WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF BACKER

- We have a great history but the future is our way

YOU MEET US

EVERYDAY

EVERYWHERE

THE ORIGINAL SINCE 1921

Our founder Christian Backer patented the modern day tubular heating element back in 1921. Almost 30 years later in Sösdala Sweden, Backer AB was founded to commercialize this technology for large scale production. Since that time, Backer has developed and produced components and solutions for electric heating markets around the world. Backer AB, in that little town in the south of Sweden, continues to this day as the Backer Group's global headquarters. With 70 companies and 10,000 employees around the world, the Backer Group is the premier solution provider in the heating element industry.


Many of Backer’s products trace their origins back to the technical innovations in Christian Backer's patents. Heating experts around the word still today refer to the so called “Backer element” as the industry standard.


Modern day Backer is a technical industrial partner to the most important companies in several industry sectors. We deliver competitive solutions in the fields of heating, and control for leading companies in the Automotive, Energy, Railway, Medtech, HVAC and Process industries. Our customers require innovative and custom technical solutions for their specific applications.


At Backer, we strive to help create competitive advantages for our customers by adding value through partnerships. Our approach to product design and supply provides in real benefits for our customers. Our global presence ensures that no matter where our customers design, test or produce their products, Backer engineering and support services are always available.


Backer strives to provide optimal technical solutions with the best possible quality at globally competitive prices. With advanced capabilities in laboratory testing, engineering and agency certification, our passion for exceeding our customers’ expectations makes us the first choice in heating solutions.


You’ll love our company.

backer

Christian Backer

MILESTONES

  • 1949

    OUR TECHNOLOGY

    ELEMENTS

    BACKER IS FOUNDED

    Backer Elektro-Värme AB in Sösdala was founded in 1949.

  • 1952

    OUR TECHNOLOGY

    BOILERS

  • 1969

    OUR TECHNOLOGY

    ELEMENTS

    NORSKE BACKER IS FOUNDED

    Norske Backer in Kongsvinger was founded in 1969.

  • 1989

    NEW OWNERS

    NIBE INDUSTRIER AB

    NIBE Industrier AB aquires Backer and NIBE.

  • 1994

    NEW TECHNOLOGY

    ALUMINUM ELEMENTS

    ACQUISITION

    Backer OBR, Poland

  • 1997

    NEW TECHNOLOGY

    CERAMIC ELEMENTS

    ACQUISITION

    Loval, Finland

    NIBE Industrier AB is listed on the Stockholm stock exchange.

  • 1998

    NEW TECHNOLOGY

    FOIL ELEMENTS

    ACQUISITIONS

    Jevi, Denmark
    Calesco, Sweden
    Meyer Vastus, Finland
    Bröderna Håkansson, Sweden.

  • 2000

    NEW TECHNOLOGY

    IR ELEMENTS, PTC ELEMENTS, THICKFILM ELEMENTS

    ACQUISITIONS

    Backer CZ, Czec Rep
    Backer FER, Italy

  • 2003

    NEW TECHNOLOGY

    CARTRIDGE HEATERS, RESISTORS

    ACQUISITIONS

    Backer Facsa, Spain
    Sinus Jevi, Holland
    Danotherm, Denmark

  • 2004

    NEW TECHNOLOGY

    HEAT EXCHANGERS

    ACQUISITION

    Shel China, UK

  • 2005

    NEW TECHNOLOGY

    OPEN COIL ELEMENTS

  • 2007

    NEW TECHNOLOGY

    HOT WATER SYSTEMS

    ACQUISITION

    Heatrod, England

  • 2008

    NEW TECHNOLOGY

    CABLES ALUMINUM DIE CASTING

    ACQUISITION

    Backer ALPE, Mexico

  • 2009

    NEW TECHNOLOGY

    CONTROL PANELS

  • 2011

    NEW TECHNOLOGY

    OPEN COIL SYSTEMS

    ACQUISITIONS

    L&S, Denmark
    Backer ELC, Switzerland
    Backer EHP, US, Mexico & China

  • 2012

    NEW TECHNOLOGY

    New products

    ACQUISITION

    Structurgruppen, Sweden

  • 2013

    NEW TECHNOLOGY

    HEATING CABLES ELECTRONICS INVERTERS

    ACQUISITIONS

    Springfield Wire, China, US & Mexico
    Eltwin, Denmark & Poland

  • 2014

    NEW TECHNOLOGY

    SOFT STARTERS THERMOSTATS

    ACQUISITIONS

    Askoma, Malaysia & Switzerland
    Backer Wolff, Germany
    IC Electronics, Denmark
    Wilson Elements, Australia
    Diamond H, China

  • 2015

    NEW TECHNOLOGY

    STEEL GRID RESISTORS

    ACQUISITIONS

    Termorad, Poland
    Backer Marathon, US
    Lükon, Switzerland

  • 2016

    NEW TECHNOLOGY

    ELEMENTS FOR CORROSIVE ENVIRONMENTS LED

    ACQUISITIONS

    Heatron, US
    Ate-Electronics S.R.L, Italy
    Hotwatt, US Braude LTD, UK
    OMNI Control Technology INC, US
    Evapoway, US

  • 2017

    NEW TECHNOLOGY

    New products

    ACQUISITIONS

    Ormandy, UK
    HT, Italy & Romania

CHRISTIAN BERGH BACKER´S LIFE AND THE BIRTH OF THE BACKER ELEMENT

Christian Backer was born in 1885 in the village of Flisa, a little way north of Kongsvinger in Norway. His father was a crofter, but also ran a smithy. Christian Backer was the youngest of 8 children, most of whom emigrated to the USA and Canada at a fairly young age. Christian Backer proved early on to have an aptitude for research. Having passed his school-leaving examination in Kongsvinger, he became an assistant to a professor at the Norwegian Institute of Technology in Trondheim, while also pursuing his own studies. The professor he assisted was working on a number of projects, including extracting pure magnesium from seawater.

It was during his work with the metallic element magnesium that Christian Backer identified the properties of magnesium hydroxide and magnesium oxide, and recognised the potential for using pure magnesium, which is a good electrical conductor, to produce magnesium oxide, one of the best known electrical insulators and also an exceptional conductor of heat, even at high temperatures.

Backer patent

Subsequent patent to the 1921 original one

By inserting a resistance coil into a tube of magnesium and then sliding it all into a protective casing, he both established the central function and assembled the basic components. It was then a matter of converting the electrically conductive magnesium into an insulator. This he did by introducing steam into an autoclave at high pressure, whereupon the magnesium dissolved and formed magnesium hydroxide, which in a subsequent heat process was converted into magnesium oxide and water.


– Backer’s method proves revolutionary –


Christian Backer’s fundamental concept and method was christened ‘the Backer process’, and it gave the world a new heating component that could be easily adapted for use by both households and industry. Compared to previously available designs that used electric coils insulated with steatite or micanite, Backer’s method was revolutionary. The original patent was filed in 1921, with a number of subsequent patents being added during the 1920s and 30s.Christian Backer’s objective was to use this new process to develop a product good enough to be used as a heating element in the manufacture of electric concentric hot plates, as an alternative to the gas stove. In order to facilitate the transfer of heat from the resistance coil to the shell tube, the element had to be crimped. However, a number of other problems remained to be solved before the product could be used as a high-quality heat source.Christian Backer emigrated to Canada, where he built a plant to carry out further experiments in Ottawa, Ontario. He engaged a former employee and friend from back in Trondheim, Johan Wetlesen, as the plant’s manager.Christian Backer now developed a complete concept for production facilities and sold licences for his method worldwide, including to:

  • Westinghouse, Pittsburgh, USA
  • Metropolitan Vickers, Manchester, England
  • Voigt & Haeffner (Siemens), Bad Soden, Germany
  • SA Calor, Lyon, France
  • Polytherm Ltd, Arundel, South Africa
  • Pyrox SA, Bergen, Norway
  • Pomerska Elektrowna, Torun, Poland


In 1938, Christian Backer established a separate, wholly owned company called Backer Electric Ltd. in Rotherham in Yorkshire, England. Johan Wetlesen was appointed its managing director. He was succeeded in 1950 by Carl Kramer, a lawyer who was married to Christian Backer’s daughter, Mona. After Carl Kramer’s death in 1961, Stan Nimrod was appointed MD. Nimrod had been active in the company since its establishment.


The licence fees from the various companies provided Christian Backer with a significant income, being based on an amount per element produced, measured in kW.

 

After World War II, Christian Backer set about establishing a business in Sweden, predominantly because his wife Elsa had Swedish roots. Elsa was the cousin of landowner Nils Bernerup. In 1948, Christian Backer, accompanied by Johan Wetlesen, visited a number of leading Swedish manufacturers of electrothermic appliances to drum up interest in his product. Christian Backer now asked that any factory being granted a licence include the name Backer in its company name, but neither Kockums, Electrolux nor Elektro Helios were interested in changing their name.

 

Towards the end of their trip, the pair visited Nils Bernerup at Stora Bernstorp, where they discussed the situation. This resulted in Nils Bernerup and a group of local businessmen, including a member of the Riksdag, Erik Nilsson of Svalöv, becoming involved in the venture. Backer Elektro Värme AB was subsequently founded in 1949 and was jointly owned by the Backer family and the Swedish group.

 

Nils Bernerup was a successful pig farmer and bought his pigs from Smågriscentralen in Sösdala. Through the manager there, Gunnar Ohlsson, Nils Bernerup came into contact with district police superintendent Edgar Holm, who at that time was a powerful figure in Sösdala. With help from Edgar Holm, an area of land for a factory building was purchased from farmer Hilding Jönsson in connection with the parcelling off of the Tureholm farm.

 

Backer in England had, as its agent in Sweden, a retired captain called Bo Lindesvärd, who at some point negotiated a deal for double-insulated Backer elements for high-voltage applications with SJ. It was only natural under the circumstances for Lindesvärd to be appointed the new MD of the company. Engineer Bertil Håkansson from Tjörnarp was appointed production manager and sent to England to learn about the company’s production methods.

 

Pierre Schwob, a technical manager with SA Calor in Lyon, France, managed and inspected the entire installation process in Sösdala. During this period he lived at the Sösdala hotel. As Pierre Schwob only spoke French, Christian Backer’s daughter Margareta was employed as an interpreter and assistant. Margareta, in addition to being a trained opera singer, had also studied engineering.

 

Christian Backer died on 30 August 1952 while visiting Vedaverken in Södertälje on Backer’s behalf. Vedaverken supplied Backer with magnesium tubes. They had encountered a problem and when Christian Backer confirmed that they had not followed his drawings and instructions, he became so agitated that he suffered a cardiac arrest. Christian Backer is buried in his home village of Flisa in Norway.


Sven Christensson

(MD, Backer AB 1956 - 1980)

Wind energy

Solar energy

Solar energy

Heat pump technology

Heat pump technology

Solutions for electric cars

Solutions for electric cars

Christer Fredriksson

Christer Fredriksson

BACKER - PAST, PRESENT & FUTURE

- A short interview with Backer’s MD Christer Fredriksson

It may seem paradoxical that a technology that has been around for almost a century can help to solve some of the greatest challenges of our time, but the fact is that Christian Backer’s patented tubular elements can be found in many of our everyday products and play an important role in both modern cars and transport, and ecofriendly and efficient heating systems.“When you talk about heating today, you inevitably end up discussing heat pumps, solar energy and the like, which are, of course, important customer groups for us and which use a variety of our products and solutions,” says Christer Fredriksson, CEO of the Backer Group, which has its head office in Sösdala. “The ongoing electrification of vehicles requires, among other things, battery heating, brake resistors and heating of cameras and rear-view mirrors, while the rail industry needs heating for both trains and points. Backer develops, manufactures and supplies all of these things. In addition, increased consumption of electricity means increased production of electricity, which is the next big challenge. Here too Backer has a part to play as a manufacturer of products for wind turbines, including heating for blades and resistors for the control of turbines.”

”All of a sudden our products are a part of the solution to current climate problems. It is fascinating that an invention which dates back to the early 1920s can take on this role”

(Christer Fredriksson)


Backer has been actively refining its business concept for a number of decades. Through digital development, tubular heating elements, for example, can be combined with smart controls to help save energy and so reduce costs, among other applications. It often used to be performance that was the most important factor. Now the main area of focus is control.

Christer Fredriksson compares this to a car, where the number of horsepower is perhaps no longer the main selling point, having been overtaken by the car’s other features.

- Today we consider our business concept to be intelligent heating and control. This has evolved over the years as we have added new technologies, but also increased the added value. However, the element itself is still based on the same original technology.

(Translation of text & interview by Johan Bentzel for Norra Skåne/Skd
Published in Affärsliv)


BACKER AB · FABRIKSGATAN 11 · SE-282 71 SÖSDALA · TEL: +46 (0)451-66100 · [email protected] · Corp. reg: 5560530569

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