Thompson: the history

With over 50 years of experience developing friction welding technology, Thompson is a customer focused brand. The brand has built a global reputation for high quality, reliable and technically advanced solutions.

How it began...

Thompson can trace its roots back to a family firm started in the Black Country in 1834, several decades before the advent of the Industrial Revolution. Former coal miner William Thompson began a small boiler making business in Bilston, which was to be later transformed into a global business by his uncle John Thompson and his four sons.

In the early part of the 20th century, the company turned its attention to overseas markets and won orders for its boilers from as far afield as India, China and Japan. It also diversified into areas such as automotive components and metal window frames.

Thompson becomes the world leader in direct drive friction welding technology.

The business became a public company in 1936 and was renamed John Thompson Ltd. Within a decade, the company had grown rapidly from employing 150 staff to a workforce of 6,000. In 1969, it became part of the NEI Group, which comprised a wide range of engineering capabilities including friction and robotic welding systems.

Today, Thompson Friction Welding is part of The KUKA Group, a German automation powerhouse based in Augsburg, Germany. KUKA employs around 130 people at its advanced welding competence centre, based in Halesowen.

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