TimeLine TopImage

Together with you, we make history

For a century, the history of Alfa Laval has been intertwined with that of the marine industry. View the timeline below to learn more about the pioneering solutions that have reshaped the marine business.


1893 German engineer...

German engineer Rudolf Diesel builds his first prototype for a compression ignition internal combustion engine. He continues developing the technology throughout the 1890s.

1903 The world’s first two...

The world’s first two diesel-powered marine vessels, both designed for canal and river use, launch in the same year. They are the French barge Petite-Pierre and the Russian tanker Vandal.


Gustaf de Laval starts work on the development of a centrifugal separator.


Gustaf de Laval and his partner, Oscar Lamm, establish the company AB Separator. The De Laval Cream Separator Co. is formed in the U.S. which is the start of a continuously growing international establishment.


1912 The sinking of the...

The sinking of the RMS Titanic in the North Atlantic leads to legislation standardizing protocol and equipment for marine telecommunications, and ultimately to the creation of the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System.

1929 German ocean liner...

German ocean liner SS Bremen and her sister ship SS Europa smash speed records thanks to advanced high-speed steam turbines and pioneering bulbous bow construction.


Alfa Laval delivers an oil separator to the U.S. Navy, which uses it to break water emulsions in lube oil on vessels driven by steam turbines. This begins Alfa Laval’s partnership with the marine industry.


Aalborg Shipyard in Denmark designs and produces their first boiler, a Scotch marine type.


1932 The SS Normandie is...

The SS Normandie is launched in France with a novel hydrodynamic hull design that allows it to attain great speeds using far less power than other ocean liners. It is later equipped with an early form of radar technology.

1939-1945 Naval warfare...

Naval warfare during the Second World War leads to major technological innovations from both the Allied and Axis powers. These include advancements in sonar, the submarine snorkel, and welding in hull construction. Significantly, diesel engines increasingly become the standard for marine propulsion during the war.


Alfa Laval launches the new modern separator series – 1500, 1700 and 1900 – developed specifically for the marine industry.


1955 The first container...

The first container ship, the Clifford J. Rodgers, enters operation. The SS Ideal X, developed by American entrepreneur Malcolm McLean, launches one year later and goes on to become the first container ship to achieve commercial success.

1959 The first liquefied...

The first liquefied natural gas tanker, a converted cargo ship appropriately named Methane Pioneer, embarks on its maiden voyage from the Calcasieu River in Louisiana.


Sales of Alfa Laval “self-cleaning” centrifugal separators and decanter centrifuges begin.


The Alfa Laval P12 plate heat exchanger (PHE) is the first PHE sold to the marine industry. The PHE is installed on the “Markland,” a motor tanker built in Gothenburg, Sweden for a subsidiary of the Broström Group.


The first freshwater generator, based on tube technology, is produced by Atlas for a Lauritzen vessel. An alternative solution with plate technology is developed by Nirex two years later. Alfa Laval will later acquire both technologies and unite them in today’s Alfa Laval AQUA solutions.


1960s The advent of...

The advent of intercontinental jet travel results in the fatal decline of the ocean liner business, which in turn leads to the beginning of the modern cruise industry. Several major cruise lines are started during the decade, including Viking Line (1963), Princess Cruises (1965), Norwegian Cruise Line (1966) and Royal Caribbean (1968).


Alfa Laval begins to move its production from Fleminggatan in central Stockholm to new facilities in Tumba, just outside Stockholm. Tumba continues to be Alfa Laval’s centre for separator research and development.


Frank Mohn AS, which began operation as a Norwegian importer of maritime equipment in the 1930s, introduces the high-pressure, hydraulically driven marine pump.


Smit Ovens, a company based in the Netherlands, delivers their first marine inert gas system, which is installed on the fishmeal vessel M/V Willem Barentsz. Smit goes on to become an industry leading brand for inert gas systems.


1973 The International...

The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) is signed. It is the most significant international marine environmental convention to this point, and will later be modified in 1978.

1973-1974 An OPEC oil...

An OPEC oil embargo sparks a decade-long global energy crisis. The crisis is a partial factor in the advancement of supertankers, such as the Seawise Giant, that had weights exceeding 500,000 DWT.


Alfa Laval affirms its commitment to marine markets with a sales company in Greece.


Alfa Laval sets up a sales company in Singapore to better serve the marine business in this part of Asia.


A new sales company in Korea broadens Alfa Laval’s Asian presence.


1983 MARPOL Annex I...

MARPOL Annex I, addressing pollution from oil and oily water, and Annex II, addressing pollution from noxious liquid substances, take effect.

1986 The steamship era...

The steamship era comes to an end when the RMS Queen Elizabeth 2, the last transatlantic passenger steamship in service, is converted to diesel propulsion.

1989 Marine pollution gains...

Marine pollution gains greater awareness after the Exxon Valdez tanker spills upwards of 900,000 barrels of oil off the coast of Alaska. The disaster leads to stricter regulation of oil tankers, which helped to standardize the double-hull design in tanker construction.


Since 1980, Alfa Laval has trained many thousands of customers in Tumba and worldwide.


Alfa Laval presents Alcap, a game-changing separator technology it has been developing since the 1970s. Alcap uses a water transducer in the oil outlet to automatically adjust the cleaning process, which allows low-quality oils to be separated with minimal losses.


The Chinese market – where Alfa Laval products have been sold since the 1950s – gets its own dedicated sales company.


Alfa Laval establishes a fully owned sales company in Japan, where its marine products have been sold since 1926. It inherits the marketing rights for marine equipment previously held by Nagase-Alfa, a 10-year-old joint venture between Alfa Laval AB and Nagase & Co.


Alfa Laval acquires Moatti Filter, a leading supplier of filters for the lubricating oil used in crosshead and trunk piston engines.


1992 MARPOL Annex III...

MARPOL Annex III, addressing harmful substances carried by sea in packaged form, takes effect.

1995 The Global Positioning...

The Global Positioning System (GPS), in development since 1973, becomes fully operational.


Alfa Laval launches the innovative Alfa Laval S separator for oil cleaning. The SU separator modules introduced with the series would later be further simplified as a part of the Alfa Laval S and P Flex concept.


2003 MARPOL Annex IV...

MARPOL Annex IV, addressing sewage from ships, takes effect.

2004 The IMO adopts...

The IMO adopts the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments (BWM Convention). The Convention is a response to the growing ecological issue of invasive marine species transmitted in ballast water exchange. It requires ratification by 30 or more countries representing at least 35% of global shipping in order to take effect.

2005 MARPOL Annex VI...

MARPOL Annex VI, addressing vessel air pollution, takes effect. Annex VI establishes Emission Control Areas (ECAs), where levels of sulphur oxide in ship exhaust are limited to 0.1%.


Alfa Laval returns to the Stockholm Stock Exchange and acquires companies such as Toftejorg Group, the world’s leading supplier of advanced tank cleaning systems.


Pure Thinking becomes the framework for Alfa Laval’s development of marine environmental solutions. Focused on practical, cost-effective compliance, it paves the way for Alfa Laval PureBilge, PureVent, PureBallast, PureDry, PureSOx and PureNOx.


Alfa Laval PureBallast becomes the first commercially available ballast water treatment system.


2014 Both the global...

Both the global shipping industry and international cruise business continue to grow. Shanghai, the world’s leading container port, sees traffic of over 35 million TEU, up from 31 million TEU in 2011. Meanwhile, almost 5 million passengers pass through the Port of Miami, the busiest for cruise ships.

2016 TheDelegates to the...

TheDelegates to the 70th Session of the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC70) agree to implement a 0.5% limit for marine sulphur oxide emissions worldwide. The new restriction is scheduled to take effect in 2020.

2017 The IMO BWM...

The IMO BWM convention is scheduled to take effect in September, exactly one year after Finland became the 52nd nation to ratify, bringing the combined tonnage of contracting States to the treaty to 35.1%.


Alfa Laval acquires Aalborg Industries, a world leader in boiler systems, thermal fluid systems, waste heat recovery systems and inert gas systems. The acquisition strengthens Alfa Laval’s existing global position, adding a strong product offering focused on energy efficiency. Alfa Laval PureSOx is launched the same year.


Alfa Laval expands its offering to the growing LNG market by acquiring the Gas Combustion Unit (GCU), which provides a reliable and safe way to handle excess boil-off gas on LNG carriers and other vessels using LNG as fuel.


Alfa Laval acquires Norwegian company Frank Mohn, now known as Framo. As a leading manufacturer of submerged pumping systems, their unique technology strengthens Alfa Laval’s offering to the marine and offshore markets.


The Alfa Laval Test & Training Centre, a ship simulation facility, is inaugurated in Aalborg, further extending Alfa Laval’s network of training sites. In 2017, a major expansion focusing on fuel challenges produces innovations faster than ever before.


Alfa Laval PureBallast receives type approval from the U.S. Coast Guard. The approval means vessels with PureBallast can deballast in U.S. waters in addition to complying with IMO regulations.


100 years after installing our first marine separator, Alfa Laval celebrates a century of service to the marine industry.


Alfa Laval will celebrate 100 years since the delivery of the first Aalborg marine boiler.

You seem to like marine history

Maybe you'd like to learn more at one of our history events. 

Or maybe you're more of a quiz person and want to put your knowledge to the test?