In 2019, Novum is celebrating 60 years of manufacturing excellence in Dublin. What started as a local manufacturer of sewing machines is now a global company with long standing partnerships across the world, particularly Europe and North America.
Inspired by a trip to the United States in 1959, Joe Donohoe set up Novum, with the support of a Japanese partner, to supply sewing machines to the UK market. Setting the tone for innovation early on, the partners developed a light-weight model which proved very popular with customers.
This was followed by the development of Europe’s first “affordable” twin tub washing machine which achieved huge success and set the trend for the future development of this category.
Novum grew throughout the 1960s to become a significant player in the UK, Irish and many European markets.
Move into Refrigeration
In the mid 1960s, Novum became the first Bosch licensee factory, producing refrigerators for the UK market. The strict quality control systems introduced by Bosch became the foundation for Novum’s future emphasis on quality, both in the production phase and in the marketplace.
In 1972, the company began manufacturing household chest freezers and quickly earned a reputation for quality and reliability within the industry across Europe. In the early 1980s Novum supplied freezers to approx. 40 countries around the world and also established numerous licensee factories in the Middle East, China, N and W Africa which benefitted from what had been learned from the Japanese and Bosch relationships.
In the early 1980s a trend was emerging in the UK of using large chest freezers in retail shops/supermarkets and Novum was at the forefront of this development. Solid foamed lids evolved into Perspex see-tru lids and finally to glass lids. Novum were first in the world to use single glazed lids and also first to use the ubiquitous curved-glass lid which is now the industry norm. Such innovation was greatly facilitated by the development of super-close relationships/partnerships with key retailers and those relationships still prevail to this day, 30 + years later!
Novums reputation for durability, reliability, efficiency and exceptional after sales support has ensured that Novum are the freezer of choice for many retailers, especially those operating in difficult and challenging conditions.
Novum’s reputation as a market leading innovator continued into the 1990/2000/2010’s.
In the early 1990’s, Novum developed what is still the most superior hinge available anywhere and which helps to set our lift-up lid cabinets apart from any others in the market. Novum is the clear global leader in this sector of the market.
The 1990’s also saw the development of the Aran cabinet with its unmatched level of visibility which greatly enhanced the retail offering with the result being increased sales.
2011 saw the development of our patented Leap Technology! These cabinets offer very real benefits to customers such as no frost/ice build-up, super strict control of food temperatures and superior energy efficiency! No other manufacturer has yet developed a competing “no ice/frost” technology in a chest freezer!
Innovation is part of Novums culture, as it is only though innovation that can we remain relevant to our customers by providing “true” value to their business. In this way we can continue to support the network of loyal supportive stakeholders on whom we rely!
At Novum, we are very proud of our long history of manufacturing excellence in Dublin. We may have changed location in the course of our 60 years, but the heart of the company remains in Dublin.
Below are some key milestones in Novums history, a history of true innovation.
1972 – Moved to the manufacture of domestic chest freezers, under the Novum brand. We quickly developed a sterling reputation for the quality of the cabinets, a reputation that is still carried on today!
1982 – Novum was first to use glass lids on chest freezers, and this was the birth of our Line range and specifically the 410 & 610 models. It was an easy transition to move into the commercial sector, once we developed the glass lid for a freezer. It was revolutionary! It allowed retailers to show the customer frozen food, without having to open the cabinet.
1990 – First manufacturer to use curved glass – Curved glass lids were next to follow, allowing greater visibility of the products inside the cabinet and higher impulse sales for retailers. And with it the 401 & 601 cabinets were developed.
1990 – Novum developed the first counter balanced hinge guaranteed to over 1,000,000 openings. Our design team worked hard to develop a small part of the overall cabinet, but major part of the operation. With a hinge guaranteed to last to over 1,000,000 openings it is worry free for the end users.
1998 – The first plug in Dual Refrigeration system was developed to give retailers more peace of mind. Quality and reliability are major driving forces behind the purchase of any equipment, so why not guarantee that if there is a problem, there is a second system in place to take over so you don’t lose any product or money.
1999- Novum were first to use cool neon as an energy efficient light source inside a refrigerated cabinet. There was recognition within the R&D team that putting heat into a freezer cabinet was not very efficient, but interior lighting was essential. The neon tube replaced the fluorescent tube and savings of 15% were achieved on energy!
2000 – Novum developed the Aran Range which offers the highest product visibility of any cabinet available today. We saw that there was a growing need for a larger cabinet, and our design team got to work. The Aran was developed with the end user in mind – our first question was what do the retailers want from a chest freezer? The answer was easy, a simple, cost effective way to sell frozen products. The Aran, with its front glass for unrivalled product visibility, was the result.
2002- Novum developed the Aran 706 with curved glass on three sides which, when utilised with the Novum Aran offers 360 degree product visibility. This completed the Aran suite of products, and offers retailers the change to have their product viewed from any angle! The Aran island is complete.
2004 – Novum developed the Burren range which has the lowest energy and highest refrigeration performance of any cabinet of similar size available today. There started a growing trend to look for more energy efficient cabinets with the onset of higher energy prices. The Burren model still offers high product visibility, but doesn’t compromise on the energy. It is the perfect middle ground.
2007- Novum launched the Burren 708 and 710 which completes the Burren range. The 708 is the end cap for the Burren range and completes the island. The 710 is a stand-alone cabinet that can be utilised as a spot merchandiser, promotional cabinet or in a line up to create a single line island with a distinctive wave look and feel.
2008 – Novum successfully launched the Novum Burren Mor, a two-tier wall and wall system that is fully self-contained. It offers the retailer the chance to utilise previously unused space to expand the frozen offering, all within the same footprint.
2011 – The Burren Mor is further refined as two separate units, which gives the opportunity to install the wall section separately onto an existing Burren cabinet. This means that when the frozen section needs to be expanded, the building doesn’t need to change. You can double the frozen space, just by adding the wall section a number of months / years later!
2012 – The Novum patented Frost Free technology was developed and introduced to the market. This revolutionary technology means no ice build up inside the cabinet, quicker defrosting, better product temperatures, and more money in your pocket.
2017 – Launch of the Novum Refrigeration System which provides customers optimun energy efficiency combined with zero compression failure