More than 135 years of engineering and innovation legacy
The FLSmidth history is a classic narration of entrepreneurial success, starting out as a local one-man consultancy firm with humble beginnings and, through hard work and a sound strategy, growing into a major international company, specialised in serving the cement and mining industry, worldwide.
In 2007, a short presentation video was produced to celebrate FLSmidth's 125 year anniversary. It guides you through the 125 years and world history in only 125 seconds. Enjoy!
The new millennium – from conglomerate to core business
In recent years, extensive refocusing has taken place. Today, FLSmidth is a highly specialised and world leading supplier of equipment and consultancy to the cement and mining industries.
FLSmidth and Goldcorp, one of the world's largest gold mining companies, are the joint winners of the Mining Magazine Editor's Award 2017 for developing EcoTailsTM, a new mining system that improves tailings and waste rock disposal while recovering as much as 95% of the tailings water.
A new Chief Digital Officer is appointed to develop and implement FLSmidth's overall digital strategic plan and speed up the company's digitalization process.
FLSmidth's historic head office at Vigerslev Allé in Copenhagen's Valby district has fallen behind the times, and an agreement signed between FLSmidth and ATP Real Estate marks the first step towards a new, modern campus on the site.
FLSmidth acquired a part of Sandvik Mining Systems. This acquisition enables FLSmidth to improve productivity for its customers by closing a gap and cover a wider range of the full mining value chain – from the primary crushing point in the mining pit and the transport from mine to plant all the way through the minerals processing plant to the tailings handling - "Pit to Plant".
In 2017, the FLSmidth Donation Fund gave students at the Instituto Politécnico Nacional (IPN), which is located in one of the most important mining zones in Mexico, access to state-of-the-art laboratory mining equipment. Besides this equipment, the FLSmidth Donation Fund also supports young scientists and various global and local charities.
FLSmidth and Kleemann, part of Wirtgen Group, signed a long-term cooperation agreement on supply of cone crushers for mobile applications in the construction industry. The agreement unites FLSmidth's technology leadership within cone crushers with Kleemann's leading position in the mobile crushing in the construction and aggregate industry, and provided a unique opportunity for FLSmidth to expand into adjacent industries.
2015 also saw FLSmidth take a big step in terms of digitalization, as the company joined forces with GE, leader in Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) to maximize the potential of connected equipment units, helping the cement and mining industry to increase productivity.
Proving FLSmidth’s leadership in engineering and solutions for the mining industry, we won the prestigious global Top 100 award for our Rapid Oxidative Leach process at this year’s R&D 100s in Wachington DC.
- 2010 - 2015
2011FLSmidth's minerals business in 2011 turned out to be a record year - in terms of order intake, revenue and earnings, which primarily contributed in its increased revenue of 9% to DKK 22bn.
FLSmidth made strategic acquisitions of enterprises like ESSA, specializing in design, manufacture and servicing of sampling equipment for the minerals industries; Phillips Kiln Services, providing kiln services to the global cement and minerals industries and finally Transweigh in India, a supplier of gravimetric feeding equipment.
2012A new global strategy was launched to develop FLSmidth into a full service provider, offering complete product and service solutions to customers within six key industries: copper, gold, coal, iron ore, fertilizers and cement.
As a consequence, FLSmidth was structured in four divisions - Customer Services, Bulk Materials, Non-Ferrous (later renamed as Material Handling and Mineral Processing respectively) and Cement to fully exploit the growth potential in each of these divisions.
In addition to cement, copper and gold grew to become FLSmidth's most important industries. Moreover, long-term operation and maintenance contracts continued to offer significant growth potential on a global scale in all six focus industries.
In 2012, we acquired Ludowici, a leading provider of coal centrifuges and vibrating screens to the minerals industries. This resulted in FLSmidth gaining the strategic capability to offer a complete coal preparation flow sheet. This acquisition also supported FLSmidth’s aspiration to expand its Customer Services offering.
2013Following nearly 3 decades of transformation, expansion, mergers and acquisitions, FLSmidth entered 2013 with an extended focus on its core business and execution.
Beside the divestment of the pulp and paper industry technology to Metso Paper Sweden AB through a license agreement, and the non-core Ludowici business area – Industrial and Infrastructure, FLSmidth focused solely on its six core industries and business areas.
Through 2013, orders included material handling systems in different industries, cement plans and production lines, and continued growth in the Operations and Maintenance area – especially in South America and Africa.
2014In 2014, FLSmidth experienced continued growth in Asia, South America and Africa, mainly in the cement business. Many orders came from long time customers, witnessing the strong customer relations FLSmidth employees are able to create and maintain.
In order to streamline the business further, the organizational structure is transformed into 4 divisions. The Material Handling and Mineral Processing divisions will be merged into a Minerals division. Cement and Customer Services will be maintained as separate divisions. A new Product Companies division will be created to foster globalisation and growth of FLSmidth's unique product brands.
20152015 began with the sale of all shares in Cembrit Holding A/S, one of Europe’s leading distributors and manufacturers of fibre-cement products, to Solix Group AB. The sale of Cembrit, which has been part of the FLSmidth Group since 1927, concludes FLSmidth's divestment of building materials companies, a process that started 10 years ago by the divestment of Aalborg Portland and Unicon.
In May, FLSmidth received an order for a cement plant in Vietnam. Once completed, the 12,000 tpd plant will be the largest cement plant in South East Asia with the most energy efficient equipment, state-of-the-art emission control and leading process control systems.
Also, 2013 saw the successful cooperation agreement between FLSmidth and world leader in catalysis Haldor Topsøe A/S, that marked the beginning of a joined global effort to commercialize a newly developed unique catalytic filter bag technology, used in the product branded EnviroTexTM
FLSmidth also signed a joint development agreement with BASF to expedite the commercialisation of the FLSmidth® Rapid Oxidative Leach process targeting difficult-to-process copper concentrates, such as primary sulphides and concentrates containing high levels of arsenic.
- 2005 - 2010
2006In January, FLSmidth was awarded a contract by Holcim to supply the world's biggest cement production line with a capacity of 12,000 tpd. The line was to be built at Ste. Genevieve, Missouri, USA.
FLSmidth's future ownership structure was finalised in 2006, when FLSmidth & Co. A/S and Potagua FLS A/S signed an agreement on a tax-exempt share exchange. The two companies subsequently merged with FLSmidth & Co. A/S as the continuing company.
2006 also brought in American Excel Foundry and Machine, Inc. and the remaining 49% of Excel Crusher Technology as well as German Koch Transporttechnik into the Group as part of its Minerals business.
20072007 marked the celebration of the FLSmidth Group's 125-year anniversary. Employee shares were granted to the Group's some 7,000 staff, and a unique customer seminar tour focused on the future of the cement industry.
2007 also saw the name change of FFE Minerals to FLSmidth Minerals and the acquisition of RAHCO International, an American manufacture of bulk material handling systems. Most important, however, was the acquisition of a world-leading provider of separation equipment for the metal and minerals industries - the process division of Canadian GL&V consisting of Dorr-Oliver Eimco and Krebs Engineers. This acquisition enabled FLSmidth Minerals to offer customers the entire flow sheet of a typical minerals plant from raw material extraction to the final end product.
Finally, the Group reached the final stages of its ongoing focusing on Cement and Minerals with the sale of Densit, one of the few remaining non-core activities, to Illinois Tool Works Inc.
2008In 2008, FLSmidth achieved its highest revenue and EBIT ever, but the year also showed the first signs of a global financial crisis.
During the year FLSmidth acquired three U.S.-based companies to support its Minerals business – Pneumapress Inc., Dawson Metallurgical Laboratories and CEntry. The acquisitions strengthened the company in becoming ‘One Source - One Partner’ in the minerals industries, offering leading full flow-sheet solutions and systems.
2008 was also the year when the Board of Directors adopted a Corporate Social Responsibility policy focusing on three major aspects of the Group’s activities: Business ethics, environmental policy and human resource policy.
2009FLSmidth successfully commissioned Holcim's Ste. Genevieve plant in Missouri, USA, the world's largest cement clinker production line with a capacity of 12,000 tpd.
In 2009, FLSmidth acquired two U.S. based companies – Conveyor Engineering and Summit Valley Equipment and Engineering – and EEL India Limited.
To further strengthen FLSmidth’s international presence, a global branding strategy was adopted in 2009 – "One Company - One Name - One Source" – with the aim of streamlining all external communication and marketing on a global level and supporting FLSmidth’s strategic position as a supplier of the whole value chain to the cement and minerals processing industries.
In line with this strategy and to provide customers with a simplified global overview of FLSmidth and create a more transparent Group structure, all subsidiaries and product companies changed their names to FLSmidth as at 1 January 2010.
2010FLSmidth received three major contracts for the operation and maintenance of cement plants. This is a new line of business, which entails complete responsibility for staffing, equipment maintenance and spare parts and technical support for an agreed time span and within agreed production targets.
FLSmidth acquired Roymec, a supplier of mining infrastructure including bulk material handling solutions. Roymec is an accredited contributor under South Africa's Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) Act.
Towards the end of the year, an offer was submitted to acquire ESSA Australia, which is a world leading specialist in the design, manufacture, support and service of sampling and sample preparation equipment for the international minerals and mining industry. The deal was finalised in 2011.
- 2000 - 2005
2000In 2000, FLSmidth launched the HOTDISC that burns all forms of solid waste from sludge or grains to huge used car tyres or large pieces of timber such as old telephone poles. The HOTDISC is a safe and economical way of turning useless and environmentally challenging solid waste into useful energy at cement plants, substituting a large part of their fossil fuel consumption. Today most new cement plants are pre-equipped for this technology.
2001During the 1990's, it had become increasingly difficult to continue to develop all the company’s business areas. It became clear that the conglomerate as a strategic concept was no longer viable. It was therefore decided to streamline and focus the Group and eventually dispose of its non-strategic interests.
Potagua A/S, FLSmidth's principal owner, who represented the founding families, announced at the end of 2001 that it did not consider itself the ideal majority shareholder of the Group in the long term. It proposed that a new Board of Directors be elected comprising mainly professional business people to steer the transition from conglomerate to core business.
This year also saw the merger of the two cement engineering companies, F.L.Smidth & Co A/S and Fuller Company, which until then had operated in parallel as two separate entities. The name of the new consolidated business became F.L.Smidth A/S.
Bhagwati Designs, an Indian engineering consultancy; MVT, a supplier of bulk material handling equipment; and Pfaff aqs, a German manufacturer of automatic sampling and sample handling equipment were acquired and joined the Group's cement engineering business.
2003Conveyor Kit, a South African materials handling equipment producer, is acquired by FFE Minerals.
2004Several structural changes took place. In January, the parent company of the Group, FLS Industries A/S, and its subsidiary, F.L.Smidth A/S were organisationally integrated.
In the first half of that year, FLS Aerospace was finally sold as part of the overall strategy to dispose of the Group’s non-strategic activities.
In line with the strategy to focus the Group’s activities on the development and production of equipment, production plants, systems and services for the global cement and minerals industries, Aalborg Portland Holding and Unicon were sold. This marked the end of an era of direct involvement in production of cement and concrete.
2005At the beginning of the year, FLS Industries A/S changed its name to FLSmidth & Co. A/S, signalling the final return to the Group's roots as an engineering company serving the cement and minerals industries.
FLSmidth further enhanced its SF Cross-Bar (SFC) clinker cooler technology with the Multi-Movable Cross-Bar (MMC) cooler. The SFC, which was introduced in 1997, had revolutionised the way in which clinker coolers were installed, operated, and maintained. The new MMC reduced maintenance and installation costs for both new and retrofit applications. The new cooler also increased kiln run factor, provided low long-term maintenance costs, and optimal heat recuperation.
The 70s, 80s and 90s – Growing into a large international conglomorate
In the last part of the 20th century, FLSmidth retains its market share in the cement industry by developing new and enhancing existing technologies while at the same time diversifying into other business areas.
The FLS Group acquired Fuller Company and established the F.L.Smidth-Fuller Engineering Group. After the acquisition, two separate minerals processing divisions were formed: Fuller MPD and FLSmidth MPD.
In 1997, the two divisions, Fuller MPD and FLSmidth MPD, were merged into one single company, FFE Minerals. Moreover, Valby Machinery Works was separated from F.L.Smidth & Co. to merge with MAAG Gear, now 80 per cent owned by the F.L.Smidth-Fuller Engineering Group.
Other new companies joined the Group, including Pfister, Möller Materials Handling, Vecor, Abon Engineering and Buffalo. The latter acquisitions particularly strengthen the minerals division of the Group.
In the same year, FLSmidth contracts to build the world's first 10,000 tpd kiln at Siam City Cement Company in Thailand.
1998In 1998, FLSmidth introduces the SF Cross-Bar cooler based on the concept of fixed grates, separates clinker conveying through cross-bars and air flow control through mechanical flow regulators.
The worldwide economic recession that began in the early 1980s caused a slump in the cement machinery market. Tenders fell to less than half, competition among the machinery suppliers became fierce, and prices and profits plummeted.
Nevertheless, F.L.Smidth managed to retain its market share, in some areas even increase it. The organisation was streamlined and measures were taken to develop technologies and products and to enhance service and sales in the Company's main market: the cement industry.
Against this background, FLSmidth introduced the ATOX vertical mill. The mill combined the grinding, separation and drying processes into a single unit. To date, FLSmidth has sold more than 300 ATOX mills.
FLSmidth's cement business was widened at an early stage to include a number of related activities. The Group's involvement in such diverse lines of business as machinery manufacture, packaging production and insurance was prompted by a desire to ensure satisfactory quality and reliability of sub-suppliers and products.
Through acquisitions, non-core activities had gradually grown to two-thirds of Group sales. It was therefore decided to form a new parent company, FLS Industries A/S, to control the some 125 companies in the Group.
The Group was restructured in an attempt to keep a full view of all the activities. The activities was separated into seven sectors:
- Building materials
- International investments
The seven sectors mirrored the strategy in place at the time of investing in areas where the Group had a strong position and selling off companies to buyers who had a better opportunity to further develop the activities.
- During the seventies, FLSmidth reinforced its position as a technological leader. The company introduced new machines and processes that ensured high cement quality, low energy costs, reliability in operation and environmental compatibility.
The new century – through war-time crises with a focus on diversification and R&DTechnologically, FLSmidth was clearly in the lead. Its first orders from the Scandinavian cement industry were followed by assignments in Central Europe, Russia, Great Britain, North and South America.
- FLSmidth during War time
World War 1
The outbreak of World War 1 put a sudden stop to FLSmidth’s expansion. Denmark was partly cut off from the outside world.
To maintain its staff in Copenhagen, the company embarked upon a wide range of activities, for example developing cement-making machinery for use in other, similar industries.
FLSmidth & Co. diversified into new markets in the minerals industry including pyro processing technologies for pulp and paper production, lime and dolomite calcination and metallurgical beneficiation.
Between the Wars
At the end of the War, FLSmidth was well placed to penetrate new markets. A number of technical innovations were launched, including the TIRAX mill, the UNAX cooler and the SYMETRO gear. These machines and products greatly streamlined production at cement plants. They boosted FLSmidth's position as an international market leader.
Following the company's international success, FLSmidth expanded. A number of subsidiaries emerged: Unicon (concrete), Dansk Eternit (fibre cement), Bates (cement bags) and Faxe Kalk (lime quarry).
In 1925, FLSmidth & Co. was registered on the Danish Stock Exchange as a public limited company (A/S).
World War 2Already in 1938, the company's management anticipated, that war was imminent and took action to ensure the continuation of the business. During the war, management of the Group's activities was transferred to the offices in New York and London. Several hundreds of thousands of machine and layout drawings were sent to the US office. This way, it was possible to maintain contact with overseas customers while Denmark was occupied.
After the WarThe reconstruction effort after the War created a strong demand for the company's machinery. By the time of its 75th anniversary in 1957, FLSmidth machinery accounted for 40 per cent of all cement production in the whole world.
The favourable market trends continued until the early 1960s when international competition began to make itself felt.
- The 19th century - the humble beginning of FLSmidth
The firm made good progress. It specialized in machinery for the brick and tile industry and received its first major contract for the design of a Danish tile works based on new burning and drying techniques that made it possible to operate a tile works all year round.
Two engineers, Poul Larsen and Alexander Foss, who had been working for the firm for a couple of years, became partners in the business, which changed name to F.L.Smidth & Co.
Through its involvement in the tile and brick making industry, the firm had made contacts in the cement industry and was awarded a contract for a cement plant near Limhamn in Sweden.
The staff continued to grow and the business moved to Vestergade in central Copenhagen, which remained its location until 1956 when it moved to the present headquarters at Valby.
F.L.Smidth & Co. established the Aalborg Portland Cement Plant in Denmark, which enabled the firm to make thorough studies of all stages of the cement manufacturing process and become a leader in technical innovation. The plant also served as a test facility for new machinery.
F.L.Smidth & Co. opened an office in London. In the following years, offices opened in Paris (1893), New York (1895), Berlin (1901) and other cities. Within a short time span, F.L.Smidth & Co. managed to become a worldwide business.
The firm acquired the rights to a new mill type, the tube mill, from the French/Danish inventor. After being thoroughly redesigned and refined, the tube mill influenced the cement industry in the coming century.
After being redesigned, the tube mill became so popular that it was sold all over the world already before the turn of the century.
In the USA, the cement industry used oil to heat the more flexible and greater capacity horizontal rotary kilns. After considerable redesign work, F.L.Smidth introduced the coal-fired rotary kiln on the European market.
Together, the tube mill and the rotary kiln revolutionized cement production.
F.L.Smidth has since sold over 2000 units of the rotary kiln worldwide, the design of which is continuously being improved to attain ever-higher levels of heat and energy efficiency as well as productivity.
- January 1882 - the founding year
- Frederik Læssøe Smidth sets up business as a consulting engineer. A single room of his mother's apartment in Copenhagen, Denmark, housed his modest "Technical Bureau" that dealt with steam engines and mill machinery.