The large Danfoss refrigeration valve factory in South Jutland, founded in 1933 by Mads Clausen, is a leading representative of the specialised export-oriented company that was the ideal during the third wave of industrialisation. Today, the loft of the family farm and the old factory have been preserved alongside the modern production plant.
Farmer's son becomes large-scale manufacturer
Danfoss on North Als was founded in 1933 by a farmer's son called Mads Clausen. It took the company just a few decades to grow from very modest roots producing thermostats and refrigeration valves into one of Denmark's largest businesses. In 2007, Danfoss had about 6,000 employees in Denmark and about 14,000 abroad.
Today, you can follow the company's development from the family farm and old factory to the state-of-the-art production facility.
Production line work in demand
Danfoss is a textbook example of the changes in the widespread iron and metal industry in the 1950s and 1960s, when new production lines and assembly lines were introduced inspired by American models.
Characteristically, the companies focused on a few products that were mass produced, whereas the old machineworks in the 1800s usually made a bit of everything from water pipes to turning lathes.
These changes were nothing new in themselves, but they became more common after 1945 when people generally thought that standardised mass production in large facilities was rational and promoted growth in the country's gross domestic product, GDP. The GDP concept, which was introduced after 1945, described the country's overall output.
USA as a model
Danfoss is also an example of the new industrial architecture that featured building large one-storey buildings with saw-toothed roofs. The engineers and architects at that time thought that assembly-line production was best facilitated in large single-storey factories.
The role models were US car factories, which the manufacturers, engineers and architects could more easily study after the war ended in 1945.The management of Danfoss too took a study trip to USA to pick up the ideas.
Als – a magnet for business
Danfoss is a very good example of industrial growth outside the metropolitan area and the major provincial towns. The industrial centre of gravity had been shifted from Copenhagen to Jutland. This trend had been under way for years in the many towns along the railway but became especially obvious in the 1950s and 1960s.
The workforce at Danfoss swelled from about 300 to about 3,000 between 1947 and 1958. In a few years, the company had grown from a one-man company into an international group, which left its stamp on the small South Jutland island of Als, and its infrastructure, roads and housing had to keep pace.
From Copenhagen to Jutland
Danfoss is an example of the considerable growth in the iron and metal industry after World War II. This growth was based largely on specialisation and exports, and was characteristic of the predominant ideal during the third wave of industrialisation.
Danfoss' rapid growth is reflected in the preserved production buildings. The company also had an indirect impact on the buildings on large areas of Als.
The company's present strategy is to continue producing valves, thermostats and heat pumps that are as energy-saving and eco-friendly as possible. It has set its sights on the American market because the US is not as advanced in green technologies.
The corporate strategy is supported by significant research efforts both at Danish universities and within the company itself. The Danfoss Universe department, which is a visitors' centre for schoolchildren, is another example of the company's investment in education and knowledge.
Danfoss Universe also includes the Danfoss Museum, where the story of Mads Clausen and the company is brought to life.
HEAR THE SOUND OF DANFOSS
Danfoss has been selected as a national industrial heritage site because it:
• has directly and indirectly left its mark on the buildings throughout Als
• is a symbol of how Denmark's industrial centre of gravity shifted from towns to the countryside and from Copenhagen to Jutland
• is a leading representative of the specialist and export-oriented company that was the ideal during the third wave of industrialisation
TIME LINE – DANFOSS