ADB History

NOTE: History to be completed and updated ...

In 1920, stimulated by the widespread developments through the ongoing Industrial Revolution, Adrien de Backer started as a manufacturer of electrical equipment in Belgium.
The company, still carrying the initials of its founder in the name ADB, specialised in manufacturing electrical equipment for use in laboratories. For many years the company produced electrical resistors and variable transformers.
In the nineteen-thirties, ADB successfully manufactured rheostat control equipment and Luminaires, which were mainly applied in theatre, opera and cinema lighting. The lights of ADB lit a large number of stages …
In the post-war era, due to new means of transportation, air traffic increased significantly. As such, the need for new capacity forced airport and government authorities to look for airfield lighting as a way to increase airport utilisation. ADB's activities in theatre lighting thus led naturally to practical applications in this new field - literally: up till then airports provided guidance to pilots by using torches and smoke indicators positioned around the airfield.
After having moved to the current premises, the markets for airfield lighting expanded drastically, and ADB soon became a recognised leader in the field. However, till then the US market was still out of reach due to FAA regulations preventing foreign import in the US. In 1979, ADB acquired from Jess Howard Electric (a Columbus Ohio electrical contractor), its ALNACO (Aviation Lighting and Navigational Aids Company) division in order to enter the US market.
By the late-eighties, ADB had already pioneered some of the key technologies used in TTV lighting, such as digital dimmers, memory control systems, condenser optics for theatre spotlights… and was strongly established as a leading broadline manufacturer of stage and studio lighting equipment with facilities in Belgium and France, a sales subsidiary in Germany, and a worldwide network of agents and distributors.
In 1986, ADB's rapidly increasing world-wide presence attracted the attention of Siemens AG in Germany as a likely candidate to improve the synergy of current Siemens activities in the areas of airfield lighting and project management. As a result, Siemens AG acquired ADB (and all of its affiliated companies) in 1987. Siemens AG is one of the largest multinationals in electronics and electrical engineering, with over 400,000 employees world-wide and facilities in over 100 countries.
Under the new management, ADB developed and launched a number of new technologically advanced products, including Phoenix control platforms, running ADB ISIS software.
In March 1999, all TTV activities were consolidated under a new legal entity, ADB-TTV Technologies S.A. In December 2002, in what was actually a management buy-out, Christian Léonard and Jean-François D'Haussy, respectively General Manager and Finance & Administration Manager of ADB-TTV France, backed up by a group of private and institutional investors, reached an agreement with Siemens for the acquisition of all the assets of the ADB-TTV Group and for the transfer, under a long term contract, of the production of all dimmers to the modern facility of Siemens in Huizingen, near Brussels. Manufacture of control systems and TV studio suspensions was relocated in the ADB factory in France where all theatre and TV luminaires are produced. The French facility was expanded in order to provide extra capacity primarily for the new, revolutionary WARP profile spotlight and its motorization kit. R&D, Product Engineering, Marketing and International Sales remain centralized in the Belgian premises as before. Following all these changes, the new ADB-TTV Group is now a lean and agile operation able to face new challenges.


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