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Who are we?

ITW GSE  is a proud division of Illinois Tool Works. ITW GSE enjoy a global market-leading position producing ground power and pre-conditioned air units as well as supplying cables and hoses. Prior to April 2018, we sold our products under the AXA Power, Hobart, Houchin, Military and J&B Aviation brands.

As part of an ongoing brand consolidation process, we have merged these legacy brands and sell the entire ITW GSE portfolio under the single name “ITW GSE.” We assure you that our name is the only thing changing. We still sell the same great power, air, cable and hose solutions you depend on. And we are still the same people, grateful for your business and eager to serve you.

ITW GSE Company Profile

About Illinois Tool Works
ITW GSE is part of Illinois Tool Works (ITW), a Fortune 200 corporation with over 100 years of history. ITW is a diversified manufacturer of advanced industrial technology that employs nearly 51,000 people worldwide and is based in Glenview, Illinois, USA, with operation in 56 countries. Read more about Illinois Tool Works.

History of the AXA Power Brand

ITW GSE ApS, formerly AXA Power Aps was founded in 1924 by Mr. Axel Åkerman (photo).

In 1949, at the occasion of the company’s first jubilee, an employee wrote: “The company Axel Åkerman and the person Axel Åkerman are so close that the company’s history is identical to that of the person Axel Åkerman”. This is valid until 1970 where Mr. Åkerman dies which puts a natural end to his daily visits in the company. Actually, Axel Åkerman did continue to play a role for another 30 years where the company merged with AXA Power and took on that name.

Axel Åkerman was born in 1896. His parents came from Sweden/Norway but moved to Denmark shortly after Axel’s birth. In 1910, Axel started as his career by company Thomas B. Thrige, a very well esteemed Danish company, where he stayed till 1915. After a couple of years that he used to complete his education within the field of electro-techniques – among other in Norway, he established a small work shop in Odense in 1924. He started doing repair of electric systems for cars but during the following decade the company grew and took on the production of transformers and rectifiers, products that became the core business of Axel Åkerman until the late 80ies.

In 1953, the local airport manager who happened to be the friend of the Åkerman family, asked Axel to manufacture a small 28 VDC rectifier for the start up of small aircraft – and so he did. This was the start of the current core business of AXA Power – actually, the unit worked without any problems till 1995, where we simply suggested the airport to exchange the unit with a modern 28 VDC unit out of marketing reasons…

From 1953 and onwards, the company manufactured many 28 VDC units that were primarily sold in Scandinavia and the Netherlands. As the years went by, customers started asking for 400 Hz unit to supply larger aircraft and therefore, in 1985, Mr. Kjell Åkerman, third generation, and his staff decided to develop such a unit. At the same time, they made a promise to themselves: always to be at the forefront of the development.

This philosophy proved to be right – or in other words, the 400 Hz unit from AXA became such a success that a new company, namely AXA Power, was created. During the first years, AXA Power manufactured around 100 ground power units in total per year – but the ratio has changed quite dramatically over the past couple of years. Today, the company manufactures approx. 8-900 units per year and is considered the world’s major manufacturer of 400 Hz units.

In year 2000, AXA Power was acquired by the industrial group Illinois Tool Works, ITW, with head office in Chicago.

In 2013, AXA Power changed its name to ITW GSE ApS to reflect the relations to ITW - Illinois Tool Works.

History of the Hobart Brand

Since becoming the first manufacturer of Aircraft Ground Power equipment in the domestic United States in 1946, Hobart continually developed new products to meet the ever-changing requirements of the Aerospace industry.

The Hobart ground power units were designed to provide AC or DC power with the latest in Engine Drive and Solid State technology; suitable for aircraft platforms in the commercial, general, business and military markets. Hobart generators were designed and built at the factory in Palmetto, US.
In year 2000, Hobart Ground Power was sold to ITW.

History of the Houchin Brand

Houchin has always been a strong brand name recognised and respected throughout the world. Among Houchin’s customers you find Airlines, Ground Handling Companies, Lease Companies, Airports and Military organisations in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

With Service Engineers in the UK, Denmark and Dubai, Houchin has ensured their customers the best possible service.
Houchin, established back in 1921, joined ITW in 2005.

About J&B Aviation

J&B Aviation has been providing quality products and accessories for the Ground Support industry since 1991. J&B Aviation has always been known for quality and innovative 400Hz, 270V DC and Banded cables. J&B Aviation  has also offered a variety of accessories for all aircraft types including PCA Connectors, hoses, reels and carts and a variety hose storage solutions.

J&B Aviation  patented many designs. Under the J&B brand (and continously under the ITW GSE name), they offered replaceable contact sections for 400 Hz cables to prolong the life of cables, cable protection from scuff jackets to scuff rings, swivel connectors and more.
In year 2005, J&B Aviation was sold to ITW.