The early history of Thermopower Furnaces can be traced back to the once renowned Shelley China in England. Before immigrating to South Africa, Thermopower Furnaces founder William Cochrane co-developed the electrically fired Top Hat Kiln with Donald Shelley in response to the clean air act passed in the UK in 1956. With an emerging ceramics industry in South Africa and one of the world’s cheapest electricity suppliers at the time, Cochrane saw the opportunity to set up his own furnace manufacturing company in the heartland of South African ceramics, Clayville, which he did in 1968. 

For 19 years Thermopower Furnaces supplied top hat furnaces into the ceramics and steel industries across Southern Africa, earning itself an outstanding reputation for highly efficient and durable furnaces. In 1987, William Cochrane handed over the reins to his son-in-law, Derek Oldnall, whose background in mining allowed the company to turn its attention from the ailing ceramics industry to mineral processing and beneficiation. This is an area in which it continues to innovate some 30 years later.

Thermopower continuously runs Research and Development (R&D) programs for new beneficiation technologies. The growing pressures on the minerals sector and the South African economy in general are driving R&D harder than ever before as key players in the industry seek more efficient technologies for extracting mineral value in order to remain globally competitive. 

In conjunction with our experience, our R&D continues to innovate and develop our fields of expertise in energy mass balancing, energy regeneration, specialised furnace atmospheres, unique insulation technologies, excellent wire-element design and our state of the art volatile gas energy utilization technology. The acquired knowledge and IP of Thermopower Furnaces in these fields lends itself to tailored solutions, optimized to deliver customer satisfaction with respect to efficiency and cost.