Born in 1904, Aage Valdemar Kjær was the son of a small holder and clog maker in rural Denmark. Having first trained as a blacksmith, he later went on to study engineering, after which he worked as a marine engineer and then as an engineer at Galten Power Station.
In 1941, he established the “AVK Maskinværksted” in Galten, Denmark. As well as running his machine shop and being a fine craftsman, he was an excellent athlete and dedicated member of the community.
The shop quickly became part of the local community and was frequently used by both private people, businesses, dairies, brick works and many more others.
During the 1950’s, Kjær extended his business with the design and fabrication of refrigerating systems. Plumbing work also became an increasing part of the business with the installation of central heating into private households. AVK became a successful business with increasing demand, and the facilities on Søndergade in Galten were extended with a separate factory building.
Kjær’s son, Niels Aage Kjær, joined AVK in 1961 as a 16-year-old apprentice. Niels Aage later returned to school and studied engineering. As a fully-fledged engineer, he began working at the Technological Institute in Aarhus, while also becoming more and more involved in his father’s business.
Niels Aage and his father became business partners in 1970. Sadly, a week later Aage Valdemar died at the age of 65, and Niels Aage took over the business. In the same year, Niels Aage designed the first gate valve.
From that moment on AVK manufactured valves which marked the beginning of a long expansion journey, starting with the neighbouring countries.
Throughout the “amazing eighties”, AVK’s total number of employees increased from 115 to 650. With full focus on quality, AVK was certified according to the ISO 9000 standard in 1990 – only the second company to achieve this certification in Denmark.
AVK moving forward
Through decades of acquisitions, establishments and continuous growth, the AVK Group now has 100+ companies across the world and more than 4,400 dedicated employees covering our three business units: AVK Water, AVK Industrial and AVK Advanced Manufacturing.
Through systematic product development and introduction into new markets, AVK is one of the world's largest manufacturers and suppliers of valves and fittings.
Every day, our solutions help deliver clean water and sustainable energy to millions of people in households and industries across the world. We assist in the transportation, treatment and reutilising of wastewater, and in assuring safe, secure surroundings ready to fight the unfortunate events of fire. We work towards a better, more sustainable future, where natural resources are used and managed wisely - one day, one product and one solution at a time.
It is our goal to continue developing, and producing innovative, high quality, long lifetime products that play a vital role in a sustainable development for the benefit of both people and our planet.
8 decades ago, the machine shop was founded on the values of quality, innovation, reliability, sustainability and customer service, and which still form the basis of AVK today.
"Our history is the key to our future success"
Niels Aage Kjær