At a ceremony held in Westminster, Md. Knorr-Bremse opened a new rail vehicle systems production plant.
The grand opening was attended by prominent guests including Maryland Gov. 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 U.S. mass transit market and 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 will include 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 U.S. plant totaled approximately €17 million.