Hudiksvall is a small town facing the Baltic Sea. Deep forests, mountains and vast lakes guard its back. Few know its secret – it is a world class hub of innovators and entrepreneurs.
Top: Eric Sundin, founder of Sundins, Hiab and Sunfab.
In 1927 A young man destined for success came roaring in to Hudiksvall on a motorbike with his wife in the sidecar. His name was Eric Sundin, and his wooden ski production facility had just burned to the ground. Never one to be daunted, he recognised Hudiksvall as a plentiful source of good skiers with the added bonus of being home to an empty factory – ready for Sundins’ production.
Sixten Jernberg, four time Olympic champion, was sponsored by Sundins.
Sundins was already one of the world’s largest ski producers. As a side-project in 1944, Eric Sundin had established Hiab - and co-created the world’s first hydraulic truck-mounted crane. Hiab was to revolutionise on-road load handling across the globe.
1952 was big year in Hudiksvall. An innovative seed was planted in 1952 by John Sonerud, a train driver and a brilliant entrepreneur. His first line of business for Soneruds Maskin AB was retrofitting farm tractors with Hymas excavator arms. The same year Eric Sundin formed yet another company – Sunfab – to develop new technology to give Hiab’s cranes higher performance. Sunfab set a benchmark for hydraulic products.
Hiab in space! This is a Hiab Speedloader working for NASA, lifting up a space capsule from the Atlantic ocean in 1965
In 1959, John Sonerud co-founded Svenska Hymas AB. As many as three out of four of Sweden’s backhoe loaders were produced in Hudiksvall during the 1970s! During the 1960s Hiab started the first exports of cranes to the USA – a milestone for a young company.
Huddig Tigon is a technological marvel. The hybrid vehicle carries the innovation tradition true to both Huddig and Hudiksvall into the next decade.
Sadly, the decision was taken to close the Hymas factory in Hudiksvall due to a downturn in orders. True to the Hudiksvall spirit, the staff decided to form an employee-owned company. Huddig was born! In 1982 the production of the SafeSet torque limiting coupling began in Hudiksvall. At first the number of employees was just five persons, including the inventor and engineering prodigy Curt Falk.
Watch this brilliant video, explaining the Voith Turbo coupling technology (1.59 min).
In 1992, the German Voith Group bought SafeSet and changed its name to Voith Turbo Safeset AB. At the beginning of the decade Soneruds recognised the demand for a total quick coupler solution for excavators and wheeled loaders – by which you could automatically connect hydraulic tools directly from the driver’s cab. This was the genesis of today’s OilQuick.
This is just part of the Hudiksvall legend. All of our members boast similar stories. Those that don’t yet are history in the making. Research shows that tight-knit, small communities can help create innovative environments where entrepreneurs flourish. We believe Hudiksvall is proof of that theory. No wonder they call it “Glada Hudik” (Happy Hudik)!