The first idea for a flow regulator emerged as early as 1959 when Jørgen Mosbæk Johannessen, in the first year studying for a degree in engineering at Horsens Technical School, was given an assignment with developing a complete drainage project for a single-family house.
At home, his mother collected rainwater in a large tub and used the soft water to rinse clothes. This gave Jørgen an idea that it should be possible to collect rainwater from the single-family house's roof in a inspection chamber/structure and then use an attenuation device to slowly release water into the main pipe out in the street. This way, the municipality could suffice with main pipes that had far smaller dimensions: in other words, a set-up like this could save money. But the set-up had to be invented first.
In the following years, Jørgen graduated in 1961 and subsequently worked for various consulting engineering firms as a project engineer in the drainage sector. Here, too, he often saw a need for a set-up that could attenuate rainwater and prevent flooding. Therefore, he never abandoned his flow regulator idea and spent his leisure time diligently experimenting with various flow regulators, either as experimental models in the kitchen sink or in a cistern in his back yard.
He discovered that the best, most compact way to design a flow regulator was to use a round container which caused the water to rotate as it flowed through. This substantially slowed down the water flow. The design reminded of what is now called a centrifugal flow regulator.
Flow regulator patent applied for
By 1971, Jørgen had finished developing the flow regulator's design, which enabled him to submit a patent application for his invention. The overall invention included an inspection chamber with a built-in centrifugal flow regulator.
Jørgen continued to experiment optimistically to see whether other flow regulator designs could be found, and he completed the development of the cyclone flow regulator in 1974.
The first flow regulators are sold in North America
1974 was a memorable year, because this is also when Jørgen sold his first flow regulator - to Norway.
To finance the costly patent applications, Jørgen sold a number of licences for his flow regulators that same year. The licensees were to manage marketing and sales of the flow regulators; Jørgen would continue working on further development.
Initially, the marketing targeted the US, Canada and the UK. On these markets, the flow regulators were marketed under the trade name "Hydro-Brake".
They had their birth of fire when presented at the large "International Public Works Congress & Equipment Show" in Las Vegas in September 1976.
Over the five years during which the licensee collaboration lasted, more than 1,000 flow regulators were sold in the US, the UK, Canada and Mexico.
Flow regulators marketed in Denmark
With five years of experience under his belt, Jørgen now wanted to manage flow regulator-sales himself, so he founded the company Jørgen Mosbæk Johannessen ApS in 1979.
He decided to focus on the Danish market where flow regulator-sales were soon successful.
As demand in Denmark gradually increased, he decided to resign from a permanent job with an engineering firm in 1981 and focus all his energy on his business.
Flow regulators marketed in Europe
In the 1980s, his business got its first authorised dealers: in the UK and the Netherlands. Since then, more have followed in their wake, and distributors are now found in most European countries and 60% of the production is exported.
Bigger and better facilities
Up to 1993, Jørgen Mosbæk Johannessen ApS outsourced the manufacture of its regulators, but in 1993, the business embarked on its own manufacturing process to streamline everything under one roof and to ensure complete quality control.
Sales continued to rise, and the enterprise soon outgrew its leased premises. So the current office and manufacturing property on Værkstedsvej 20 in Køge, Denmark, were obtained in 1995. The new domicile was big enough to accommodate an enlarged testing centre.
In 1998, the enterprise was reorganised into a public limited company and changed its name to Mosbaek A/S.
In 2006, Jørgen Mosbæk Johannessen divested the business to his daughters, Marina Mosbæk Johannessen and Janne Mosbæk Johannessen, as well as to his nephew and works manager in Mosbaek A/S for a decade, Kim Mosbæk Johannessen. Marina took over the position of managing director and Kim continued in his job as works manager. Janne was also employed by the company in early 2007.
Marina obtained a master's degree in mathematics and molecular biology from Roskilde University in 1998. In October 2004, she obtained a PhD in science from the University of Copenhagen. She conducted her research project at the Risø National Laboratory. Marina's scientific insight, as well as the general tools and experience she gained through her studies, has given the company substantial ballast. Marina has been participating in day-to-day operations of Mosbaek A/S since early 2005.
Janne is a qualified nurse, but her wish to gain insight into the company's operations, as well as her interest in marketing, gave her the urge to take on challenges at Mosbaek A/S. Janne returned to her nursing profession in 2009, as this is where her calling lies.
Jørgen Mosbæk Johannessen continued as technical director until 2010, after which he became the company's senior advisor. Ever since then, he has been able to devote himself to his core skills: inventing and developing.
Torben Johan Krejberg was engaged in 2009 and named technical director in 2010. Torben has a civil engineering degree from DTU and a bachelor of commerce degree in organisation and management from Copenhagen Business School. In addition, Torben has gained extensive experience as a development engineer and project manager at FLSmidth A/S.
"Predicting is difficult, especially when the future is involved" Danish humorist Storm P once said, but it will undoubtedly include further development and improvement of the flow regulators. And perhaps even a new type of flow regulator. Jørgen still has a few ideas up his sleeve, at any rate...