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Innovation that has transformed an Industry: The hydraulic Breaker turns 50

ESSEN/GERMANY, October 1, 2013 - This month Atlas Copco Construction Tools, Essen, Germany, celebrates the 50th anniversary of the introduction of the hydraulic breaker. An innovative idea which originated in the German city of Essen half-a-century ago has transformed the construction and mining industries and is now a worldwide standard.

Krupp Berco Bautechnik, acquired by Atlas Copco in 2002, developed the rig-mounted hydraulic breaker and took out a patent in 1963. The first machine, the HM 400, attracted huge interest at the Hannover fair in 1967 and more than 2,000 units were sold.

HM 400 was introduced in 1967

The first rig-mounted hydraulic breaker, HM 400, was introduced at the Hannover Fair in 1967. | photo: Atlas Copco

Saving Time and Man-Hours

The aim was to save time and labour in demolition and mining operations where, at that time, pneumatic tools were widely used, and the new concept was highly successful. It meant that one person operating a rig-mounted hydraulic breaker could do the same amount of work as several operators with pneumatic tools.

This innovation was the start of a major transformation in the construction and mining industries. Today, hydraulic breakers are in general use and dozens of manufacturers around the globe produce machines of this type under a large number of different brands. Tens of thousands of machines are sold around the world each year.

Innovation – an Atlas Copco Core Value

Gordon Hambach, Product Line Manager for Power Demolition Toolst, Atlas Copco Construction Tools: “It is our belief that there is always a better way of doing things. That innovative spirit is a vital part of Atlas Copco's identity, a vital part of our way of conducting business. It is also the driving force, which has made us a leader in our industry. Innovation is the ultimate driver for long-term profitability and growth.