Danish Inventor, Manufacturer Bent Jensen Now Among World's Billionaires

Linak Headquarters in Nordborg, Denmark

The newest Forbes billionaire, Bent Jensen, built his fortune by designing and manufacturing linear actuators. These are mechanical devices used to provide force in a straight line. For example, linear actuators help raise or lower a hospital bed or allow solar panels to track the path of the sun. Jensen is the owner and CEO of $390 million (sales) Linak. The company is worth more than a billion, based on comparisons to such public rivals as Parker-Hannifin and Rotork, even when its value is discounted for being privately-held. Actuator Linear Track Stroke 600mm

Danish Inventor, Manufacturer Bent Jensen Now Among World

Linak’s roots date back to 1907, when Jensen’s grandfather founded Christian Jensen and Sons (the name was changed to Linak in 1984). His father persuaded Jensen  to take over the company in 1976. At the time the company, which had just 7 employees, manufactured flat belt pulleys, V-belt pulleys, grinding mills and forges.

Jensen, who had just completed a degree in mechanical engineering, gave himself five years to come up with a new product to propel the company. He soon had an idea for a new product based on work he did in university improving a wheelchair for a disabled fellow student. Three years later, he introduced the linear actuator. In 1986 Jensen started an electronics department so that Linak could make the control boxes needed to use the actuators.

Danish Inventor, Manufacturer Bent Jensen Now Among World

Silent Linear Actuator It turned out that the linear actuator had uses in a variety of industries and today his invention is found in industrial and farming equipment, ergonomic office furniture, and healthcare equipment. The company has expanded throughout Europe, into the U.S. and more recently in Asia where it opened a factory in China in 2006.