Our History

Anglo Belgian Corporation with headquarters in Gent, Belgium has more than a century of engine-building expertise. The company was founded in 1912 by a group of Belgian entrepreneurs soon after building the first licensed Rudolf Diesel engine.

Despite the reduced possibilities for sales and trading during the two world wars, ABC continued its activities. As the production level was low during these periods a lot of time was spent to research and design with the future in mind. A successor, based on the DU engine-line, was designed soon after and named DX for the naturally aspirated version. Through cooling of the charge-air after the turbo compressor by means of an intercooler, power of the same engine could be doubled, compared to the naturally aspirated engine this engine line was named DXC.

Since the 1980s, the company designs and manufactures medium speed, four stroke diesel engines for marine, traction, power generation applications and turnkey power plants around the world.

After an injection of capital by the privately owned holding Ogepar, ABC launched successfully the new DZC engine line. A decade later we extended this DZC product range with V12 and V16 engines with an output of up to 5.000 HP.

Continued innovations have made Anglo Belgian Corporation one of the important manufacturers of Diesel, HFO and dual-fuel medium-speed engines, as well as generating sets for today's global energy industry. Anglo Belgian Corporation remains committed to develop more efficient engines which deliver more power and use less fuel while significantly reducing emissions. A growing installed base provides references in more than 120 countries, supported by factory-certified service technicians available all over the world.

ABC engines - Reliability first.

The complete story...

  • Rudolf Diesel
    Hu048558 Rudolf Diesel Abc Heeft Rechten Voor Gebruik Van Deze Foto

    At the end of the 19th century, with its developed coalmines, its steel industry and its proven railway system, Belgium was one of the most industrialized countries. Under these circumstances, new ideas and developments were born. Therefore one should not be surprised that one of the new developments, Rudolf Diesel's new engine, shortly after it was presented in Germany, found a manufacturer in Belgium.

    In December 1896, this engine, which no longer depended on sparks for its ignition, but where ignition starts under the high temperature after compression of air in a combustion chamber, ran for the first time. Only three years later this engine was produced in the company "Carels Brothers" in Gent. One of the brothers Carels, Georges, became a good friend of Rudolf Diesel. Rudolf Diesel was more than just an excellent engineer, he was a philosopher and romanticist. Rudolf Diesel was born on the 18th of March 1858 as the son of a Leatherworker in Bayern and a governess of German origin living in Paris. Rudolf Diesel surprised people with his technical interest, his musical capacities as a pianist and modern artist.

    Further he considered himself more as a social philosopher and with his discovery, he first of all thought, that the independent workers, such as jewelers, watchmakers, dentists,... would be spared from the harsh labor of operating the steam machines of the big industrial Companies. The license payments he got made him a millionaire already before the end of the 19th century.

    The recognition as a philosopher however, he never obtained. From his book "Solidarity", in 2 bands, in which he described his view on a right Company, he only sold a 200 pieces. Further he failed in the investments he made and knew poverty before he died. His death remains a mystery. On September the 27th of 1913, he took the boat to London for a Conference. During the night he disappeared and was never found back. It is generally believed that he got overboard and drowned. Less than one year later the first World War started and both sides used the discovery of the diesel engine, made to improve human life standards, in ships and U-boats, the deadliest weapon ever used at sea.

  • 1912: The creation of the Anglo Belgian Corporation
    Vos 7855 Bewerkt

    October the 26th 1912, a group of 9 industrial investors founded a company in the office of notary Fobe, with the purpose of building internal combustion engines of the semi-diesel-type. These engines would have a big future, because they would completely change the way transport over land and sea occured at that time.

    Most of the ships were pulled by horses or the shipper himself. Fishermen went on sea with sailing boats. But one could foresee that in the future, these ships and boats as well as trains, cars and busses would have a diesel engine as power source. The nine persons that met each other at the notary, represented both the past and the future. One of them represented the company Onghena, that built until then gas engines of old design and had decided to stop this line of production in favor of the new semi-diesel engine.

    On their properties and with a part of their machines, the new factory would start up, under the supervision of the diesel engine manufacturer Carels and both investors Marcel and Richard Drory. All investors participated at that time with 500.000 BEF (Belgian franc), except for Carels, who brought the license for manufacturing Diesel Engines against a Royalty of 5% on the total turnover. The name of the new Company would be "Anglo Belgian Company" as they wanted to show that part of the risk capital should come from England. However the war made that this capital was never invested; the name however was kept, and many people used abbreviations as "Anglo" or "ABC".

    ABC started the production of 6, 8, 12, 16, 24 and 40 HP Diesel engines, as well as 2-cylinder marine engines of 45 HP. On the International Exhibition in Gent in 1913, ABC exposed 3 engines (8, 16 and 40 HP). Already before the First World War started, ABC exported engines to Australia and Russia.

  • The first world war: 1914-1918

    The First World War stopped the excellent start of ABC. Marcel Drory, the commercial director was called under the arms. Raw materials were no more available in enough quantities and slowly all activities died. The German army occupied the factory, transported all machines to Germany and young workers were obliged to work behind the lines for the German army. After signing peace, November the 11th 1918, most of the machines taken by the Germans were recovered, and from the United States new equipment was bought so that a new period of glory and export could start.

  • Between two World Wars

    Already from the beginning of this period ABC exported to Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Latin America and Congo, a Belgian Colony in Central Africa. ABC survived successfully the industrial crisis in the twenties, mostly because of the confidence earned from the Fishermen of the Belgian Coast, as well as from the ship-owners for inland vessels transporting to France and Germany. In both applications the exploitation margins of the ship-owners were that small that they couldn't afford time loss for repairing. They needed robust engines, with long lifetime and low fuel and oil consumptions.

    ABC understood the needs of these people and took a big market share. ABC signed a license agreement with the Engineering Company Paxman Ricardo from London and got the permission to build engines of 1500 rpm. Hence the second generation in engine construction was born. Tradition from father to son ensured powerful and long-lasting engines. These engines were also used for power generation and were basic equipment for every missionary school or hospital in the previous Belgian Colony Congo, nowadays known as under the name of 'Republic of Congo'. Some of these installations, between 6 and 100 HP are still operational today! Unfortunately, when Belgium got involved in the Second World War, the heydays were over.

  • The second world war: 1940-1945

    During the war, considering the reduced possibilities for sales and trading, the company continued its activities. The company supported the fishing fleet, which was a matter of survival for the hungry crowd. The transport over rivers also had to continue as it was the best way for transportation of wheat and potatoes. As the production level was low anyhow, a lot of time was available for research and design for the post-war future. Two prototype medium-speed engines, a 2-cylinder and a 3-cylinder engine were available at the end of the war. They were built in trawlers, the ideal test for an engine, as nowhere else such severe working conditions were encountered. The new engines, 4-stroke single acting, developed during the war under the code name DU (Diesel Universal) are the base for many designs and concepts of ABC engines later on.

  • The period 1945-1980

    The engine DU completely responded to the requirements and found and covered a new market-segment. Further designs of 5, 6 and 8 cylinder engines took place. As soon as the principle of turbo-charging the engines, leading them to higher power output, was known, ABC adapted his DU engines. The new turbo-charged engines were commercialized under the name DUS. A 50% increase of power from the same engine cylinder-volume was obtained.

    A new version from the DU engine-line was designed and the name DX was given to the naturally aspirated version and DXS for the turbo-version. The engine speed was increased from 600 to 750 rpm. Through cooling of the charge-air after the turbo compressor by means of an intercooler, the power of the same engine could be doubled, if compared to the naturally aspirated engine. This family got the name DXC.

    The engines can be used for generating electricity as well as for propulsion of ships and as traction engine in locomotives (mostly maneuvering locomotives). Until the end of the sixties ABC knew a prosperous time and exported to all European countries, Central Africa, the Middle and Far East. In the seventies the management couldn't obtain equilibrium between income and costs. Furthermore the most important market, Belgium Congo, was lost due to the independency fights and the new nation, Zaire having not enough financial means.

    A license for a high-speed engine was taken from the French Company Semt-Pielstick in 1973, leading to the production of the PA4 range for in-line engines.

    Moreover, the company developed a complete new engine, being the DZC engine with double power from almost the same cylinder-volume. The engine speed was increased to 1000 rpm. Target was to build 100 engines of this type every year. The engine could burn heavy fuel up to 380 cSt.

  • The period 1980-1985

    The management that took over at the end of 1979, was completely new, and consisted of Pauwels, a Belgian manufacturer of transformers, Batibo, a company active in construction of real estate, and the Belgian Shipbuilder Corporation. They changed the name into "Anglo Belgian Corporation", thus keeping the abbreviation "ABC". A short time later the Governmental Investment Company GIMV also joined and increased the capital.

    The first sales of the DZC engine were obtained. The owners didn't have enough confidence in the company anymore, refused a capital increase and handed their shares over to Ogepar, a family holding headquartered in Luxembourg, against the promise of a capital increase of 75.000.000 BEF (Belgian franc).

  • The new breakthrough: 1985-2000

    Not only increased Ogepar the capital, it also changed the complete management. This took some time, but meanwhile, the modified DZC was sold with increasing success and represented besides the DXC-range, almost 75% of the turnover. Through its mother company, ABC has links in plantations and trading companies in Zaire, Congo, Burundi and Rwanda, in ex-Eternit factories (civil construction materials) in Zaire and Burundi, Moteurs Moës, a workshop for subcontracting and maintenance in the southern part of Belgium, Pegard Productics, world leader manufacturer of CNC-milling machines.

    In the first decade with Ogepar, the turnover doubled, under the influence of Mr. Froidbise, president of the company, and each and every year some profit was made. New markets were found, such as the cogeneration plants in Belgium, floating crane works, export of power stations to Indonesia, Taiwan, Malaysia, Syria and Pakistan. But also to be noted is the disappearance of all Belgian shipyards, that represented almost 50% of the market in the beginning of the eighties.

    Since 1989, daily management in ABC was in the hands of Mr. Luc Duyck ( † 2011 ), a civil engineer of the University of Ghent with a degree in Engine Construction. Besides optimizing the existing engine range, both engine ranges were modified to dual-fuel engines. Dual fuel engines are available up to 1200 kW/unit. Since 1993, the DZC-engines are equipped with an anti-polishing ring in the liner, a necessary concept due to fuel and luboil modifications for environmental reasons. A team of engineers accurately follows all evolutions of the engine market and engine performances and keeps the DXC end DZC design up-to-date. In its medium-speed range, the DZC-engine is now a top leader.

    In 1997, ABC started the design of the DZ-engine in V. With 12 and 16-cylinder execution the power range has been doubled and extended to 5000 HP.

  • Success continuous: 2001-2011

    The newly designed VDZC engine met all expectations, it contributed to the organic growth of the company. Since its launch, over 1200 engines have left our factory in Ghent, providing power for various applications.

    New opportunities came along as VDZC's product range allowed us to offer larger turnkey projects. The most prestigious and remarkable project in 2009 was in Congo - Brazzaville, an independent power plant operating with 10, 16VDZC engines, generating a total of 32MW.

    In January 2011 a new General Manager was appointed, ir. Tim Berckmoes, who had been working since 1999 for the company as General Manager of Production and Engineering, took the position and will lead the company through the next decade.

    ABC invested in the design and manufacturing of a new engine extending the existing product range. ABC's engineering department, together with the Austrian engineering company AVL, worked intensively on this project. The start of a required new production and assembly facility was launched at the beginning of 2011. This brand new 5.000m² building is almost finished and should be operational by the beginning of 2012. The facility will have the at most advanced tooling machines, equipment and test-benches available on the market.