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The history of KTR

Always one step ahead

Innovation and tradition do not have to be a contradiction: KTR's company history is a proof of how much a family-owned company might achieve. 

This page summarizes the most important milestones in the development to become a world-leading manufacturer of drive compnents, brake systems and cooling systems as well as hydraulic components.

We always have to be one step ahead of the others.

Our milestones


In 1886 Franz Tacke, millwright and technician, founded F. TACKE KG in Rheine. First the company started building transmission plants qualifying as a leading manufacturer of large gearboxes in the course of the upcoming transmission technology. As a result they were also involved in the issue of power transmission from the drive via the gear- box to the machine. Thus, it was Dipl.-Ing. Albert Tacke, the eldest son of Franz Tacke, who developed the curved-tooth gear coupling in 1934. From then on F. TACKE KG supplied the heavy industry with large and powerful cou- plings completely made of steel.


As automation advanced, the idea of providing the curved-tooth gear coupling to a wider application range in the lower performance level came up in the company. As a consequence F. TACKE KG designed the BoWex. Two types of which were defined in 1958: Type A was fully made of nylon while type B combined the materials nylon and steel.

But what would be the best way to market the new product? After all the dis- tribution channel of the new small and low-cost coupling generation had to be different from that of an all-steel curved-tooth gear coupling that is mainly made to order in individual or minimum batches for a special client base. On September 30, 1959 Dipl.-Ing. Franz Tacke, a grandson of the company founder of the same name, founded Kupplungstechnik GmbH based in Rheine.


The torsionally flexible jaw coupling ROTEX® has been introduced in 1967 for the first time.

Just a few years later, in 1969, the up-to-date new building of the company office was completed and opened for the staff. The open-plan office is in step with the times: It is open to all sides, equipped with state-of-the-art furniture and ensures short distances.


Foundation of KTR's first subsidiary companies in Switzerland and Japan. But that was not the end: Until now subsidiary companies were founded in the USA, France, Norway, India, China, Finland, Sweden, The Netherlands, Poland, Czech Republic, Great Britain, Brazil, Korea, Italy, Russia, Spain, Taiwan, Turkey and South Africa. Finally the latest subsidiary was established in Singapore in 2022.


The company grows, the inventory rises. Meanwhile KTR has a stock of more than 102,000 different product components which leads to significant warehousing bottlenecks.

In autumn 2002 the new building of a state-of-the-art logistics centre at Carl-Zeiss-Strasse was started with. Using investment resources of more than 6.6 million euros the new high tech plant commences operation in June 2003. The centerpiece is a high-bay warehouse system 15 metres high along with a fully automated order processing plant.

Already 5 years later, in 2008, the capacity of the logistics centre was expanded by 100 %.


The years 2013 to 2015 were mainly characterised by structural and innovative changes for KTR: It gets started with the TCC communication and training centre in 2013, followed by the foundation of KTR Brake Systems GmbH in Schloß Holte-Stukenbrock and the construction of the competence centre for brakes. KTR opens the new R&D centre with a multifunctional assembly hall on a surface of 8800 square metres in Rheine in 2015.


In April 2016, the 30,000 sqm plant in Jiaxing (Zhejiang province, approx. 100 km southwest of Shanghai) was inaugurated.

At the end of 2018, the plant was expanded to include cooler production.


Time for a change: On January 1st, KTR Kupplungstechnik GmbH changes its company name into KTR Systems GmbH. Nicola Warning follows Prof. Dr. h. c. Josef Gerstner as CEO at the end of that year.


The new KTR Thinktank is launched in Hilden. The team of experts is to identify innovation potentials and markets and expedite the development of new couplings.