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Atlas Copco celebrate 100 years in the UK

Atlas Copco celebrate 100 years in the UK

Company marks its century of operations with a look forward at future technology trends 

TO mark 100 years of business in the UK, Atlas Copco held a milestone anniversary event in London, with a look forward at exciting technology trends such as digitalization, electrification and artificial intelligence (AI).

Media and guests invited to the event also heard how the Hemel Hempstead-based company had been established in the UK, with a single sales office selling diesel engines at the end of the First World War. It has now grown to become a large organization, employing more than 2,500 people at six production centres and multiple sales offices across the country.

During that time there have been many notable milestones, including: the launch of the world’s first oil-free, rotary screw, stationary compressor in 1967; the first compressor with integrated variable speed drive in 1994; and the launch of the VSD+ compressor in 2013. 

The company has also expanded through high-profile acquisitions, including the purchase of UK-based vacuum product and abatement Edwards Group in 2014.

Now, Atlas Copco are looking forward to the next 100 years of operations in the UK at a time when megatrends, such as digitalization and AI, are set to transform the face of modern industry.

‘We are proud of our long history in the UK and the future looks very bright,’ said Alex Bongaerts, UK holdings manager at Atlas Copco. ‘In our opinion, there has never been a better time to be operating in the industrial sector. 

‘Digitally enabled technologies are transforming the way we design, build and operate equipment such as compressors. Indeed, Atlas Copco hopes the next 100 years will be as successful as our first century of operations in the UK.’

Guests at the 100 years of operations event heard how Atlas Copco had embarked on a significant process of electrification, with battery and hybrid products expected to reduce their carbon emissions by 50% by 2030.

‘One of the major areas of emphasis going forward will be the continued drive towards sustainability, particularly in terms of the electrification of equipment, such as mobile compressors and generators, lighting towers and pumps,’ continued Mr Bongaerts. 

The company also described how next-generation technologies, namely the Internet of Things – driven by the application of sensors, software and connectivity – would give industrial organizations much better visibility of their assets, whilst delivering significant advances in areas such as remote monitoring and predictive maintenance.

According to Atlas Copco, the use of integrated AI would allow equipment (eg compressors) to track and make process improvements autonomously as independent cyber-physical systems. This could, ultimately, lead to a situation where compressed air systems operate independently in their own right, allowing for autonomous adjustments to pressure and flow to facilitate process improvements.

The company also described how connected technologies such as virtual and augmented reality could transform the way that maintenance workers repaired industrial equipment, both in factories and out in the field.

In addition to the centenary event in London, Atlas Copco ran a series of regional events (eg refreshments, interactive quizzes, presentations etc.) to give as many employees as possible the opportunity to celebrate the centenary milestone. 

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