- or how a chicken outhouse became an offshore adventure
The story of many a great adventure often starts in small conditions. Randaberg Industries also started under modest conditions as "Randaberg Auto" at a gas station, just outside the centre of the village of 'Randaberg' in the year 1946. Or rather, behind a gas station, in a former hen house. Here, the brothers Alfred and Emil Simonsen worked, while they were waiting to move to their new premises.
The brothers were "dugande arbeidskarar" - able work fellows - who enjoyed repairing and tinkering with mechanical affairs. They had a nose+ for business and the know-how to start up a new business, and were backed by their father and a good relationship with the local bank - Hetland Sparebank. In just a few years, they were able to manufacture some of the market's best oil tanks, tank systems and bulk systems.
Today, Randaberg Industries is a world leader in design and fabrication of bulk tanks. And although the company has evolved into Randaberg Group, Randaberg Industries is still owned by the Simonsen family; son Ove Simonsen owns the company and is committed to retaining values and jobs locally - just like the Simonsen brothers were.
Starting after stopping: The end of World War II
In the years just after the Second World War, the local equipment and material were either worn down or requisitioned, and imports had been blocked.
In the first years after the war, Randaberg Auto bought what they could come by of old cars, several from the German residual stores. They thoroughly overhauled these cars and put them in near mint condition. At the time, cars were easy to sell and within a short period of time, the business went very well.
Expansions in new buildings
In the spring of 1947, Randaberg Auto moved to their new premises at Rygg. To the Simonsen brothers, this was a major leap forward, giving them new opportunities for a versatile operation - not to mention expansion.
During the time, the founders proved their sound commercial skills - in addition to their strong practical and technical insight. This became an important foothold to establish a strong mechanical business.
In the following years - the Revival Years, as they are known nationally - Norway bustled. We had a social outlook and helped each other considerably. In the years following 1950, Norway made a rather impressive import of oil, gas, steel, automobiles, tractors etc. For the company, this was a great time for further expansion.
During these years, Randaberg Auto was heavily involved in the construction of steel structures, venting devices and heating for greenhouses, liquid manure barrels for tractor trailers, oil tanks for heating of residential buildings, tank farms for oil, gasoline and bunker constructions for oil companies along the coast.
The pressure is rising!
In 1964 the company produced its first pressure vessels for air and especially pressure vessels for the transport and storage of cement, bentonite and barite. All this was oil industry equipment, and was mainly exported, including the Netherlands.
A new name for a new era
With increasing clarity, the company realised that the name Randaberg Auto was out of step with its production. Therefore, the company changed its name to Randaberg Sveiseindustri AS in 1960. But in the vernacular it became just "Sveisen" - The Weld.
Expansion - not without limits
The plot at Rygg had a total area of 1,500 sqm, and the base of the first building measured 200 sqm. The plot was extended several times, and several production halls with associated administrative buildings were erected. When the plant was sold in 1980, it consisted of 8,000 sqm of land and 2,200 sqm of production space, administrative and welfare facilities.
And why was it sold? There was no longer room for Randaberg Industries on the old plot, since the municipality had regulated the surrounding area for residential buildings.
In 1962, the company therefore decided to look for a new seaside plot. After many and time-consuming rounds involving municipal and governmental applications for establishment at several locations, the company was in 1973 finally approved an establishment in Harestadvika. This provided opportunities for new expansion, not to mention going into new market areas.
So off to Harestadvika - boasting the region's deepest industrial quay!
The development of Randaberg Industries' new industrial site was begun in 1974. Out of the 20,000 sqm large plot, a mountain mass of 35,000 cubic metres was extracted. In 1976, the first quay was ready, with a total length of 130 metres and a depth of 12 metres. A combined workshop and office facility area, with a base area of 3,700 sqm, was ready for use in April 1980 - after two years of intensive work.
The current plot has been expanded several times later - and in 1991 the total area of the plot amounted to 90,000 sqm.
After we settled in Harestadvika, the Randaberg Group has become more and more committed towards the oil industry, with a unique location for any kind of shipment of equipment.