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Tackling the elements


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In 1923, the then-burgeoning company introduced the world’s first car-mounted snow plough. Today, Øveraasen AS is a trusted manufacturer and supplier of a comprehensive range of advanced snow clearing equipment – industrial-scale snow ploughs, snow blowers and runway sweepers – for a variety of applications and climatic conditions.

“What we offer is 110 years of Norwegian snow-how,” jokes Thor Arve Øveraasen, who has been Owner and Managing Director of Øveraasen AS for over 35 years now. Mr. Øveraasen’s grandfather founded this family enterprise back in 1908. From a humble start manufacturing engines, the company slowly got into the snowcleaning business around 1925, at that time mostly for roads and later with a focus on airports as well.

“Because Norway is consistently faced with rough winter conditions for several months at a time, year after year, it is the ideal location to prototype and test innovative snow clearing technology,” explains Mr. Øveraasen. “We are capable of constantly developing new and more powerful machines, which has solidified our status as a market leader in this regard.”

As testament to the company’s leading position worldwide, Øveraasen AS maintains an export share of approximately 80%. Its customers include governments, airports, road authorities and militaries throughout Europe, Russia, China, South Korea, the Middle East and the United States. “Our equipment is certainly not the cheapest on the market, but it’s not only about price – our clients also take technical solutions, references and warranties into consideration,” adds Mr. Øveraasen.

Øveraasen AS’s product portfolio covers three major categories – road, railway and airport – the latter being its dominant branch, comprising 70% of its annual turnover. Its technology is represented at nearly every major international airport in the world, from Frankfurt and Madrid to New York City. With their capacity to clear up to 3,500 m of runway in ten minutes, there are few airport facility managers who can overlook Øveraasen’s runway sweepers.

Thor Arve Øveraasen
Because Norway is consistently faced with rough winter conditions for several months at a time, year after year, it is the ideal location to prototype and test innovative snow clearing technology. Thor Arve ØveraasenOwner and Managing Director

Within this niche market, the company has excelled in the invention of cutting-edge machinery specialized for airport runways. “Just six months ago, our company proudly unveiled the world’s first autonomous snow removing equipment for airports, called Yeti Snow Technology,” says Mr. Øveraasen. “It addresses the need to cover large areas efficiently a few centimeters at a time in order to reduce flight delays.”

Furthermore, Øveraasen AS’s team of qualified engineers has also introduced an airport runway snow sweeper that is specially designed to streamline clearing while reducing the amount of salt required in the process – a system that can be applied to city streets as well.

“Salt is a major tool we use to de-ice and clear roads, but in large quantities it can also be detrimental to the surrounding environment, which is why we’ve committed ourselves to finding a balance between efficiency and long-term sustainability,” highlights Mr. Øveraasen. “Our ultimate goal is to develop equipment that works with the natural environment, not against it.”

In pursuit of this target, Øveraasen AS ensures the superior quality and reliability of its machines, and guarantees a high level of customer service support from the time of order through production, training and maintenance. “Our equipment is built to last – to power through some of the most treacherous conditions – for a good 20 to 25 years,” elaborates Mr. Øveraasen. “We have an open door policy with our clients to provide maintenance consulting or spare parts if needed. They shouldn’t miss a beat in their battle against the elements.”

Øveraasen AS’s impressive track record caught the attention of the port authorities of New York and New Jersey, which in recent years witnessed the devastating toll severe storms took on the iconic Atlantic coastline infrastructure. Their response was to invest heavily in outfitting the region’s travel hubs with the latest in snow clearing machinery, resulting in the company’s most substantial contract since its founding over a century ago. This year, the transportation authorities of JFK, La Guardia, Newark and Teterboro airports collectively received an order of 66 Øveraasen units – a monumental milestone for the Norway-based family business.

“This contract signaled to us the real value of our work here. We’ve come a long way from producing simple car-mounted snow ploughs to delivering the world’s most sought-after clearing technology,” comments Mr. Øveraasen. “More than simply producing snow removal equipment, I see our role as guaranteeing the day-to-day well-being of travelers all over the globe – getting people safely from A to B, regardless of weather conditions.”

Mr. Øveraasen has already begun to pass down his family’s legacy to his three adult children, who have integrated themselves into various branches of the company. “My father took the reins in 1948 and then handed them over to me in 1979,” he says.

“Now my own son and daughters have been tasked with bringing a fresh perspective to the family business. This includes staying on top of market trends and exploring ways to respond to changing demands from our customers.”

A concrete example of an emerging trend is that of the current shift toward electricity-powered and self-driving vehicles. “Our engineers work tirelessly to remain at the forefront of innovative designs in snow removal machinery. We absolutely foresee adding more fully automatic and electric equipment to our fleet over the course of the next few years,” emphasizes Mr. Øveraasen. “In order to stay a frontrunner, we are constantly evolving to push our boundaries. We will be launching a series of new machines in the next few years that will prove to the global market once again what we are capable of.”

Responding to the question of what draws him personally to this line of work, Mr. Øveraasen replies: “There is a continuous stream of challenges – from the natural environment, the market, our competitors and customers. We must stay on our toes and not lose sight of our long heritage of innovation. The pressure to develop stronger and more effective equipment – this is what keeps our work exciting.”

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