News - Published on 27 May 2020

KARL HUGO is 50 years young!

Created on 1st May 1970, by Karl-Joseph Hugo and his wife Regina Theissen, KARL HUGO has lived through five decades. From the removal of European borders to the computer age, and including the worst ever steel sector crisis, KARL HUGO has made its way, with its sights always set on the future…

It is at the age of 24 years old that Karl-Joseph Hugo decided to set himself up as a turner in the cellar of the family home, situated two kilometres from the current site. He paid for his first machines using his wife’s dowry. A man of boundless energy, he prospected for orders by day, produced them by night and delivered them early the next morning. His customers included farmers, stone quarries and paper mills. Companies active within the metal industry in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and the city of Liege quickly began to take an interest in his work.

Ten years later, Karl-Joseph was employing about a dozen people, working in a 600 m2 production workshop specialising in turning and milling work. Business thrived over the next few years. The company continued to grow, and KARL HUGO began producing customised industrial machinery for major international companies.

The first industrial site of the Kaiserbaracke business park was established in 1986. KARL HUGO built its production workshop on this site and had the honour of a royal visit from His Majesty King Baudouin three years later. The 25-strong team had acquired proven expertise as a machine manufacturer and integrator. KARL HUGO continued to grow and invested in the addition of a dedicated welding workshop.

The 1990s were a time of economic crisis which hit the iron and steel sector very hard. Business slowed and KARL HUGO ran up substantial debts. Stephan and Bernd Hugo joined a company on the brink of collapse. The two brothers set about saving the family business. They were able to count on the solidarity of their entire workforce.

KARL HUGO returned to break-even in 2000, with good prospects for the future. The company computerised its operations and achieved certification for many of its activities. It set up a design department able to respond the complexity of its customers’ requirements.

Karl-Joseph Hugo passed away in 2010, at the age of 64-year-old, following a long struggle against illness.

The company then began an industrialisation phase. The sons invested massively in the means of production: a new fleet of machines, training for its teams and the development of skills. A workshop and office renovation policy was unveiled. KARL HUGO became the Belgian leader in the mechanical engineering sector. His Majesty King Philippe visited its workshops in 2015. The works did come to an end in 2020 with the construction of a sixth workshop.

These days KARL HUGO has production facilities and an infrastructure that are at the cutting edge of the latest technologies. Achieving optimum performance at every level, the company and its team of 50 experts is focused firmly on the future.