The Crystal Palace

The Crystal Palace in depth

Read about the years in depth.

Year 1915 - 1940

A / S Nordisk Aluminium Industri was established in Stavanger in 1917. The company was to process raw aluminium from A / S Høyangfaldene. As a world first, Nordisk was to produce semi-finished products in the form of strips for the canning industry. The goal was to replace tin cans with aluminium packaging.

It soon proved that the metal reacted with the contents, making the cans bulge. The problem was difficult to solve, and the scientific community in Norway was small. Holmestrand was an exception. A / S Sveiseverket had extensive experience in metalworking, which was why Nordisk was moved to Holmestrand in 1919.

Meanwhile, further research on the "Canning matter" was undertaken, and kitchenware, milk buckets and electric cables were produced. The HØYANG brand was launched in 1921.

The American company Alcoa entered the ownership side in 1923. A / S Høyangfaldene changed its name to the Norwegian Aluminium Company (Naco). The Canadian company Alcan procured Alcoa’s shares in 1923. In the mid-1930s, Nordisk managed to develop a process for degreasing and anodising canning strips. It gave the metal a protective layer against "aggressive" foods.

There was great scepticism towards the anodised aluminium cans in Norway, but they were successful in the export market and particularly well received in the US and the UK. The new process also laid the foundation for producing sheets for trams, trains, boats and aircraft, as well as large tanks for various purposes.

The technology became important for the post-war development of building products. It is a core business today.

Year 1940 - 1945

During the occupation, Nordisk mainly produced duralumin for the German aviation industry. It provided increased knowledge about rolling and various types of alloys (the use of additives affecting the properties of the metal).

Duralumin contains small amounts of manganese, copper and magnesium and is a strong material. Variants of duralumin have played an important role in aviation and aerospace development.

Duralumin was also an important component in the German dive bomber Junker 87. The production of dural sheets for the German aircraft manufacturers during the occupation made Holmestrand an allied bombing target.

For this reason, Nordisk was subjected to a sabotage campaign in 1944. In addition, the employees delayed the production. Deliveries to the German war industry stopped completely during the final phase of the war.

Production of duralumin led to a shortage in several other aluminium products. The remelting of metal from aircraft production ensured that goods for hospitals, dairies and fire departments were maintained.

The general shortage of goods during and after WWII also laid the basis for an expansion. A lack of tin materials led to increased sales volumes of aluminium as a canning material, leading to an upswing in production.

Corporate management's co-operation with the occupying power was subject to criticism after the war, but no one was ever punished.

Year 1945 – 1967

There was great demand for kitchenware, electric cables and sheets for the transport and construction sectors after WWII. Aluminium foil was also introduced to the market.

Nevertheless, it was the canning market that grew the most. Anodising the canning strips had largely solved the problems of using aluminium for food packaging, but not completely.

The Canadian company Alcan gave Nordisk access to the Alulabs research laboratory in the UK. The laboratory possessed the latest technology within semi-finished products.

Anodised aluminium strips combined with new coating methods and a special alloy proved to be the solution to the "Canning question".

The new technology enabled Nordisk to supply strips for all the canning industry’s products. The success laid the foundation for the construction of a new production facility at Vesthøy outside Holmestrand in 1960.

Vesthøy was the first plant in the world to coat both sides of the strips in one process and is still a central part of the operation.

The same technology would eventually lead to the development of products within the construction, automotive and packaging industries, that are standard today.

Year 1967 – 1986

In 1967, parts of the Norwegian aluminium industry were nationalised and merged into the state-owned company Årdal and Sunndal Verk (ÅSV).

Nordisk lost its connection to Alcan's international research community but evolved into a national centre for research and development instead.

The business was concentrated on process and product development for the Norwegian aluminium industry.

In the 1970s, efforts were made to develop materials for the transport, construction and canning industries. While production at Vesthøy was expanded, other production was gradually moved out of Holmestrand.

Building products got a paint scratch by the transition to the 1980s. Aluminium roof and facade panels had had a lacquer applied that allowed too much sunlight to get through. It caused the lacquer to peel off.

Window elements, panels and roof systems were the products that performed best. They were based on extruded products from the subsidiary Alprofil, later Hydal Aluminium Profiles at Raufoss.

Alprofil produced car parts such as rims, bumpers, suspension and steering columns. Several of the products were based on projects at the research centre in Holmestrand.

Nordisk has developed its expertise in other areas. So-called "drop tanks", external fuel tanks for the F16 aircraft, was delivered to Air Forces in countries worldwide.

Today, Nordisk Aviation Products is a world leader in the design, manufacture and delivery of containers and pallets for shipping cargo on airplanes.

Year 1986 –

The aluminium market was characterised by low demand and falling prices in the 1980s. The situation became subject to a debate on state ownership, resulting in a merger between Hydro and ÅSV in 1986.

Hydro became the largest aluminium company in Europe and focused on increased market orientation and expansion. With its back against the wall, Nordisk was forced to improve its efficiency.

Production in Holmestrand was concentrated on rolling and lacquering of sheets and strips, but the price of raw metal made production costs too high.

The rescue was to pursue recycling. A new plant with the recycling capacity of 90 000 tonnes, was on stream in Holmestrand by 1992.

The industry collaborated with research communities to develop building products based on recycled aluminium.

Today, Hydro Holmestrand has established itself as a niche supplier to the construction market. Holmestrand materials are found in spectacular buildings throughout the world.

The company has in this manner, realised A / S Høyangfaldene’s original goal to ensure that Nordisk became a pure specialist within semi-finished products.

In addition to building products, the company manufactures strips for food packaging, tea cups and multilayer tubes. Car signs and new packaging products have also been added.

Recycling shows how environmentally friendly aluminium production has gradually become a central part of Hydro's strategy.

The factory in Holmestrand has been a pioneer in a development that is expected to become even more important in the future.