The first product was not a sewer cleaner.
J. Hvidtved Larsen A/S was founded in 1915 and named after its founder. The company was established in Silkeborg (DK), and it is still headquartered there.
Until 1955, many different tasks were performed for customers throughout Denmark. Among other things, roof constructions, and cranes were built.
In 1956 the first vacuum cleaner was built. The product range expanded and in 1985 the first recycling unit was launched. An adventure for Hvidtved Larsen is underway.
In 2016, it was acquired by Bucher Industries, taking another step towards becoming one of the largest and best sewer cleaner manufacturers in the world.
READY TO START
Jacob Hvidtved Larsen took the step and became independent in 1915 with his own forging and machine factory at Vestergade in Silkeborg. It started out small with a number of repair tasks in the local area, but the income was supplemented with the profession of driving instructor. On the picture, are the premises where J. Hvidtved Larsen started at Vestergade in the center of Silkeborg.
WIND IN THE SAILS
The orders arrived fast and the size of the customers also grew. First, it was a cooperative slaughterhouse, a local garment factory, the steamship Hjejlen, the Silkeborg Paper Factory - but DSB also placed orders.
TIME GOES BY AND TASKS GROW
It was not just the number of customers who quickly grew. Also, the size of tasks increased rapidly. Here is a picture from 1933 showing a 12 cubic meter hot water tank, which was being delivered to the Silkeborg Textile Factory.
BIG, BIGGER, BIGGEST
In line with the development of society, the order book of J. Hvidtved Larsen grew. The well-known Silkeborg Paper Factory expanded rapidly in the late 1930s and J. Hvidtved Larsen was an important supplier for its construction where there was a need for solid iron structures. Later, it also participated in the construction of a sports hall in Silkeborg, the largest ferry dock in Hirtshals, Denmark, and ferry bridges.
In the backyard in central Silkeborg, where J. Hvidtved Larsen had a workshop and office, space was getting tight. In fact, so tight that some products could no longer be produced inside. Here, both production and staff facilities expanded several times during the 40's and 50's, but it soon became apparent that the production line would require extra space.
THE FIRST SEWER CLEANER
In 1955, something crucial to J. Hvidtved Larsen happened. A company asked if a vacuum cleaner could be built for them. At that time, J. Hvidtved Larsen was a machine factory that worked on a bit of everything - and this request was not rejected. In 1956, the vacuum cleaner was ready for delivery.
STILL OTHER TASKS IN THE BOOK
Although the vacuum cleaner was a success and J. Hvidtved Larsen had proven its ability, the order book was full. In the following years, the manufacture and sale of steel structures for buildings continued. Pictured here are the roof constructions at the railway station in Silkeborg.
THE COMPANY MOVES
At the end of the 1960s, the premises that were at the center became too small and they had to be moved out of town. Here, it was expanded to 1200 square meters and got a good ceiling height too. It had become necessary as there was an increased production of vacuum cleaners, but also larger steel structures, such as a ferry dock to the harbor in Hirtshals, which is still Denmark's largest.
SEWER CLEANERS PROSPER
During the 1960s, the order book on vacuum cleaners increased rapidly. Aarhus municipality and Leif M. Jensen, who are still customers today, were one of the first customers who ordered a vacuum cleaner. Thereafter, it went well and in the years to come, the focus was on developing sewer cleaners that could use both vacuum and high pressure.
MORE AND MORE COLLEAGUES
As production and sales of vacuum cleaners grew in parallel with the smithing and machine business, more and more employees joined. J. Hvidtved Larsen had really taken off.
FULL FOCUS ON SEWER CLEANERS
During the 1970s and 1980s, sewer cleaners became a larger and larger part of the business, but it was not until the early 1990s, that the various tasks in the forging and machine workshop were completely separated from J. Hvidtved Larsen . Here the production was re-oriented to produce only sewer cleaners.
PRODUCTION LINE AND STANDARD CONCEPTS
In the following years, J. Hvidtved Larsen invested heavily in the production of sewer cleaners. Among other things, FlexLine® and RECycler® were introduced to the product range, as was CityFlex® later. Since then, the concepts have been developed and new and improved generations introduced.
EXPORT ADVENTURE LIKE NO OTHER
During the '00s the export adventure really took off. Up to two-thirds of J. Hvidtved Larsen's total production of sewer cleaners crossed over Denmark's borders. The big customers were, among others, England and several Eastern European countries. But Australia, New Zealand, and North America also noticed the quality product from Silkeborg. In the export markets, great success was achieved with the standard concepts, where a short delivery time and a sharp price were offered against fixed specifications. Today, J. Hvidtved Larsen is known as JHL trucks on export markets and these represent a large part of the annual sales.
WELCOME TO AMERICA
2012 became the year in which J. Hvidtved Larsen went one step further and entered the American market. With a specially developed RECycler® unit, it began not only to convince Americans of the European technology but also of water recycling technology which prospered due to the increased debate about lack of clean water. The strategy has been successful and the American part of J. Hvidtved Larsen has grown ever since. As part of Bucher Industries, J. Hvidtved Larsen currently has access to a large sales and service network in North America.
OBJECTIVE OF BEING A MARKET LEADER
The goal is clear, be the market leader in the production of sewer cleaners. After more than 100 years, we have today an impressive sales and service setup in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, as well as in the United States. Climate change has pushed the recycling agenda and the lack of clean water in the future. As a part of Bucher Industries, J. Hvidtved Larsen and the sewers from Silkeborg are stronger than ever before.
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