sales presence in the UK whilst moving all production abroad. That, somehow, wouldn't be British!


New production plant arriving


2010



Osborne Refrigerators


50 years ago, Osborne Refrigerators was born and, to celebrate our Golden Jubilee, we launched the eCold range of low-energy cabinets.


2011



The best milk for your cofee comes from an Osborne chiller


Osborne Refrigerators continue to expand the milk chiller range, become the leading British manufacturer of specialist milk-storage cabinets for use with coffee machines.


2012



Now, that's a BIG crane....


Late in 2012, we began construction on an extension to the factory, to give us additional warehousing capacity and to allow room for more manufacturing plant.


Framework nearly finished


2013



'I can see my house from up here...'


The factory extension continues (taking advantage of some more decent weather)


Extension inside


Nearly done


Extension Finished


2014 - present



New press brake arriving


The additional space was quickly used. A new press brake was installed in 2014, followed in February 2015 with a second


Several new cabinets were launched during 2014 and 2015, including the 125P double sided retail cabinet and the reduced height 280E which completed the undercounter eCold cabinet range.


COMPLETE PRODUCT RANGE
UPRIGHT
CHILLERS
  600E 460E 350E 265E 230E 195E
UNDERCOUNTER
CHILLERS
HIGH CAPACITY 4300 4200        
900MM HIGH 290E 250E 180E 50E
  800MM HIGH 280E 220E 160E 30E    
 
COUNTERTOP
CHILLERS
WALL-HANGING BB90 BB60 BB50 BB30    
  COUNTERTOP MM10 MM9 MM3SC MM2SC 110 BD4
  OTHER OTD1 CW3 CC1      
PASS-THROUGH
CABINETS
  7050 276E 276E SLIM 125P    
TOP-LOADING
CHILLERS
  TL120 TL90 TL60      
OPEN-FRONTED
CHILLERS
  OD600 OD450        
 
FRESH FISH
KEEPERS
  OC150 OC80        
MILK
CHILLERS
MM RANGE MM105M MM4M MM3M MM2SC MM1SC  
  OTHER FMC6 CM1M        
               
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