Huddig AB was founded in 1959 when former locomotive engineer, John Sonerud, together with his three brothers and three Norwegian stakeholders, formed the company, Svenska Hymas AB. The Norwegians were soon bought out by the Sonerud brothers, and the business idea then became to produce and adapt digger units for mounting on agricultural tractors. In 1959, Huddig AB employed eight people.
New Products, New Partners, New Owners
Continuous product development during the 1970’s resulted in new and improved equipment - the knuckle boom, the boom sleeve, and the mechanical quick mount, for example. Collaboration with the Finnish company, Valmet, was commenced. The Hudiksvall factory utilised a stripped Valmet chassis for its own conversion and superstructure.
In 1972, a merger was formed with Bröderna Lundbergs Mekaniska Verkstad in Skellefteå. The aim was to increase export. The number of employees in 1975 had risen to nearly 140.
From 1974 to 1986, all Volvo BM 616/642 backhoe loaders were manufactured at the Hudiksvall factory. The machines were basically a Volvo tractor chassis that were built up with Hymas backhoe and loader units, as well as a cab. During the 1970’s, an estimated three-quarters of Sweden’s tractor backhoes were manufactured in Hudiksvall.
The Factory Under the Axe
In the autumn of 1981 came the shocking news – the factory in Hudiksvall was going to be closed. The background leading up to this decision was the fact that the Volvo factories were working well below capacity. This situation led to the signing of a five-year phase-out agreement in 1979 with Lundbergs, who eventually decided to resolve the problem by closing the Hudiksvall factory and moving production to Skellefteå.
This announcement and the crisis that followed created a strong sense of unity and will to survive among the 150 employees at the factory. They decided to create an employee-owned company. To spur them on, they had invested their own capital – around 600 000 SEK – and, above all, they had the contract with Volvo BM, which was included in the formation of the new company. On 1 January 1982, the employees took over the ownership and operation of the factory, whose name then became Hudiksvalls Mekaniska AB.
Work to develop a backhoe loader protype began immediately. The result was an advanced, powerful articulated backhoe loader in the 10-tonne class – the Huddig 960. The new machine was premiered in May 1983 at Elmia Wood where it met with great success. In the autumn of 1983, series production of this machine was started, with two machines being produced per week.
Big Brother and Little Brother
In 1986, the company decided to develop a backhoe loader prototype in the seven-tonne class – the Huddig 760. This machine was created with the need for a compact, but powerful machine in mind. During its entire existence, it has functioned as a complement to its “big brother” – the Huddig 960 – and has strongly contributed to the establishment of Huddig machines as the “Rolls Royce” of the backhoe loader market.
Growth and Stability
The years from 2001 to 2007 were very positive regarding the further development of Huddig. Sales increased and new order placement became stronger than ever. The Huddig machines became bestsellers in several new export markets. Volume growth was 15-20 % annually.
In 2005, a three-year quality project called FoOus commenced, the goal of which was to increase quality in all areas within the company. A strong financial position allowed the company the opportunity of acquiring the factory property outright and to invest in the workshop. In 2008, a new development workshop of 650 square meters was constructed. The same year, the largest investment ever was also made – the purchase of a five-axis CNC-driven converting machine for 12.5 million SEK.
In 2009, Huddig AB celebrated 50 years in the business with customer activities in Hudiksvall. Also in 2009, Huddig AB launched the conceptual machine, the specially-equipped 1260B called “Muddy Mary”. This machine is equipped with special tracks which make it able to work on ground with poor weight-bearing capacity.