On May 19, 1967, Holmatro starts its activities as N.V. Holmatra Industrial Equipment, exclusively representing Meiji spray painting equipment for the Netherlands and Germany. Holmatra, Holland Machine Trading, is established in a refurbished store in the center of Woerden (NL) by its founders, Mr. Wessels and Mr. Nöllen. It wasn’t until 1970 that the first full-time employee is hired: Chris ‘Kick’ Schütz.
Holmatra exhibited strong growth due to the great demand from the shipbuilding sector for hydraulic cylinders and pumps. The equipment, most of which had to come from Japan, was difficult to obtain. Therefore, Holmatra decided to start producing a few cylinder types with the machine manufacturer Cruquius, which also made hydraulic jacks. From that point on, the hydraulic cylinders were sold under the name of ‘Holmatra Hydraulics’.
The Netherlands Sales department, a warehouse and the workshop are located in a cheese store in Woerden. In addition, there are two storage locations at Van Gend and Loos transport company in Rotterdam. Exporting and purchasing as well as commercial printing is arranged from the home address of co-founder Wessels in Breda.
When the owner of machine manufacturer Cruquius announced he wants to cease the production, Holmatra decides to set up its own production company. A suitable factory building is found on Moerlaken street in Breda. Several Cruquius employees join the new company. On March 23, 1974, ‘Holmatra Hydraulics B.V.’ is officially opened.
In the mid-1970s, Holmatra is growing at a fast rate, which results in one relocation after another. It is decided to construct an office building including warehouse on Lissenveld street in Raamsdonksveer, parallel to the A27 highway. The grand opening of the building took place on October 30, 1976.
One of Holmatra’s customers in the shipbuilding industry, who is also a member of the volunteer fire department, points out the fact that tremendously heavy hydraulic rescue tools are used in firefighting. By making use of high-pressure hydraulics, Holmatra could produce light, compact cylinders, so the question naturally became: is the company also capable to make lighter and more compact rescue tools?
Holmatra introduces the first rescue tool – the cutters – at the exhibition Europort in 1977. Two years later, the first complete rescue tool program, the 1000 series, is released on the Dutch market during the Netherlands’ International Fire Department Exhibition.
At the Hannover Messe industrial exhibition, there is a conflict about the Holmatra brand name. Matra- Werke, a trading company in hydraulic equipment from Frankfurt, filed a complaint against Holmatra that leads to the brand name change of ‘Holmatra’ into ‘Holmatro’.
Because it was much more efficient to serve the American market from the United States, Holmatro incorporated USA was founded on July 1, 1984. Sales activities start in a small office in Severna Park, Maryland.
The 2nd generation rescue tools, the 2000 series, is released.
Due to the enormous growth of Holmatro USA it is decided in 1988 to build a factory in Baltimore. This enables Holmatro USA to independently meet the demand in North and Central America.
On January 1, 1991, Mr. Meijer was appointed Managing Director of the Dutch offices. Quick work was made of the further merger of the office and the factory under his management, and the business was separated into the divisions of Industrial Equipment and Rescue Equipment.
Introduction of the Holmatro Personal Power concept for improved ergonomics: One man, one pump, one tool.
Holmatro USA continues its rapid expansion. In September 1997, the company moves to its current location in Glen Burnie, Maryland, where a new production facility was constructed to increase the sales, based on a "Made in USA" strategy.
At the trade show Gifa ’99 in Düsseldorf, Germany, Holmatro introduces its new foundry wedge, a tool that combines unique performance and optimum ergonomics. Never before was it possible to remove feeders and risers from castings this quickly and easily. Therefore Holmatro customers were very enthusiastic about this new development.
In that same year we also introduce the Holmatro PowerShore; hydraulic shoring struts allowing a combination of shoring and lifting.
Holmatro Polska is born. Heavy industry, such as shipbuilding, was slowly moving from Western to Eastern Europe. In order to be closer to the end users, it is decided to establish a sales office for industrial tools in Poland. The official opening takes place on December 4, 2001.
Mr. Wessels, co-founder of Holmatro, passes away at the end of 2001 at the age of 67. He inspired many people with his slogan: “We are proud of our company, we are proud of our products, and we are proud of each other.”
The 3rd generation rescue tools, the 3000 series, is released later on that same year.
In the spring of 2003, Holmatro introduces a new line of industrial cutters for recycling and demolition purposes. The color of the cutters covers changes quickly from green to the characteristic Holmatro orange.
Holmatro also publishes a training program as a book titled Vehicle Extrication Techniques, later referred to as the VET book.
In the fall of 2004, Holmatro introduces the second generation New Car Technology cutters as NCT II. These cutters were adjusted in various ways for better cutting performance when applied to the latest car models.
In June of 2005, Holmatro sets the firefighting world abuzz with its groundbreaking new technologies and new 4000 series (4th generation) rescue tools at ‘Interschutz’ in Hannover, Germany. Game chaniging was Holmatro’s CORE Technology, in which the high-pressure hose is located within the return hose and both together form one hose, with only one coupler at the end instead of two. This technology would mean an enormous improvement in the areas of speed, safety and usability. The 4000-series rescue tools were standardly fitted with CORE Technology and provided with all kind of innovative features: LED lights in the carrying handle, a flat and improved central bolt named ‘i-Bolt’, and a ‘Speed Valve’ for quicker opening of spreaders and rams.
In September, Holmatro’s Rescue division organizes its largest-ever dealer training. No fewer than 160 dealers traveled to Raamsdonksveer to participate in an intensive educational program packed with theory and practicum. Three sessions of three days each were needed to be able to bring dealers up to speed on all subjects.
The new Holmatro branch office in China opens in a very traditional way on August 29.
On September 11, Holmatro opens its new headquarters and two imposing factory halls on Lissenveld street in Raamsdonksveer. The result is a stunning, modern office building comprising six floors and 11,000 square meters. The building features dozens of innovative sustainability solutions.
January 2010 Mr. Hermans was appointed CEO | President of the Holmatro Group.
On May 21, Holmatro opens its new sales office for Rescue in Nottingham, England.
Holmatro launches its Special Tactics line. The entire range for SWAT teams and other special police and army units is characterized by a striking appearance, quiet operation, high power, optimum portability and fast, easy use.
The division Holmatro China in Suzhou – a Wholly Foreign Owned Enterprise (WFOE) of Holmatro N.V. – is officially opened in 2012.
Holmatro is widely experienced and has a good reputation when it comes to customized industrial solutions for heavy lifting and movement. The time has come to officially go public with these innovations, under the name ‘Industrial Solutions’.
Holmatro launches its new 5000 series cutters and spreaders at Interschutz, world’s largest trade show of the fire-fighting industry.
Holmatro celebrates its 50th anniversary. The company now employs 350 employees and our products find their way to customers in more than 160 countries.
In 2017 Holmatro introduces a new revolution with its groundbreaking generation of cordless rescue tools; The EVO 3 range. The full range consists of battery-powered cutters, spreaders, combi tools and (telescopic) rams. Compared to the previous EVO range the new EVO 3 tools offer much more speed when it counts, i.e. when placed under high loads.