Danish loader crane company HMF has celebrated its 70th anniversary with a worldwide distributor and partner conference at the company’s headquarters and main production facility in Højbjerg as well as visiting its service operation and body building workshops in Galten west of Aarhus. Delegates were given a glimpse of new products and technology.
HMF was established in 1945, when Arne Bundgaard Jensen founded left his job and set up his own company He had earlier decided that he wanted to be a mechanic against his father's wish that he should be a farmer like his older brothers. Having trained as a mechanic he began looking for work during the years of the German occupation, when jobs were few. In 1943 he was hired as a mechanic at the Aarhus Motor Company (AMC), repairing taxicabs and other vehicles.
After the war Bundgaard sold his Nimbus motor cycle, which along with his savings and a loan from his father enabled him to buy a bicycle workshop. "I remember the first day or the evening, it was dark, and in that large workshop there was just one single bulb. It was dirty and cold in there, and I sat down in the mess and said to myself: “What have you done… I am going to make this work ". Just 14 days later, he hired his first employee, an apprentice mechanic.
In 1947 Bundgaard’s brother persuaded him to build two farm trailers. He decided to produce three, and sent one to the National Testing of Agricultural Implements for approval. The feedback was so positive, that he began producing them on a regular basis. Developments followed, including a two axle tipper trailer, which was very well received selling 20 units before a local haulage company asked for one to be mounted on his Chevrolet truck. The demand for tipper trucks was so great that Bundgaard discontinued production of agricultural trailers in 1956.
The growing business had frequent requests to build and mount other types of hydraulic equipment to trucks, and in 1952 Bundgaard built his first loader crane, that same year the company relocated to larger premises, in order to keep pace with demand. By 1959 those premises had been extended to the point that another move was necessary. So a new green-field plant was built and became the base for the current premises. The new plant was voted the most beautiful factory construction in Jutland.
Further expansion continued, with a second plant in Roskilde coming in 1976, followed in 1980 by the purchase of plant in Galten to build hydraulics and other products under the HYFA brand, these included tail lifts, and later on a range of compact cranes for vans and small trucks. A year later Bundgaard bought his former employer AMC and then in 1982 set up a sales and service operation in Nørresundby.
In 1987 he bought Schou & Co. a cylinder manufacturer in Zealand which also made tools for the repair of internal combustion engines, this company became AMC Schou producing an extended range of engine related equipment and components – it was eventually sold in 2013.
In 1987 HMF - as the company was now known – set up its first overseas affiliate, HMF (UK), followed by HMF Ladekrane und Hydraulik in Germany. The company had started exporting as early as 1953 when a Swedish visitor to a Copenhagen trade show ordered some HMF trailers finished in blue and yellow. Today the company sells its products in 50 countries around the world and is one of the major loader crane manufacturers.