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Hansen Industrial Transmissions NV Celebrates its 100th Anniversary

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Mar 15,2023


What started as a small workshop in Antwerp in 1923 has developed into a world-leading industrial gear unit manufacturer. For 100 years, Hansen Industrial Transmissions NV (HIT) has operated at the forefront of power transmission technology and shaped the industry with its industrial gearbox solutions. Since 2011, the company, headquartered at a state-of-the-art facility in Edegem with 260 employees, has been part of Sumitomo Drive Technologies. HIT supplies industrial gearboxes to a wide range of industries such as extraction material handling, energy, environment, and specialist applications in key industries.

To celebrate its 100th anniversary, HIT is hosting an open house on April 22, 2023, inviting all employees, former employees, their families, neighbors, and government officials to come to Edegem.

“We’re looking forward to celebrating our first 100 years surrounded by many of those who played a significant role in the company’s success. We are honored to have such talented employees, along with great channel and business partners, who work every day to serve our customers and continue to set standards in the industry,” says Filip Apers, HIT general management.

“The 100th anniversary of HIT demonstrates an impressive history of innovative strength and entrepreneurial courage. We are proud to have this legacy in the Sumitomo Drive Technologies family and are looking forward to leading our industrial gearboxes into an even more successful future,” says Florian Butzmann, CEO of Sumitomo Drive Technologies in EMEIA (SCG Group).

Major shift: Serial production of gearboxes

In 1923, La Mécanique Générale was founded in the center of Antwerp, producing parts and tailor-made gears. Six years later, engineer David Hansen, the son of a Norwegian sailor, joined the company, and a gradual but complete shift to the production of gears and gearboxes took place.

Soon the workshop in Antwerp became too small, and the factory moved to Edegem, a rural area with great opportunities for expansion at the time.

David Hansen’s invention and design of a unique concept for the standardization of gearboxes in 1950 marked a major turning point.

Serial production of gearboxes led to several important benefits: Lowering of production costs, improved quality control, a reduction in the number of spare parts, and shorter delivery times.

The success of the Hansen Patent-I (1950) was followed by the Hansen Patent-II (1970) and Hansen PowerPlus (1980). Branches on all continents and an extensive network of distributors from Canada to Australia were established. In line with the international expansion, the company name changed to Hansen Transmissions International, usually abbreviated to HTI. In 1981, Prince Albert, later King of Belgium, placed the one millionth gear into the 250,000th gear unit. Just like the first generations of gearboxes, the later Hansen P4 (1995) and Hansen M4ACC (2004) would also set the trend in the industry for years.

Part of Sumitomo Drive Technologies

After years of expansion, the legal entity Hansen Industrial Transmissions NV (HIT) was founded in 2010. The following year, Sumitomo Heavy Industries acquired the gearbox-maker’s industrial activities.

With the acquisition, Sumitomo Drive Technologies further expanded its expertise as an industrial gear unit supplier and massively added to its own portfolio, combining the strengths of both HIT’s industrial gearboxes and Sumitomo Drive Technologies’ gear drives. In 2018, the Sumitomo Heavy Industries Global R&D Center for gearboxes opened in Edegem, resulting in the launch of the Hansen M5CT product range in 2020.

Today, HIT’s skilled staff and authorized service partners worldwide strive for reliable excellence in industrial gearbox solutions, offering a wealth of experience and expertise. A century of innovative strength and entrepreneurial courage has given HIT a global reputation for the design, manufacture, sales, and service of its top-quality gear products and complete drive solutions.

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