History

1941

The beginning

Our story begins in Sweden in 1941. Its main protagonist is the engineer Jan Dellner. Over the years, Jan had made a name for himself in Sweden, as an expert in and salesman of railway couplings. One of his most important business partners is the Swedish State Railways (SJ)- Sweden’s most important rail operator.

In 1941, SJ makes him an offer that is going to change his future forever: Swedish State Railways asks him if he could be their new supplier of  automatic couplers for SJ trains. Automatic couplers were highly innovative at the time. Jan Dellner agrees and eventually develops the first automatic coupler “Made in Sweden” with his “Dellner Engineering Office”.

Coupler history
1948

First foreign order

After the war, the capacities to produce couplers in Europe are still very limited. As the Jan Dellner Engineering Office had established itself beyond the borders of Sweden as a producer of railway couplers, Jan Dellner obtains his first foreign order in 1948: the supply of 360 couplers for the Warsaw railway system in Poland.

1952

Runnvika Mechanical Workshops

The post-war period in Europe is marked by reconstruction. The railways play a major role in this process. This also applies to the coupling market: Jan Dellner’s Engineering Office grows and is renamed Runnvika Mekaniska Verkstads AB.

This name also refers to the place we’ve called home since we were founded: the small Vika community  by lake Runn in the Swedish Dalarna province. While our head office remains in Vika to this day, the company is renamed several times in the following years: before becoming Dellner Couplers AB, the company also traded under the names Jan Dellner & Co. AB and AB Dellner Malmco.

1956

Success with individual designs

In the 1950s, diesel and electric locomotives increasingly replaced steam power, which was more and more considered outdated technology. The demand for train couplers is also growing steadily. In the 1950s Jan Dellner establishes the company as an automatic couplers producer throughout Europe.

Dellner couplers are now supplied with various designs from the company’s own design office to meet customers’ specific requirements. Major international customers during this period include the French state railroad SNCF, the Paris Metro, the Italian state railroad FS and the Rome Metro.

1960

Start of the contract period

In the 1960s, many railroad companies begin to modernize their fleets more and more. 1960 is also the year when Jan Dellner changes his company strategy: for the next few years, he concentrates on supplying the Scandinavian and North American markets with automatic couplers. In the following years, AB Dellner Malmco expands its position in the Scandinavian market and begins to gain a foothold in North America, initially with a small subsidiary.

Dellner headquarters Sweden
1983

A new era

After years of gradual growth, Dellner has about 90 employees in the early 1980s. Most of them work at the company’s headquarters in Vika, with a few at subsidiaries in Bridgeport, USA, and Mississauga, Canada. In 1983, the company faces another turning point: Dellner decides to expand its market position across the globe as a well established automatic couplers manufacturer in the railway industry.

As a result of this important step Dellner becomes a worldwide producer of railway couplings. AB Dellner Malmco is renamed Dellner Couplers AB and the company’s journey to becoming a leading supplier of train coupling systems picks up speed. One year later, we open our first Service Center in continental Europe in Oberderdingen, Germany.

Gas hydraulic damper
1985

Focus on safety

In the eighties and nineties, railway traffic worldwide experiences a new wave of modernization. Following the example of the Japanese high-speed train Shinkansen -which  started its maiden voyage in 1964 -train traffic is focussed around higher performance. As a result, Train Connection Systems are becoming increasingly important for train traffic’s  functioning and safety.

Our engineers react to this development at an early stage and in 1985 we are the first manufacturer to launch a gas-hydraulic damper integrated into the coupler. It enables the individual coupler optimisation and sets a new standard in train safety technology.

Deformation tube behind pivot anchor
1993

From couplers to coupling systems

Safety plays an increasingly important role in the following years. Couplers are not just isolated components for connecting trains’, they must be considered as an integral part of the train system.

A deformation tube behind the pivot anchor is launched by Dellner Couplers AB in 1993 – a compact solution that greatly improves energy absorption and creates space for anti-climbers and side buffers. The success of the product shows us how important intelligently designed Train Connection Systems are for the future of rail transport.

1997

New markets, new employees

In the wake of the fall of the Iron Curtain, new markets and opportunities open up in Eastern Europe. In 1997 we start servicing couplers from the Polish EZTs and at the same time open our first subsidiary in Gdynia in the Northen Poland. It becomes an important chapter in our company’s history: in the years to come, Poland becomes our most important pillar for the service and production of railway couplings outside Sweden. In 1999 the first Dellner subsidiary is opened in France.

Type 12
1998

Introduction of the Mechanical Head Type 12

Dellner storms the railway market with the development of the mechanical head type 12 for automatic couplers. The completely newly developed 1-position coupler head has a force level of 1500/1000 kN and will become one of Dellner’s unique selling points in the automatic train coupler market in the years to come.

2001

Our couplers become modular

The year 2001 marks the kickstart of a project whose fruits have become one of the most important trademarks of Dellner couplers today: their modular design. In the following years we redesigned all parts of the couplers piece by piece and from 2004 were able to offer our customers the first well-functioning modular system, which we have continued to develop over the years. For our customers, the concept has many benefits, such as better spare parts availability and competitive maintenance costs.

2003

Innovation in the sign of growth

At the beginning of the new millennium, Dellner Couplers AB is on a steady growth path. In 2003, we launch the first multiplied deformation tubes, which allow the impact energy to be more efficiently distributed in the train set and which become an important part of our Crash Energy Management System. In the same year, we also expand our product portfolio by acquiring Precima, a Swedish specialist in dampers and buffers. Under the name Dellner Dampers, the new sister company will develop and produce important components such as hydraulic dampers, buffers and deformation tubes for the group.

With the expansion to China in 2003 we also drive the company’s globalisation efforts: in September Dellner Train Connection Systems (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. is listed in the Chinese commercial register. In the following years, we continuously expand our business in China as a supplier for various subsidiaries of the China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC) at a total of three locations.

2009

From coupler specialist to system integrator

In addition to couplers and dampers, gangways were also part of our product portfolio from 2009. This is made possible by the acquisition of the Woodville Polymer Group, founded in 1948 in Great Britain. This step enables Dellner Couplers AB to become the world’s leading system integrator for Train Connection Systems.

Under the umbrella of the Dellner Group, the gangway business is further developed, and as an initial milestone we introduce the first pannelled gangway in 2014.

2009

On the way to becoming a global company

2009 also marks the beginning of another Dellner success story: the establishment of our subsidiary in India. The subcontinent has become increasingly crucial over the years. Today, India is not only an important market for Dellner, but also one of our most important production sites for couplers and gangways with its own engineering team.

At the end of the decade, Dellner Couplers AB employs about 500 people worldwide. The company is in transition into a global player in the railway business. After the USA, Germany, Poland, France and China, Dellner now also has its own locations in the UK and India. Australia (2010), Italy (2011), Brazil and Singapore (2012), Argentina and Malaysia (2018) will follow in the following years. By 2020, Dellner will employ over 1000 people worldwide.

2013

Crash Energy Management System

In passenger transport, safety is the number one priority. In the event of serious accidents, Train Connection Systems can absorb a large part of the resulting forces and thus make an important contribution to the  train and passengers’s safety.

In 2013, we introduce integrated Crash Energy Management to optimise this capability: at its heart this is customised software developed by us, with which we can simulate coupling, towing, snatch and crash scenarios. In this way, we can build the perfect coupling system for each train.

Double Acting Damper
2016

Introduction of the Double Acting Damper

The Double Acting Damper is a gas hydraulic damper that is active in both buff and draft. It not only improves passenger train safety; it is also lighter, more stable and more cost-effective than alternative solutions. With this innovative development, we consolidated our leading position in the global train coupler market.

2017

Under the spotlight of digitalization

As we enter the twentieth century, digitalisation is becoming a hot topic in the rail industry. It is affecting rail transport on many levels: from traffic management systems communication, safety and entertainment systems on trains, to intelligent coupling systems and train maintenance supported by artificial intelligence. This development gives new importance to coupling systems: they become an essential interface for the digitalization of train traffic.

In 2017, we bring high-speed Ethernet to almost every train with the release of the DEX500 Power Line Modem. This is followed the next year by the introduction of an intelligent remote diagnostics system for measuring the safety and reliability of Train Connection Systems under the name DXM -Dellner ConneXion & Monitoring. With DXM, train operators can remotely access and analyze a train’s operating data to improve the safety and reliability of their trains.

2019

New owner and transformation to a sustainable company

In April 2019, Dellner Couplers AB passes from the hands of the Dellner family to the ownership of the investment group EQT. This organization is the ideal owner of the Dellner Group: as it is part of EQT’s approach to invest in companies with positive social impact, driving progress on one or more of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

As the world’s leading manufacturer of Train Connection Systems that supports the global operation and development of sustainable public rail transport, Dellner fits this profile perfectly. At the same time, EQT is helping Dellner to further support the transformation to a sustainable business across the company.

Dellner DAC
2020

Partner of the European DAC Delivery Programme

In 2014, a decision at the administrative level sets a sustainable course for freight transport in Europe: the EU launches a public-private partnership called Shift2Rail. A central component of the initiative is the retrofitting of freight trains with a new type of intelligent Digital Automatic Couplers (DAC). Dellner becomes one of the official members of the Shift2Rail initiative.

To support the shift to sustainable train transport, we start developing a digital coupler. After years of improvement and testing, in 2020 we finally become one of five officially approved partners of the European DAC Delivery Programme. The goal of the program is ambitious: by 2030, the aim is to upgrade all freight trains in Europe to Digital Automatic Couplers.

2020

The biggest Dellner coupler production site in the world

In the end of 2020, after 23 years of business in Poland, our subsidiary moves into its new premises in Miszewko. The location combines all departments on an area of 57,000 square metres and has the world’s largest production and service facility for train couplers. 

Articulation joint energy absorption
2021

Newly developed Articulation Joint

In 2021, we launch the completely redesigned articulation joint for boogies and trains, developed by our engineers.  One of the design objectives was to reduce the weight compared to alternative solutions.  As a result, our articulated joints are some of the smallest and lightest coupling modules currently available on the market. It is supplied as a customised solution for new and existing train and bogie interfaces and is easy to install.

2021

On track for growth

At the beginning of 2021, Dellner Couplers AB acquires the coupling business of the Spanish technology group CAF Miira. This step further strengthens our position in the international market for Train Connection Systems.