Brief History of the EndoCube / eCube

The EndoCube is the first product to change the way we think about refrigeration control. It has been long established that refrigeration is controlled by the air temperature within the refrigerated space. However the air temperature is volatile, and the refrigeration has to work hard to bring this volatile temperature under control. Yet refrigerated product is not nearly so volatile. The graph shows the temperature variation between air, the thick blue line on the left hand side of the graph, and the product, the thinner blue line on the right, in a refrigerated space. This graph was taken from a refrigerated cryogenic chamber which is why the temperatures, at – 70˚C to – 80˚C are so low. The air temperature swings from high to low, whilst the product temperature remains fairly static. As long as the product remains fairly static then the refrigeration is doing its job. That’s how the EndoCube works. It simulates refrigerated product and switches the refrigeration ‘on’ and ‘off’ only when the refrigerated product requires.


Further developments underway must make sure that refrigeration is kept optimized, and resolves problems quickly by bringing them to the attention of the right person with the right knowledge. Defrosts are also critical. The spikes shown in the graph are defrost spikes, when the heaters are switched on to defrost the build-up of ice. The obvious problem is that you put a lot of heat into a refrigerated space, which you are trying to cool, and then have to get rid of all that heat. A dilemma that we have been working on.



Engineer Harry Banham approached the injection moulding company of Andre and Guy Lamstaes in 1993 to see if they would manufacturer a refrigeration thermometer he had developed using a food simulant material as a medium to read the temperature of refrigerated food, rather than refrigerated air, which was far less relevant in food safety terms.


He had patented his idea and the production of the product named the “Endotherm” commenced in 1994. It was mentioned in a local newspaper explaining the purpose of the word “endo”: the temperature within the product.


In 1996 work started on a digital prototype in the shape of a dome we called the “Digital Endotherm”; with the patent application in the same year. It included the use of a food stimulant also.


In 1999 Harry took two boxes made in the factory, one shaped as a cube and a smaller round cylindrical box and put one inside the other and the dome changed into a double skinned cube which we then called the “EndoCube” since the principle of the invention was the same as the Endotherm (i.e. the temperature within).


The new product had many additional features to the original Endotherm. The alteration was consistent with the IPO requirements and we proceeded with our patent application under the name ‘EndoCube’.


Harry worked out, academically at first the value of using the ‘food simulant’ EndoCube to control the refrigeration using what was an equivalent food temperature. Then he tried it and was quite astonished by the results. This was actually a ‘breakthrough’ in the world of refrigeration. It had never been done before. This simple device fundamentally changed the way refrigeration operated, from switching the ‘cooling’ on, based on the surrounding air temperature, to switching the ‘cooling’ on based on the product, or food temperature.


The results technically showed:

(i) a major cut in compressor starts

(ii) an increase in refrigeration performance,

(iii) the quality of the refrigerated product improved as the air circulation was more stable, and finally,

(iv) a saving in energy usage – sometimes up to 50%.


At the turn of the century the Endotherm and the EndoCube were shown at the Millennium Dome in Greenwich London UK, attended by the Prime Minister Tony Blair, as products of the new Century. Two of our products were awarded a ‘Millennium’ prize.


In 2006 UMP started negotiations for the marketing of its products; and in March 2007 signed an exclusive marketing contract with a new company newly set up called Ecube Distribution Limited, for the sale of the single cavity EndoCube. Ecube Distribution Sales & Marketing Director Spencer Freedman discussed with Guy Lamstaes the idea of using the name ‘eCube’, which UMP had already used. Spencer felt from his marketing background that the product being an Energy Cube could be made shorter to the eCube. In December 2006, before the signing of the contract, UMP sold a consignment of EndoCubes to a Portuguese company under the name eCube. The following sales of eCube were then passed to ECD.
Although UMP was practically never involved in marketing, as UMP are mainly a Research & Development and manufacturing company, the EndoCubes have been sold under a variety of names at the request of distributors to facilitate their marketing, but the basic names, Endotherm and EndoCube are the actual Universal Master Products Ltd tradenames.