This September, Atlas Copco Construction Tools, Essen, Germany, celebrated the 50th anniversary of the introduction of the hydraulic breaker. An innovative idea which originated in the German city of Essen half-a-century ago has transformed the construction and mining industries and is now a worldwide standard.
Krupp Berco Bautechnik, acquired by Atlas Copco in 2002, developed the rig-mounted hydraulic breaker and took out a patent in 1963. The first machine, the HM 400, attracted huge interest at the Hannover fair in 1967 and more than 2,000 units were sold. The aim of this tool was to save time and labour in demolition and mining operations where, at that time, pneumatic tools were widely used, and the new concept was highly successful. It meant that one person operating a rig-mounted hydraulic breaker could do the same amount of work as several operators with pneumatic tools.