BeaconMedaes has the deepest roots in the entire medical gas industry. Our heritage includes such famous names as Ohio, Ohmeda Medical Engineering, Medishield, Medaes, Fluid Energy, NASH, Beacon and Puritan Bennett. There are no more famous set of names.
The history begins with two companies, Ohio Chemical in the US and Medishield in the UK. Airco, a US industrial and medical gas manufacturer acquired Ohio Chemical and changed its name to Ohio Medical. During this period Ohio developed the Diamond I outlets and later the very revolutionary Diamond II. The basic design of the Diamond II is now used in virtually every medical gas outlet design in use today.
In those days, the preferred vendor and technology for medical air and vacuum was the NASH Liquid ring, but neither Ohio nor Ohmeda were successful in developing a relationship with NASH, and so the companies competed in the marketplace with NASH more often than not the winner because of their excellent technology. Ohmeda did not manufacture their own medical air or vacuum products but had an outside vendor who manufactured them as an OEM supplier.
Medishield was the division of BOC dealing with piped medical gas systems in UK standard markets. After BOC succeeded in acquiring Airco after a long battle, the two businesses were seen to be so similar that they were joined in a single strategic business unit named Ohmeda Medical Engineering (OME) which was headquartered in Norcross, GA and Staveley, UK.
The technologies available through OME's air and vacuum vendor were suffering a number of compressor failures which had introduced oil into the medical air pipelines and Ohmeda was in search of something better. They were approached by a company called Fluid Energy who was the US distributor for a new technology air compressor manufactured by Hitachi of Japan. The new technology was entirely oil less and offered a solution to the worrisome problem of oil. Ohmeda introduced the new technology under the Med Plus name in 1985. The technology was a spectacular success, and until the Scroll introduction in 2000 the basic technology of the Med Plus was the unquestioned preference of the US hospital industry. Along with the technology came a new strategic partnership with Fluid Energy, and the two companies cooperated first on solving the oil problem and then on a new challenge in dew point and water in medical air.
Fluid Energy had broad experience in air drying and was well positioned to work on a solution to the problem posed by NFPA's addition of dew point monitoring to medical air plants in 1987. They knew a medical dryer had to be fundamentally different from the refrigerant dryers being sold at the time and also different from industrial desiccant dryers as they are sold even today. The result of the work was the Reliisys Medical Air systems which incorporated most of the features we consider mandatory in medical air today - ease of rigging and movement during installation, compact desiccant dryers with purge control, dew point and CO monitoring, and standards compliance at the system level built into the package at the factory.
At the same time as the launch of the Reliisys in 1994, BOC divested Ohmeda Medical Engineering to an investor group. The Ohmeda name was retained by BOC, and OME became Medæs.
Fluid Energy continued to promote their products both through Medaes and under their own "LifeLine®" brand name. Medaes at the same time changed its own strategic focus away from medical gases and toward headwalls and ceiling services, acquiring Fairfield in 1997, terminating other strategic partnerships with walls manufacturers and seeking to manufacture their own products.
In 1999, Puritan Bennett, a long standing but small share competitor of Ohio and Ohmeda was undergoing its own acquisition trauma. Puritan Bennett was sold to Mallinkrodt who elected to exit the medical gas equipment business. Fluid Energy acquired the business unit, based in Lenexa, Kansas, in 1999, becoming Beacon Medical Products at the same time.
In 1994 NASH Engineering had elected to cease the manufacture of medical packages and sold the operation to Medical Air Pumps (MAP). In 2000, Beacon Medical Products acquired MAP, thus acquiring exclusive rights to the NASH liquid ring products in hospitals and educational laboratories.
While this was happening at Beacon, Medæs was sold by its investors to Hill Rom, a division of Hillenbrand Industries. Hill Rom closed the Norcross operation and incorporated the Medaes manufacturing operations in Batesville, IN. They accelerated the development of medical gas products which Medæs had neglected, introducing among others the Diamond Care outlet series and the TotalAlert alarms.
In 2003, Hill Rom determined that it was no longer in their strategic interest to be in the medical gas equipment business, and Beacon and Medæs were enabled to join into one company, whose name BeaconMedæs was chosen specifically to recall this heritage and to build on that strength.
Beacon Holdings Corp, parent company of BeaconMedæs and Medaes Ltd, was purchased in 2006 by Atlas Copco U.S.A. Holdings. Atlas Copco, headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, is a global provider of industrial products, spanning more than 150 markets and revenues of approximately $6.5 billion in 2005. As a result of the acquisition, BeaconMedæs became the global competence center for medical solutions within Atlas Copco. This arrangement brings additional product development expertise, powerful global brand recognition, and the extensive international sales and service distribution network of Atlas Copco, further fueling the global growth of BeaconMedæs.
In the BeaconMedæs portfolio are the very best known of medical gas product names: LifeLine®, Diamond, Medipoint, Gem 10, Diamond Care, Series B, MEGA, MedPlus, TotalAlert™, and Gemini. We are now proud to add laboratory gas equipment to our portfolio line. We aim to be the world's most often specified brand when it relates to medical gas and laboratory gas products.