A Success Story: 75 Years of KNF

KNF celebrates its 75th anniversary, sharing reminiscences of the most important milestones in the last 75 years.

A technology leader for diaphragm pumps, KNF has grown into an international company group with 17 locations. To celebrate the 75th anniversary, KNF has chosen to honor important stages in the history with a digital anniversary blog.

Flexibility, dedicated employees and adaptability – these are three characteristics which transformed a small Freiburg-based workshop to a world market leader. April 1, 2021, marks the 75th anniversary of KNF.

CEO Martin Becker is convinced that KNF is fully prepared for the future. “Thanks to our own individualized structures, our passionate employees and last but not least our financial independence as a family-run operation, we are always capable of stepping out of our comfort zone, going our own way and thus continuing the success story that began in a small workshop in the suburbs of Freiburg 75 years ago,” he says.

A trip down memory lane to 1946, the year KNF was founded: Amidst the rubble of war-torn Freiburg im Breisgau, a young man began establishing his livelihood. Kurt Neuberger, grounding cylinders and repairing motors in his small workshop, later transitioned to a career in machine tool manufacturing. In 1962, Erich Becker joined Kurt Neuberger Freiburg KG (KNF). From these early beginnings a company group was born which would eventually have operations around the globe. And a single customer’s order gave rise to a success story.

At an early stage, visionary Erich Becker recognized the potential diaphragm pump technology was offering.
At an early stage, visionary Erich Becker recognized the potential diaphragm pump technology was offering.

At that time, the Freiburg-based company assembled diaphragm pumps for aspiration and suction units for medical applications as a contract manufacturer. Engineer Erich Becker soon recognized the potential this versatile pump technology was offering. When Kurt Neuberger died in 1966, Erich Becker assumed the role of general manager and set out on his own to expand the company. With the first corrosion-resistant diaphragm pump, KNF managed to tap into the laboratory and medical technology market. The double diaphragm pump was then developed in the early 1970s, opening up new applications in the industrial sector, in particular in nuclear technology. These technological breakthroughs were complemented by international expansion, which began in Europe and quickly spread to the US and Asia.

Today, KNF pumps can be found all over the world – and beyond. For instance, astronauts onboard the ISS rely on these dependable, low-maintenance diaphragm pumps that supply the air they breathe. In fact, the Group’s expertise can be applied to nearly any application in almost any environment, from cruise ships to external ventricular assist devices for infants.

Despite interplanetary accomplishments, KNF has remained down-to-earth – the company cares for its community, supporting local, social and sustainable initiatives at each of its locations, both with and for its members of staff. The commitment to each location is uncompromising – an important factor for success.

“As our journey continues, it has never been quite as exciting as it is right now,” Martin Becker reports happily.