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The firm of Vicon Agricultural Machinery was located at Long Street Works, Ipswich. The firm was bought by the Netherlands based Greenland Group in the 1980's . The Kverneland Group of Norway took Greenland over in 1998. When I worked in Suffolk County Council County Architect's Department in the 1970's the building was taken over by the Education Supplies Department. During refurbishment I was informed that the building had been used for World War One aircraft construction. From memory the building was 250ft (76.2m) long x 100ft (30.5m) wide x 25ft (7.6m) high to the underside of the roof trusses with a 5ft (1.5m) fall on the floor from one end to the other. This fall allowed a simple gravity-powered production line track system to operate.
Can you add any of the history of this firm ?
Visionary entrepreneurs, technical innovators and skilled employees have worked together to create great value during the 100 year history of Vicon. Under the name Vicon a small firm grows into an international manufacturer of farm equipment. Worldwide more than 2 million Vicon machines have been sold.
- Visser Construction Nieuw-Vennep 
During the Second World War one of the employees coined the company name of Vicon, an acronym for Vissers Construction Nieuw-Vennep, for which he received a bonus of 1 Dutch guilder.
In 1910 a young farm-hand, Hermanus Vissers, started off as a contractor in the Haarlemmermeer polder, a pioneer area of agricultural mechanisation in the Netherlands. In order to extend his business, Vissers bought a spreader, a mower and a reaper binder. He also entered into the trading business by selling fertiliser, seed potatoes, seed and onions to farmers.
At the first post-war trade fair in Utrecht, Vicon presented their improved version of the Belgian-design conventional potato planter. The machine became a tremendous success. Vicon then decided to concentrate on the manufacturing of machines.
In 1949, Vicon acquired the manufacturing and marketing rights for an ingenious Dutch invention, the "fingerwheel" rake. Importers flocked to Nieuw-Vennep seeking to acquire the exclusive distribution rights for their specific markets.
Vicon is moving into new premises in Nieuw-Vennep. A complete new factory is built on the site where Kverneland Group Nieuw-Vennep BV is still based today.
At the Verona trade fair in Italy in 1958, the pendulum-type fertiliser-spreader system, invented by the Italian fertiliser merchant Luigi Steffenino, was presented. A contract for worldwide manufacturing and marketing was signed, but it took years to turn the design into a true farm implement. Today, more than one million pendulum spreaders have been sold worldwide.
A Dutch arable farmer has a brilliant idea for a beet harvester with a unique system of rotating lifters. Vicon turns the concept into a successful harvesting machine that performs well even in the wettest of soil (clay) conditions, where competitive machines get stuck.
Vicon further develops the "spading machine" invented by Prof. Horowitz who also invented the world famous Philishave razor. The machine is widely praised for its excellent performance but attracts few buyers. Farmers stick to their plough.
What could have been a revolution in soil cultivation ends in 1970 when production is stopped.
The first Vicon disc mower has two large discs each fitted with two big knives. A rotor fitted above the knives transports the grass and delivers it into a swath. Cutting performance was excellent but power requirements were high so development was stopped and alternative solutions explored.
The triangular discs are introduced on the Vicon disc mowers. This has been a Vicon trademark ever since and built the reputation of the high cutting quality, associated with the Vicon mowers.
As the first agricultural machinery manufacturer Vicon installs a powder paint system providing a corrosion resistant shiny finish hard as steel.
Vicon acquires a small machinery manufacturer in the North of Holland specializing in silage equipment and extends her product range with a spade type silage cutter (for clamps up to 2 m high). The machine is rapidly followed by the introduction of a saw type cutter for clamps higher than 2 m.
In 1981, all Vicon shares were aquired by Thyssen Bornemisza, a large international industrial group. They regarded the agricultural industry as a major growth market and were looking for further expansion and extension of the product range. Further acquisitions included French baler manufacturer Rivierre Casalis.
By the early eighties, Vicon had already pioneered the integration of microelectronics in fertiliser spreaders (spreading computer) and big square balers. Even back in 1985 Vicon was pioneering the ISOBUS standard, a universal control system being taken up by most European manufacturers.
In 1983, Vicon makes a break-through with micro-electronics for agricultural machinery. One of the key developments is the Vicon HP 1600 high density big baler, which is the first electro-hydraulically operated baler that is capable of producing high quality baled silage.
In 1989 the world’s first baler with a pre-cutting device is introduced, setting a new standard for baled silage quality.
In 1998 the Norwegian Kverneland Group acquires Greenland and the Vicon brand. The two manufacturers’ product ranges complemented each other well. Vicon’s worldwide distribution is considerably strengthened, especially in Eastern Europe, the CIS countries and China.
The innovative aluminum-bonded spray boom was introduced in 2004, and illustrates the dedication of Vicon to look for new solutions and integrate new material into the products.
Vicon celebrates its 100 years within farm mechanisation, and is one of the two strong brands of the Kverneland Group, Vicon and Kverneland. Today Vicon equipment is sold in more than 80 countries via own sales companies and distributors.
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During the 1980's Vicon merged with three leading agricultural machinery manufacturers;
- Deutz-Fahr implements of Germany (the tractor business merging with SAME to form SAME Deutz-Fahr.
- PZ Zweegers of the Netherlands - Mowers and Grassland machinery
- Rivierre Casalis of France - Big balers.
In the middle of 1998 the Kverneland Group took over the Netherlands-based Greenland Group, thus acquiring the famous Vicon brand name.
- 1968 Announce power-driven harrow
- 196? introduce the 'Vicon' fertiliser spreader for pelleted fertiliser.
- 1998 Vicon's parent co Grenland Group was taken over by Kvernerland Group
- Fertiliser spreaders
- Tillage machinery
- Modern product range
- fertilizer spreaders
- Grass land machinery
- big square balers
- bale wrappers
- maize choppers
- Seeding machinery
- Verge and Hedge trimmers 3 models
The oiginal UK facilities were shut during consolidation.
- Currently in the Netherlands and Denmark.
References / sourcesEdit