CEM Corporation

CEM Corporation

CEM is a company based on innovation that touches many different industries and scientific disciplines. We helped pioneer the field of microwave chemistry and we have long been recognized for our expertise on the subject through publications and awards. For more than 30 years, we have been designing and developing laboratory instruments and scientific methods (both microwave-based and non-microwave technologies) that are used by major companies, prestigious research institutes, and universities around the world.

Company details

PO Box 200, 3100 Smith Farm Rd , Matthews , North Carolina 28106 USA
View in map

Find locations served, office locations and our distributors

Business Type:
Industry Type:
Laboratory Equipment
Market Focus:
Globally (various continents)

CEM Corporation:  Innovation with Imagination 

CEM’s customers come from hugely diverse industries and deliver a staggering array of products and services, but they have one thing in common:

They need reliable and cost-effective methods for chemical testing, analysis and monitoring.

That’s where CEM comes in. Having pioneered the field of microwave chemistry, we provide products that speed up and automate classical chemistry methods and increase accuracy and repeatability.

Process Control - Food Compositional Testing and Process / Quality ControlAnalytical - Sample Prep for chemical analysisLife Science - Organic & Inorganic Synthesis and Peptide Synthesis

Click on the links below to find out more:

From lab to life highlights how our products benefit customers and communities, and why you’ve probably used products that were tested with CEM technology. 

From garage to global describes where we came from and how we’ve grown.

Our people highlights the teams and expertise that make us successful, and why innovation is in our DNA.

Our numbers - just what it says, our story, in numbers

From lab to life

How CEM innovation and expertise touches our world

Food testing and processing - Whether you’re at the supermarket or a restaurant, you expect high-quality food products and impeccable food safety. CEM has been a leader in food testing for more than 30 years. Our equipment is used to monitor food quality and composition, from fat levels in ice cream or meat, to moisture levels in cheese, to the composition of ketchup and BBQ sauce. We help the food industry operate safely and effectively, so you can relax and enjoy the taste.
Environmental and wastewater testing – from our own backyards to our kids’ schools, from our workplaces to the local park, we all want a safe and healthy environment, free from pollutants and toxic chemicals. CEM is a major player in environmental monitoring. Our scientists developed many of the environmental testing methods in common use today, and the company is the leading provider of microwave sample preparation systems used by government and environmental agencies.

Pharmaceutical medicines - No-one wants to get sick, but when we do most of us rely on modern medicines for treatment. Our partners in the drug development industry use CEM microwave technology to speed up the rates of chemical reactions, allowing faster drug screening, discovery and synthesis, and ultimately delivering better options for medical care.

Health & Beauty – there’s a bewildering array of health and beauty products out there and most of us use some of them every day. Soaps, cosmetics, toothpaste, shampoos and conditioners, creams and lotions, nailcare - the list is endless. All of these products require good manufacturing processes and careful testing. CEM provides tools for compositional monitoring, quality assurance and sample preparation, so you can rest easy, be healthy and look great.     

Academic and research institutes – with CEM microwaves in more than 1000 universities and academic institutions, we’re proud to be instrumental in building future scientists and the future of science, every day, around the globe.   

From garage to global

It all started in a garage …

In a small rented unit across the road from the current CEM headquarters, a chemist, an engineer and a mechanical engineer started CEM in 1978. Nearly 40 years later, the chemist is still here – Michael J. Collins is the CEO and president of CEM and took the company from startup to private ownership in 2000.  

CEM’s early steps were in the food industry, providing microwave systems that dramatically reduced test times for moisture detection in food samples. Expansion into environmental and wastewater testing and microwave-enhanced extraction soon followed.

Having pioneered the field of microwave chemistry, CEM then expanded its horizons and technologies to include NMR and advanced chemistry and established itself as a leading scientific technology company.

By the late 1980s, CEM had grown to a $15M company and went public in 1987. The ‘90s saw further growth and expansion into Europe, before the buyback in 2000. Today, CEM is the world’s leading provider of microwave laboratory systems, with subsidiaries throughout Europe and Japan, and subsidiaries/distributors in about 60 countries. 

Our People

The heart and brains of CEM

Experts and pioneers: CEM systems are designed and developed by a team of more than 50 scientists and engineers with a passion for quality and innovation. They love solving customer’s problems, but their contribution doesn’t stop there. They’ve shaped the field of microwave technology, published many articles and books on the subject, and often speak at scientific conferences.
Technical diversity:our team’s expertise covers a broad mix of science and engineering disciplines – food science, analytical chemistry, organic and inorganic chemistry, physical chemistry, biochemistry, biology, mechanical and electrical engineering, computer and software engineering, materials science, microwave engineering and chemical engineering.
Nimble & Flexible: our thirst and drive for innovation comes from the top down. Michael J. Collins - CEO, president and co-founder of CEM - is still actively involved in our research and new product development and ensures the company invests significantly in R&D.
The R&D team’s level of access to engineering, scientific and manufacturing resources is rare amongst instrument companies, allowing nimble experimentation, rapid refinement and quick time to market. That all translates into 20 major products introduced in just the last 5 years.  All of our growth and product development has been organic, not by acquisition.

Our numbers

  • >100,000 CEM systems sold
  • 20 new products introduced in the last 5 years
  • 60 countries with CEM subsidiaries or distributors
  • 300 patents held
  • 11 R&D100 awards received
  • 2500 microwave systems manufactured each year
  • >60 scientists and engineers on staff
  • 200% increase in revenue since 2001
  • 11% annual reinvestment into R&D