Opcon was formed in 1986. Up to the end of 2012, when the Engine Efficiency business area was sold, the Opcon Group rested on three industrial bases of which compressor technology and ignition systems both have a history with roots going back to the early 20th century.
SRM, which became a key part of the Group after its acquisition in 2004, was formed in 1908 as AB Ljungströms Ångturbin to develop the twin-rotating steam turbine invented by Birgir Ljungström and which was later sold to the current turbine producer, Siemens Industrial Turbo Machinery AB.
In 2008 Svenska Rotor Maskiner (SRM), Opcon’s development centre for compressor technology, celebrated 100 years of industrial development of technology for efficient and resource-effective use of energy.
Over the past century, Svenska Rotor Maskiner has developed a series of products for the global market, including Ljungström’s air preheater from the 1920s, which in the 1990s was selected as a landmark invention by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. It made a major contribution to increasing the efficiency of large power stations.
Compressor technology since 1930s
Since the 1930s compressor technology has been continually developed and major licensees include Atlas Copco, Hitachi, IR, Carrier, York, Trane, Kobelco, etc. Today Svenska Rotor Maskiner is a key part of Opcon’s Renewable Energy business area’s focus on recycling waste heat using Opcon Powerbox.
Up until the acquisition of Svenska Rotor Maskiner, the core of Opon’s business was based on almost 100 years of experience of producing ignition systems, transformers and electromagnets. The foundations were laid in connection with the First World War when imports of ignition systems for cars and boats were stopped. Production of these systems started in Åmål in 1915 at Aktiebolaget Svenska Elektromagneter, now called SEM.
Production of ignition devices, mainly for boats, continued until the 1970s when the electronics revolution started.
Since then, electronic ignition systems for vehicles and small motors have dominated production at SEM. These systems, with their innovative technology and high ignition voltage were a key factor in enabling Saab’s ethanol engines to be among the first to start in freezing conditions. SEM’s innovative capability and its flexibility explain why the company was chosen to develop and produce core components for the Scania-Cummins XPI system for new diesel engines that meet stricter emissions targets.
Opcon is founded
In 1986 the company Opcon AB was founded.
In 1997 activities at SEM AB were divided between two companies. SEM focused on ignition systems and formed the principal operation within the Engine Efficiency business area, which has now been sold. The other company, REAC AB, focused on electrical actuators, which were the main product of the Mobility Products business area, now phased out.
In 1998 Opcon was listed on the current Nasdaq OMX Stockholm (Small Cap list) exchange.
In 2002-2005 Opcon reported major losses, partly due to restructuring and decommissioning costs.
In 2004 Svenska Rotor Maskiner (SRM) AB and Lysholm Technologies AB were acquired.
Energy and environmental technology
In 2005-2007 Opcon performed a financial and strategic turnaround, implementing a new or- ganizational structure. The business focused on energy and environmental technology, and expanded organically and through strategic acquisitions.
In 2007 Opcon acquired Svensk Rökgasenergi (SRE), REF Tech and Mitec. In 2008 Värmlands Montage Teknik and Balle were acquired, and in 2009 Saxlund Holding AB was acquired while Lysholm Technologies AB was sold. the acquisitions have contributed to the creation of a comprehensive product platform and an improved, global sales organisation.
To further refine the Group’s focus on energy and environmental technology the Mobility Products business area was wound up in 2010 and REAC and Balle were sold.
In 2011 Opcon acquired the remaining 25 percent of shares in Saxlund International GmbH, Germany, to give Opcon 100 percent ownership of the company. The acquisition also meant that Opcon increased its ownership in Saxlund International Ltd of the UK, and Saxlund International Corp, USA, from 79.5 percent to 90 percent.
In 2012 Lloyd’s Register approved two pilot installations of Opcon Powerbox generating electricity from waste heat onboard a Wallenius vessel, which was essential for the continued commercialisation of Opcon Powerbox on the marine market.
In November 2012 Opcon sold its Engine Efficiency business area, comprising SEM AB and SEM Technology Suzhou Co., Ltd. Opcon has developed into a refined energy and environmental technology group, specialised on the development of technology within renewable energy such as waste heat and bioenergy.
Opcon today – an energy and environmental technology Group
The sale of the Engine Efficiency business area in 2012 brought to a conclusion Opcon’s refinement over many years of the Group’s operations to focus on technology for renewable energy and Waste to Value. Today Opcon focuses on two principal areas within its Renewable Energy business area: Waste Heat Recovery and Bioenergy.
– Activities within Waste Heat Recovery cover the development, production and marketing of Opcon Powerbox for the production of carbon-free electricity from waste and surplus heat in the form of hot water or wet steam in industrial applications, combined power and heat generation and shipping.
– Activities within Bioenergy cover development, design, production and marketing of products and systems under three well-established brands:
Saxlund: bioenergy-powered combined power and heat plants, incineration plants and handling systems for biofuel, sludge, etc.
SRE Renergi: cleaning and improved energy efficiency for biofuel-powered district heating plants, sawmills, pellets plants and commercial greenhouses, flue gas condensation equipment for industrial operations and drying of biomass.
SRM: handling systems for natural gas, industrial cooling and air systems for fuel cells.
Opcon’s operation areas are based on Svenska Rotor Maskiner’s (SRM) compressor technology, Svensk Rökgasenergi’s (SRE) flue gas condensation technology and Saxlund’s bioenergy technology.