You are currently viewing Cryomech’s Brent Zerkle Cited for ‘Groundbreaking’ Invention
Brent Zerkle at the shop at Cryomech in North Syracuse.

Cryomech’s Brent Zerkle Cited for ‘Groundbreaking’ Invention

By Mary Beth Roach

Cryomech director of prototyping Brent Zerkle was recently named Innovator of the Year by the Manufacturers Association of Central New York (MACNY) for the development of the world’s largest pulse tube cryocooler.

The MACNY award was created eight years ago, and “the criteria that we look for when selecting the Innovator of the Year Award is an individual that consistently demonstrates forward-thinking ideas in the areas of technology, innovation and advancement of products and production,” according to Marissa Beck, MACNY’s marketing and communications manager.

Cryomech is a cryocooler technology and manufacturing company in North Syracuse, specializing in creating cryorefrigeration equipment to a global market.

Zerkle, a 41-year-employee of the North Syracuse company, is quick to credit his collaborator, Xihuan Hao, cryogenic research and development engineer, in the creation of this piece of equipment. The cryocooler can cool equipment to objects quickly and has many industrial applications, especially in research.

Zerkle was nominated for the award by his colleagues at Cryomech.

“I just really appreciate them and their showing their appreciation for me,” he said during a recent interview.

The pulse tube cryocooler was about one year in the making, Zerkle said, and was borne out of the need of one of their customers, but once it was announced at this year’s annual American Physics Society conference, the interest and demand grew.

This kind of interaction with their consumers and the company’s marketing people allows them to learn of the needs and develop ways to meet those challenges, Zerkle said. As director of prototyping, Zerkle explained that he’s at the forefront, facilitating these new innovations and products.

Zerkle first joined Cryomech as a machinist in 1982, after he was laid off by his former employer, Smith-Corona, the one-time typewriter company in Cortland. He said he was fascinated by the groundbreaking work that Cryomech was doing.

“Early on, everything was groundbreaking and we’re still groundbreaking today,” he said.

When Zerkle first started, there were about five or six employees in the company, which had been founded in 1963. Today, it boasts more than 170 employees.

Recently, the Cryomech was acquired by the Finland-based company Bluefors, Cryomech’s largest customer. However, Zerkle said that the purchase will not hamper its continued expansion in both its building space on Moore Road in North Syracuse or in its number of workers. A name change is expected over the next few months.

By Mary Beth Roach