Knorr-Bremse opens new Rail Vehicle Systems plant in the USA

At a ceremony held on May 9 in Westminster, Maryland, USA, Knorr-Bremse opened a new Rail Vehicle Systems production plant. The grand opening was attended by prominent guests including the Governor of Maryland, Martin O’Malley, and the owner and Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Knorr-Bremse, Heinz Hermann Thiele, as well as by many customers. As a result of the ongoing growth of the US mass transit market and of three current major orders for HVAC systems, the former plant in Westminster had reached the limits of its capacity.

At a ceremony held on May 9 in Westminster, Maryland, USA, Knorr-Bremse opened a new Rail Vehicle Systems production plant. The grand opening was attended by prominent guests including the Governor of Maryland, Martin O’Malley, and the owner and Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Knorr-Bremse, Heinz Hermann Thiele, as well as by many customers. As a result of the ongoing growth of the US mass transit market and of three current major orders for HVAC systems, the former plant in Westminster had reached the limits of its capacity.

Just a few kilometers from the former site, the new plant triples the capacity and soon will employ almost 300 employees. This location will develop, manufacture and sell state-of-the-art system solutions for rail vehicles on over 20,000 square meters of production and office space. Along with brake control systems and bogie equipment, Knorr Brake Company’s portfolio includes compressors, air dryers, HVAC systems and door systems for all types of passenger rail vehicles on the US market.

“Our new plant in Westminster is one of the most advanced facilities in Knorr-Bremse’s global production network,” said Dr. Dieter Wilhelm, member of the Executive Board of Knorr-Bremse AG responsible for the Rail Vehicle Systems division in his opening address. “We have paid special attention to implementing highly efficient, value stream-oriented production processes and logistics here, with the aid of which we aim to further increase the added value for our customers in the United States.”

Aligned with the principles of the globally harmonized Knorr-Bremse Production System (KPS), the new plant in Westminster also meets the highest international standards in terms of process organization, operational efficiency, logistics and quality. In keeping with the corporate philosophy of Knorr-Bremse, the new factory employs transparent structures to realize open communications between the production and support sectors, making for closer contact between development and production. The new plant sets standards in ecological terms as well: in line with the US LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) classification, it is rated particularly eco-friendly, resource efficient and sustainable. Also, as the new site was planned, Knorr-Bremse made provision for further expansion of the plant, should more capacity be required in the future.

Investments in the US plant totaled approximately USD 28 million. With the new facility in Westminster the Group is continuing its extensive program of investments in the strategic expansion of the global Knorr-Bremse development and production network. In the course of this investment program, which was launched in 2011 and runs until 2014, Knorr-Bremse is investing more than EUR 250 million in state-of-the-art production systems and facilities in growth markets around the world. April of this year already witnessed the opening of a new Rail and Commercial Vehicle Systems plant in Brazil.

The Knorr-Bremse Group maintains a total of eight production sites in the United States, while the US market accounts for around one quarter of consolidated sales. Knorr-Bremse has been active in the US market since the early 1970s. The Group’s US subsidiary, Knorr Brake Company, was founded in 1973 and in the space of just a few years established itself as a recognized supplier of leading-edge braking system solutions in the rail passenger transportation sector. A key milestone for Knorr-Bremse’s business in the US rail freight sector followed in 1989 with the approval of New York Air Brake’s DB 60 control valve for use in American freight trains. Under the Bendix brand name, since 1993 Knorr-Bremse also has been active in the American commercial vehicle sector. Following the successful expansion of its activities, today Knorr-Bremse ranks among the leading manufacturers of braking systems for both rail vehicles and commercial vehicles in the United States.

The Knorr-Bremse Group is the world’s leading manufacturer of braking systems for rail and commercial vehicles. For more than 100 years now the company has pioneered the development, production, marketing and servicing of state-of-the-art braking systems. In the rail vehicle systems sector, the product portfolio also includes intelligent door systems, HVAC systems, control components, and windscreen wiper systems, as well as platform screen doors, friction material and driver advisory systems. Knorr-Bremse also offers driving simulators and e-learning systems for optimum train crew training. In the commercial vehicle systems sector, the product range includes complete braking systems with driver assistance systems, as well as torsional vibration dampers, powertrain-related solutions and transmission control systems for enhanced energy efficiency and fuel economy.

Westminster

Source : Knorr-Bremse

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