In the next four chapters we intend looking back on the history of Grasso GmbH RT in order to give an impression of the origins of our organisation. Each chapter will cover a period of a decade between the years 1950 and 2000.
Grasso GmbH RT was formed from the former VEB Kühlautomat, which was based in Berlin-Johannisthal, Segelfliegerdamm 1 to 45. This state-owned company was established almost 55 years ago on the decision of the City Council of Greater Berlin.
1950: On 5 April, VEB Kühlautomat Berlin was established. The repair department for small refrigerating machines was formed in May and allocated a planned turnover of 100,000.-- Marks. Production of commercial refrigerators began. The first material testing and moisture testing chambers were built. Compressor development also started.
1954: Construction of the first piston compressors with a star-shaped design with 4 and 6 cylinders, 9 sizes and swept volumes ranging from 112 to 880 m3/h.
1955: Development and construction of thermo-baro chambers for material tests under extreme conditions for space research in the Soviet Union.
Up until 1956, 46 freezer ships of the Drushba class were fully equipped with refrigeration plant. As the capacities of another comany, VEB Kälte, were insufficient, the first ship refrigeration plant for fishing and fish processing ships as well as marine passenger ships were built in VEB Kühlautomat.
1957: Supply of refrigerated cabinets, refrigerated counters and deep-freeze chests, initially with their own open-design compressor unit, later with a compressor from VEB dkk, Scharfenstein. Turnover of 12 - 13 million Marks, 1000 employees.
Freezing preservation was primarily concentrated on fish, leading to an increasing demand for freezing equipment and storage room refrigeration systems for fishing vessels. Until then, VEB Kühlautomat based in Berlin's Warschauer Strasse had been responsible for the project planning, construction and installation of ships refrigeration plant.
1958: Integration of VEB Kälte in VEB Kühlautomat Berlin. Up until this time VEB Kälte had equipped 156 refrigerated ships. VEB Kühlautomat increasingly concentrated on ships refrigeration plant. By 1960, refrigeration plant was provided for 171 medium-sized trawlers.
1959: The compressor range was reduced from 26 types to 6 types (R602, R802, V804, W1006, W115.12 and V1008/2). The first four were deployed as the standard series in R12 compressor sets in the mid 1960s. By 1965, the provisions and air conditioning systems of 16 different types of ship were equipped with these refrigerating compressors.
1960: The medium-sized trawler ship series was followed by the large series of fishing and processing ships. This started with the Tropik ship type (86 ships) from 1962 to 1966. Then followed 186 ships (1966 -1976) of the Atlantik series, for the first time with two belt freezers on board.
A total of 201 ships of the successor ship Atlantik Super Trawler were built between 1972 and 1983. Apart from these large series, a large number of internationally renowned ships were equipped all with refrigeration systems for provisions, storage rooms and air conditioning. They included refrigeration, research, fishing and fish processing, transport, holiday, inland passenger, marine passenger, expedition and training ships as well as ice-breakers, railway ferries and motor freight vessels.
1963 -1967: From 1963, steel-frame based plug-in refrigeration cabinets were built in the Warschauer Strasse part of the business.
In 1965, approx. 6000 refrigeration cabinets were delivered. In 1966, the refrigeration cabinet range was transferred to VEB Kühlwerk in Erfurt. VEB Kühlautomat now began to develop and build deep freeze chests and drinking water coolers for hotels, restaurants and public and administration buildings for hot climate zones.
In 1967, VEB Kühlautomat became part of VVB Schiffbau. From this time on, the objective for the compressor, condenser, evaporator and air cooling product ranges were subordinate to the ships refrigeration demands.
1968: On 1 July, the directly adjacent VEB Motorenwerk Johannisthal factory was merged with VEB Kühlautomat. With this union, VEB Kühlautomat not only took over the halls and buildings, but also the development and production of diesel engines, especially for Deutsche Reichsbahn (GDR railways). This production branch, being outside our current interest is not reported any further. With the merger, however, VEB Kühlautomat gained access to the engine factory very good production facilities, an essential prerequisite for the screw compressor development which started in the same year. The first 20 type S3-800 screw compressors each with a swept volume of 770 m3/h were delivered in October 1969.