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Knorr-Bremse AG, Munich
Founded 1905 in Berlin
Headquarters Munich, Germany
Key people

Klaus Deller, chairman of the executive board

Heinz Hermann Thiele, chairman of the supervisory board
Products braking systems (rail and road)
Revenue €4.3 billion (2013)[1]
Number of employees
20,833 (as of Dec 31, 2013)[2][3]
Georg Knorr (1859–1911)
Knorr-Bremse Berlin

Knorr-Bremse is a manufacturer of braking systems for rail and commercial vehicles that has operated in the field for over 100 years. Other products in Group's portfolio include intelligent door systems, control components, air conditioning systems for rail vehicles, and torsional vibration dampers, transmission control systems for commercial vehicles. In 2013, the Group's workforce of over 19,000 achieved worldwide sales of EUR 4.3 billion. The Group has over 90 locations in 27 countries.[4]


Inventor Georg Knorr founded Knorr-Bremse in 1905 in Berlin. The initial basis for the company's commercial success was provided by an agreement with the Prussian State Railways to supply single-chamber express braking systems offering considerably enhanced safety performance compared with traditional systems. In the early twentieth century, train guards still had to operate the brakes by hand, from so-called "brake vans". The first pneumatic brakes were of a basic design, but before long, indirect automatic systems using a control valve were developed.
See History of rail transport in Germany.

The second main area of activity for Knorr-Bremse emerged in 1922, when they moved into pneumatic braking systems for commercial road vehicles. Knorr-Bremse was the first European company to develop a new pneumatic system that applied the brakes simultaneously to all four wheels of a truck as well as its trailer. The resultant reduction in braking distances made a significant contribution to improving road safety.

A small number of the Swedish light MG35/36 machine gun were also manufactured by Knorr for the German forces in the 1940s.

Knorr Bremse then bought Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems from Honeywell to make it the leading company in the brake system industry.

1905 Georg Knorr founds Knorr-Bremse GmbH in Berlin.
1910–24 Knorr-Bremse develops air brakes for freight trains and becomes a major European manufacturer of rail vehicle brakes.
1922 Development of air brakes for commercial vehicles commences.
1931–39 The Hildebrand-Knorr (HiK) braking system used for express trains in 17 countries. 90% of all German trucks in the 7–16 t range are fitted with Knorr braking systems.
1945–53 Development and manufacture of braking systems begins again in the western part of Germany, with the main emphasis on the HiK system. Company headquarters are relocated to Munich.
1985–93 During a difficult phase in the company's development, Heinz Hermann Thiele acquires a majority share in Knorr-Bremse and launches a radical restructuring program and becomes a global player. The AAR DB60 control valve gains Knorr-Bremse access to the North American market.
1996 Series production of pneumatic disc brakes for commercial vehicles begins.
1999 Robert Bosch GmbH merges its activities in the electronic brake control sector with Knorr-Bremse Commercial Vehicle Systems. Knorr-Bremse takes a 60% share, giving it overall managerial control of the joint venture; Bosch retains a 20% share.
2002 Knorr-Bremse takes over from Honeywell International Inc., USA its share of joint ventures in Europe, Brazil and the USA. Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems becomes a subsidiary of Knorr-Bremse AG. The Knorr-Bremse Group achieves sales of EUR 2.1 billion for the first time.
2005 Centenary of operation.


Rail vehicles[edit]

Knorr-Bremse not only produces complete braking systems for all types of rolling stock but also door systems, toilets, air conditioning, couplings and windscreen wipers. In 2000, it purchased British manufacturer, Westinghouse Brakes (formerly the brakes division of Westinghouse Brake and Signal Company Ltd), from Invensys, and subsequently moved its operations from Chippenham to the nearby English town of Melksham, Wiltshire.[5]

Since 2002, Knorr-Bremse has been working on variable gauge systems for more efficient solutions to break of gauge problems.

Commercial vehicles[edit]

Knorr-Bremse has been developing and manufacturing braking systems for commercial vehicles since 1920, for trucks and semi-trailer tractor units over 6 tonnes, buses, trailers or special vehicles.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Press release: Knorr-Bremse achieves sales of 4.3 billion euros". Retrieved 2014-02-08. 
  2. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ "Knorr-Bremse Group —- Facts & Figures 2012" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-02-08. 
  4. ^ "Knorr-Bremse Worldwide". Retrieved 2014-02-08. 
  5. ^ Invensys investor relations news release, April 25, 2000 Invensys Sells Westinghouse Brakes to Knorr-Bremse. Retrieved from the Internet Archive on March 30, 2008.

External links[edit]