Des Champs Laboratories was founded in East Hanover, New Jersey in 1973 by Nicholas H. Des Champs, Ph.D. for the purpose of developing a patented, vacuum brazed aluminum heat exchanger that could be easily formed into any shape. To generate income, several contract jobs, unrelated to the original patent, were undertaken. One of these contracts dealt with designing and building a prototype heat exchanger that would be used to cool the cockpit of an F-15 fighter aircraft while the plane was operating prior to takeoff and after landing. It was during this contract that the Z-DUCT® air-to-air heat exchanger was conceived.
The simple, formed and folded, continuous sheet of metal that was the heart of the Z-DUCT heat exchanger drastically reduced the labor involved in manufacturing air-to-air heat exchangers. The Z-DUCT was not suited for the military application but it proved to be a very desirable and competitive product in the emergent energy recovery field, especially for the HVAC comfort market. Within six (6) years of introducing Z-DUCT to the HVAC bid and spec market, the product was ranked Number 1 from among 24 other manufacturers by a survey published by “Specifying Engineer” magazine.