About Portage Electric
Portage Electric Products, Inc. (PEPI) is a major developer and manufacturer of thermal controls headquartered in the United States in North Canton, Ohio. Our thermal control products are used primarily in small motors, appliances, battery packs and similar applications. PEPI thermal controls are sold worldwide and are almost always customized in some way to fit special customer needs.
The PEPI line of thermal controls includes both creep-action (slow break, slow make) and snap-action (quick break, quick make) devices. All of our controls utilize specially selected bimetallic elements which react to increases in temperature and or current to open or close the electrical circuit.
Our business, which was founded in 1963, is based on superior product engineering, customization to meet specific customer needs, automated production, rigorous quality inspection and exceptionally responsive customer service. We are a privately held concern now led by CEO Kim Ziegler, who is the fourth member of the Wehl family to guide the company.
An Engineering-Based Company
Glenn Wehl was an electrical engineer with a knack for product design. He founded Portage Electric Products with his father, Clark Wehl, after working for a leading manufacturer of thermostats in Akron, Ohio. His first Model A thermal control was a novel design first used in coffee pots in 1963. It was manufactured on equipment designed by one of Glenn’s friends, in a rented space on Portage Street in North Canton, Ohio.
At the time, Glenn was also running an electrical engineering business named Creativeering, where he once designed a novel machine to inject tenderizer into meat. As the Portage Electric line of thermostats took off, he moved the company to its current North Canton location. There the company grew quickly, eventually occupying a five building manufacturing campus.
Today, Portage Electric Products has operations in six countries – the United States, Mexico, the Netherlands, Germany, Hong Kong and Japan. The constants that link Portage Electric then and now, are a dedication to engineering excellence, innovation and responsiveness when a customer tells us, “this is what I need.”
This responsiveness is most visible in our Prototype Lab, a modern outgrowth of our early dedication to getting thermal control prototypes into the hands of design engineers as quickly as possible.
A worldwide focus
As the manufacturing of our customer’s products such as small motors, appliances, and battery packs has become global, so has our business. We have been selling PEPI products worldwide since 1975. Today PEPI products are produced and shipped around the world and meet the specifications of the appropriate national standards organizations.
The push toward miniaturization
From the very beginning this thermal control manufacturer offered space-saving benefits. This helped us move forward quickly when miniaturization become a focus for our customers in the 1980’s. Today the PEPI line of thermal controls is noted for its overall smallness, led by the ultra-small Model N Series and the Model V Series.
A dedication to quality and reliability
Our devices are the only thing between a product operating safely and often dangerous malfunctions. Given this important role, we go to great lengths to assure quality and reliability. Beyond the statistical quality programs almost every manufacturer uses in search of better quality, we do some specific things to make sure PEPI products meet rigid quality standards.
- All PEPI products are quality tested throughout the manufacturing process. Since we ship millions of devices every year, you can imagine what a sophisticated job this must be. We have developed our own proprietary automated testing equipment to make sure every device is tested and found to be up to reliability standards.
- All PEPI manufacturing facilities are kept remarkably clean. We feel it is prudent to eliminate as many potential quality problems as possible.
- Based upon customer requirements, we utilize gold diffused fine silver contacts that help reduce internal resistance of our devices for critical applications.
Significant products and innovations
Thermal controls are our only business. With this sharp corporate focus, we have developed a number of significant innovations over the years that have helped our customers do things they couldn’t do before.
We intend to continue our dedication to the two foundations of our business. (1) Engineering and quality excellence, and (2) Prompt attention to customer product and service needs. We invite you to learn more about our company and our products as you move through this site.