A multi-brand company
1984-1996: Development of the tools business
In addition to the two heavy weight operations, Mining and Construction Technique and Airpower, both world leaders in their fields, there was the relatively small tools business area. Wachtmeister considered this third leg of Atlas Copco’s operations to have a lot of potential.
In 1984 Michael Treschow was appointed General Manager of Atlas Copco Tools AB. Treschow quickly laid the groundwork for powerful expansion in the up-and-coming Industrial Technique business area. Via strategic acquisitions, Atlas Copco´s position was strengthened in the American, French, and British markets.
In 1987 the Chicago Pneumatic Tool Co. was acquired. Chicago Pneumatic had a very strong position in American industry and automotive workshops, and Atlas Copco became the world's largest manufacturer of compressed air tools and assembly systems. The following year, French-based SA Ets Georges Renault, a manufacturer of industrial tools – in particular grinding and sanding machines, as well as small assembly systems - was acquired.
In 1990 Desoutter Brothers Plc was acquired. Desoutter has a broad base in industrial tools and assembly units and it brought about synergy in technical development, manufacturing and distribution.
The electric tool manufacturers AEG Elektrowerkzeuge and Milwaukee Electric Tools were acquired in 1992 and 1995, respectively.
The newly acquired companies all had well-known brand names in their home markets and Atlas Copco's management wanted to preserve the value of the different brands. Therefore the acquired companies were encouraged to maintain their own profiles to give customers the widest range of choices in the same market segment. The Industrial Technique business area was developed with a conscious multi-brand strategy.
When Michael Treschow succeeded Tom Wachtmeister as President and CEO in 1991, the multibrand strategy was consolidated in the whole company.
Acquisitions within the Construction and Mining Technique sector successively incorporated several strong brand names into the product line. The Group strived to add complementary products that widened the choices available to Atlas Copco´s customers. The most notable acquisitions included Secoroc drill steels, Craelius prospecting equipment and Wagner loaders and trucks. Later, they all were branded Atlas Copco.
Several important innovations were made during this period; the ErgoPulse hydraulic impulse nutrunner, the Coprod system, an innovation which provides an important increase in drilling productivity for large hole sizes, the electric nutrunner, Tensor S, and the energy efficient Variable Speed Drive (VSD) compressor.