Heat Pipe Technology leaving Gainesville for Tampa


Published: Thursday, September 27, 2012 at 6:45 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, September 27, 2012 at 6:45 p.m.

Heat Pipe Technology will close its Gainesville headquarters and manufacturing facility in November and relocate to a larger facility in Tampa with access to two interstates, a larger airport and Tampa Bay ports, the company said late Thursday in a news release.

The company has 35 employees at a 30,000-square-foot production facility in the Airport Industrial Park, where it makes dehumidifier heat pipes and hot and cold transfer pipes for commercial and institutional-sized air-conditioning systems. Its products are sold worldwide to control air quality and reduce energy costs in buildings for schools, hotels, laboratories, pharmaceutical manufacturers and other uses.

The new facility is 45 percent larger, with expanded space to accommodate strong growth in air system retrofit projects, the release said. It also will provide more space for research and product testing.

The facility will be close to I-4 and I-75, 15 miles from Tampa International Airport and 10 miles from Tampa Bay ports, allowing faster national and international freight transportation, the company said.

The copper heat pipe technology was invented by Khanh Dinh, who fled Vietnam with his family just ahead of the fall of Saigon. His pipes originally were used to solve heat and humidity problems on space shuttles. Dinh started his own company, originally in the city of Alachua, in 1983 with a grant from NASA and an investment from lead Gatorade inventor Dr. Robert Cade. Heat Pipe moved to Gainesville in 1999.

In 2009, Dinh and investors sold the company to MiTek, a St. Louis-based building components company owned by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway.

The move is Gainesville's second manufacturing loss in two months following the August announcement that Ball Corporation would close its beverage can lid plant at the end of the year, affecting 125 employees.

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