From service company to technology leader

Germany's southern region, especially Upper Swabia, is renowned for the production of sausages. It is here that KNECHT has its roots.

Founded in 1957 by Fritz Knecht, the company has grown from servicing and repairing butcher machines to be the driving force in cutter knife and grinding technology.

1957

Fritz Knecht buys a mechanical workshop in Bad Buchau, Upper Swabia, to service and repair butcher machines.

1960

The company relocates to Unlingen and expands to sell butcher machines. The development of a belt grinding machine is successfully launched to the market under the name 'Combina'.

1964

Corporate headquarters move to Ravensburg. Close proximity to the meat processing industry provides an impetus to develop other sharpening machines and the KNECHT Cutterknife System.

1969

A large fire destroys the company's buildings and equipment. Operations re-start in the cellar of a house in Vogt. The company pushes ahead with new developments and licensing agreements.

1976

Fritz's son, Manfred Knecht, joins the company. Own production line is set up.

1979

The company moves to larger premises in Ravensburg and continues to expand its product offering. Key components are grinding machines and the Delta Cutterknife System. Establishment of an international sales network begins.

1983

Production capacity and sales increase, necessitating a move to Bergatreute. First exhibition at the international trade fair in Frankfurt (IFFA). KNECHT Maschinenbau GmbH is established.

1992

A new, larger factory is built on the company's present-day site.

1993

KNECHT introduces the first automatic grinding machine for cutter knives. The machine provides consistent high grinding quality, extreme angle and shape precision. It is a huge success in the market.

1998

Introduction of the B 500, the world's first machine that automatically sharpens, deburrs and polishes cutter knives and involute machine knives.

2000

Due to the huge international success, development focuses on automatic grinding machines and innovative cutter knife systems. The company's product and service range are further optimised and enhanced. Company founder Fritz Knecht dies on October 8th, 2000 at the age of 71.

2001

Launch of the B 600 – the first unmanned, fully automatic cutter knife grinding machine. This computer-operated machine accommodates up to 20 knives in the magazine, and can grind, polish and deburr up to 80 cutter knives per shift. Grinding programmes and updates can be installed online from anywhere in the world,  independent from the location of the grinding machine.

2003

KNECHT launches the W 300 – a plane grinding machine developed to grind mincer inserts and sausage cutting tools.

2004

The production plant is further expanded by 1,000 square meters to fulfill increasing demand.

2006

Kathi Knecht celebrates her 70th birthday. She helped found the company with her husband Fritz. Her responsibilities include finances and staff.

2007

Launch of the K 24 cutterknife system – an innovative milestone in the market. 

2008

The K 24 cutter knife system receives the award for innovation from the administrative district Ravensburg, reaffirming the company as a world leader in the technology.

2009

KNECHT introduces the W 200 at the Agroprodmash in Moscow. The youngest and smallest members of the surface-grinding family grinds mincer parts and inline grinder cutting sets up to 200 mm in diameter.

Austria and Switzerland are traditionally strong markets for KNECHT. The aim is to be as close as possible to the customers. In order to live up to this claim, KNECHT buys FLEMA Meat Processing Machines GmbH.

2010

KNECHT supplements the market with its innovative sickle-blade grinding machine; the A 950. This machine is designed for just about any brand of sickle-shaped blade on the market.

The USA is an important export market for KNECHT. In order to serve American customers in the best possible way, an own subsidiary is founded: KNECHT North America Inc.

2011

Kathi Knecht died on November 7th, 2011 at the age of 75 years.

2012

Markus Knecht is appointed member of the company management on January 1st, 2012. The company is now managed by the two Managing Directors Manfred and Markus Knecht.

 

KNECHT launches an up to six axes-controlled grinding machine for the grinding and serrating of slicer knives: the A 95.

2013

KNECHT is building: After the long winter, construction machines have been rolling since March. KNECHT enlarges its production facilities by further 1000 m².

 

Grinding hand knives fully automatic? World innovation: the E 50 grinds 400 hand knives
per 8-hour shift.

2014

Our new building is ready. We are delighted with the appealing architecture. We already feel very much at home is the new premises.

E 50 Fully automatic hand knife grinding machine surpasses all expectations!
That a forward-looking innovation was put on the market with the introduction of E 50 has been confirmed by our winning the competitive prize for innovation awarded by the Ravensburg administrative district and the Dr. Rudolf Eberle prize for innovation awarded by Baden-Württemberg state.

 

Market launch of the fully automated surface grinding machine W 40
It grinds wolf discs and knives, as well as mincer blade sets with a diameter of up to 400 mm. The touchscreen control makes the W 40 extremely user-friendly. In automatic mode, the teaching, feed, sparking out and return to the change position are fully automatic.

2016

The circular and sickle knife grinding machine A 95 received a distinction at the 2016 Ravensburg District Innovation Awards. A total of 31 companies competed for the 2015/2016 Innovation Award offered by the Ravensburg District Business and Innovation Advancement Association. KNECHT Maschinenbau received an award for its circular and sickle knife grinding machine A 95. This award reflects KNECHT’s innovative strength.

2017

KNECHT turns 60. Fritz Knecht was working as a shop fitter at a large meat processing works in the south of Germany. Carrying out maintenance and repair work on the production machines, he would make some of the spare parts himself so as to achieve greater strength and stability. His aim was to optimize the machines’ operational safety. Knecht felt there was still a lot of development potential, so he decided to set up his own business. The time finally came in the autumn of 1957: Fritz Knecht rented a mechanical workshop in Bad Buchau, Upper Swabia. His main area of activity was providing maintenance and repair for meat processing machines. As an independent, small-scale entrepreneur, he earned his initial income repairing machines and trading second-hand equipment. In the very first years of running his own business, Knecht began to develop a knife grinding machine. In 1960, sales were launched of the belt grinding machine Combina. The Combina was the first grinding machine to be produced by KNECHT.

Since then, KNECHT has been involved almost exclusively in the development and manufacture of grinding machines for cutting tools used in food production. It was back then – 60 years ago – that Fritz Knecht laid the foundations. A young family with two small children – with no money but a mind full of ideas. And the courage to simply get started.

In recent years, France has developed into an important and successful market for KNECHT. French customers should benefit from the best possible market presence. KNECHT France S.A.R.L. is founded.

2018

At the ANUGA the Fully Automatic Hand Knife Sharpening Machine E 50 R is presented to the worldwide public. A six-axis robot sharpens up to 650 hand knives per shift. The E 50 R extends the family of fully automatic hand knife sharpening machines.

2019

The Russian Federation has been a very important and successful market for KNECHT for many years. In order to be as close as possible to our customers in all areas, OOO KNECHT Rus will be founded on April 19, 2019.

KNECHT uses the IFFA for the market launch of the E 50 RT. The six-axis robot sharpening machine has a daily output of 680 hand knives. It grinds 576 knives unmanned. The E 50 RT completes the family of fully automatic hand knife sharpening machines.

2020

After a construction period of 12 months, the new administration building is put into operation in January.