It all started a hundred years ago when, shortly after WW1 ended, a Swedish diesel engine manufacturer, Atlas Diesel, set up a sales office in London to sell Atlas Polar Diesel Engines. It was the company’s first market venture outside of Scandinavia. During the 1920’s and 30’s, Atlas Copco gained a foothold in the UK through its supply of this vital equipment to the country’s shipbuilding, construction and other heavy industries. A series of milestones and world firsts followed; for instance, in 1955 the first rotary screw compressor was delivered to a mine in Sweden. A year later, the company acquired a Belgian compressor company Arpic Engineering NV and became Atlas Copco (Copco is an abbreviation of the words Compagnie Pneumatique Commerciale).
The company introduced a string of revolutionary product innovations which went on to have a major impact on energy efficiency in the industrial world. These include in 1967 the world’s first oil-free, rotary screw, stationary compressor; in 1990 the Tensor range of electric tools; in 1994 the very first compressor with integrated variable speed drive as well as the GTG turbine grinder, and the VSD+ compressor in 2013. In 2014 Atlas Copco acquired UK-based Edwards Group Ltd, a technology and market leader in sophisticated vacuum products and abatement solutions.