2008 Industry Partnership Award
AB Atlas was founded in 1873 as a manufacturer of railway equipment. The company branched into the manufacture of steam engines and fixed steel constructions for bridges, buildings, and church steeples, quickly becoming the largest manufacturing company in Sweden. However, the decline of orders for railway equipment resulted in a restructure of the company and an expansion into the manufacture of pneumatic tools. The first pneumatic tools produced by Atlas were actually intended for the company's own workshops, but word soon spread of their greater efficiency and reliability, which created demand from other major Swedish workshops and manufacturers. Development of these early pneumatic products included riveting hammers and drills in 1901, piston compressors in 1904, and rock drilling equipment in 1905. The introduction of these first pneumatic rock drills is an event that revolutionized surface and underground mining.
After World War II, Atlas engineers combined a light pneumatic rock drill with a pusher leg, which consisted of a pneumatic cylinder. This forerunner to the famous "jackleg" drill proved superior to other rock drills. It enabled one man to operate a single machine and greatly increased productivity and efficiency in underground mines and tunneling projects world-wide. Atlas was also a leader in the introduction of tungsten carbide drill bits. Together, these innovations provided major productivity and cost saving contributions to the mining of lower grade underground deposits.
Other innovations utilized by the mining industry quickly followed. Now called Atlas Copco, the company delivered its first screw compressor in 1954, and in 1967 introduced the first oil-free compressor. These oil-free compressors opened up new markets and applications for Atlas Copco. By the early 1980s, the Compressor and the Mining and Construction divisions were world leaders within their fields of operation.
Atlas Copco Construction and Mining Technique USA LLC is now headquartered near Denver, Colorado, and employs more than 300 people. The company is responsible for the sales, service and rental of equipment for surface and underground rock excavation, rock reinforcement, water well and exploration drilling, oil and gas industry drilling, and ground engineering. The company's range of products is designed to help its clients and customers achieve the highest possible productivity with the lowest possible maintenance costs. Atlas Copco’s historical importance to the mining industry, its world class mining products, its drive for groundbreaking technical innovations, and its commitment to customer service make it a proud choice for this award.