It may not look like it today, but HVAC controls manufacturer Danfoss was started in 1933 by Mads Clausen in the basement of his parents’ Nordborg, Denmark, farmhouse.

By 1939, it was exporting to other countries in Europe and had a foreign sales office in Argentina 10 years later. Today, Danfoss has 23,000 workers and sells in more than 100 countries, including large presences in China, Germany, Russia and the United States.

As the company celebrated its 80th anniversary Sept. 1, company officials reminded the public and HVACR industry just how far it has come from those small beginnings.

“The global market has been a cornerstone for Danfoss, long before anyone even talked about globalization, and this has provided us with an international position we can be proud of,” said Danfoss President and CEO Niels B. Christiansen. “We were one of the first to get out there in the large emerging markets and have worked purposefully to build up good relations with our customers and business partners. Going forward, we will continue to focus on our main markets and the ‘BRIC’ countries, Brazil, Russia, India and China, while also putting more efforts into new growth markets such as Turkey and Indonesia, where we have already gained experiences.”

What started with making an expansion valve to regulate refrigeration systems led to one of the world’s first radiator thermostats to regulate heating. Danfoss now represents close to 50 different product lines.

“We are highly focused on ensuring our product development is based upon customer needs; specifically, that our customers are involved in product development from start to finish, ensuring that products are placed precisely in that field with greatest significance to our customers,” Christiansen said. “In China, for example, we have developed a new series of products targeted to the needs of the Chinese market.”