In the presence of their Royal Highnesses Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia, Knorr-Bremse officially opened its new plant in Getafe near Madrid on June 25. Knorr-Bremse has merged the existing activities of its braking and door systems subsidiary Frenos and its air-conditioning subsidiary Merak at a site some 20km to the south of the Spanish capital. Knorr-Bremse is also celebrating an anniversary: the company has been in the Spanish market for exactly 50 years.
In addition to their Royal Highnesses, the ceremony was attended by many representatives of ministries and local authorities, together with major vehicle builders and operators. In his speech of welcome the chairman of the supervisory board of Knorr-Bremse, Heinz Hermann Thiele, thanked the guests for coming and stressed the importance of the Spanish rail market for Knorr-Bremse.
“Nowadays the Spanish market is one of the most modern in the world, with several high-speed lines, modern metro systems and ongoing expansion of local and regional rail networks. Success for Knorr-Bremse therefore crucially depends on maintaining a strong local production presence.”
AIR-CONDITIONING, BRAKES AND DOOR SYSTEMS
Knorr-Bremse manufactures three different product groups under one roof in Getafe: air-conditioning, brakes and door systems. This generates important synergies and enables the company to offer attractive and competitive products. The site has 10,000m² of production area and an additional 2,000m² of office space and will employ a workforce of 500.
It was designed according to Knorr-Bremse’s global standards for production plants. In addition to production, the building, with its modern, transparent design, also houses the Group’s development centre for air-conditioning technology. Getafe is centrally situated between Madrid and Pinto, where both companies formerly had their administrative headquarters. Frenos moved to the new site in December 2007 and Merak in January 2008.
In both cases, production continued uninterrupted following relocation. Knorr-Bremse started technical co-operation with Sociedad Española de Frenos in the field of braking systems for the Spanish rail market back in 1958, and in 2001 the company was fully integrated into the group. It now also produces rail vehicle door systems.
Since 2005, Merak Sistemas Integrados de Climatización, as a supplier of modern air-conditioning technology for rail vehicles, has also been part of the Knorr-Bremse Group.