History

ABB is the product of many acquisitions and mergers, but primarily the 1988 coming together of ASEA and BBC, formerly known as Brown Boveri, two of the proudest and best known names in European electrical engineering history.

Milestones

Before the ASEA and BBC merger

ASEA

1986

ASEA employs 71,000 people and reported revenues of $6.8 billion and income after financial items of $370 million.

1978

ASEA launches one of the first industrial robots.

1972

ASEA builds the first nuclear power plant in Sweden and goes on to build nine of the country’s 12 reactors.

1963

ASEA achieves a major technological breakthrough with the introduction of an improved thyristor able to handle substantially more electrical current than existing devices.

1954

ASEA installs the world’s first HVDC transmission line, providing 20 MW, 100 kV to the Isle of Gotland over a distance of 96 km.

1953

ASEA is the first company in the world to manufacture synthetic diamonds.

1952

ASEA designs and installs the first 400 kV AC cable – a 70 m low pressure oil-filled (LPOF) cable connecting an underground power station (built to withstand an atomic bomb) to the Swedish grid.

1942

ASEA builds the world's first 120 MVA, 220 kV transformer in the Stockholm Elverks Värtanstation.

1932

ASEA builds the world’s largest self-cooling transformer rated at 2,500 kVA (kilovolt ampere).

1926

ASEA supplies locomotives and power converters for the new Stockholm to Gothenburg railway.

1893

ASEA builds the first three-phase transmission system in Sweden.

1890

Elektriska Aktiebolaget merges with Wenströms & Granströms Elektriska Kraftbolag to form Allmänna Svenska Elektriska Aktiebolaget, later shortened to ASEA.

1889

Jonas Wenström invents the three phase system for generators, transformers and motors.

1883

Ludvig Fredholm establishes Elektriska Aktiebolaget in Stockholm as manufacturers of electrical lighting and generators.

BBC

1986

BBC employs 97,000 people and reported revenues of $8.5 billion and an income after financial items of $132 million.

1984

Installation of the first of nine BBC generators in the world’s largest hydroelectric power station at Itaipú in South America.

1978

BBC starts production of bipolar semiconductors at its dedicated Lenzburg semiconductor facility.

1971

BBC builds the most powerful transformer in the world at 1,300 MVA (megavolt ampere).

1969

BBC develops the first gearless cement drive in the world.

1965

BBC builds the first 110 kV GIS (gas-insulated switchgear) allowing circuit breakers to operate safely in a confined space.

1953

The first data transmission at carrier frequency is performed by BBC over a 735 kV high-voltage line to the power station control unit.

1944

BBC develops the first high-speed locomotive with drive shafts fitted exclusively in bogies.

1943

BBC builds the first 110 kV high-speed air blast circuit breaker.

1939

BBC builds the first combustion gas turbine for generating electricity.

1933

BBC obtains the patent for turbine rotors constructed from individual steel disks that are welded together.

1901

BBC builds the first steam turbine in Europe.

1893

BBC supplies Europe’s first large-scale combined heat and power plant producing alternating current.

1891

Charles E. L. Brown and Walter Boveri establish Brown, Boveri & Cie in Baden, Switzerland. Shortly afterward, Brown, Boveri is the first company to transmit high-voltage power.