1892 - 2017: 125 years at a glance

It is extraordinary when a company or a factory can look back on such a long history as the Motorenfabrik Oberursel. Ten years before the actual foundation of the “W. Seck & Co” in 1892 there was already an engineering factory working to an industrial and organisational form in Oberursel. This paved the way for Oberursel to become an industrial location for medium-sized engineering manufacturing. For well over a hundred years the Motorenfabrik Oberursel has been one of the town’s largest business enterprises and thus also one of the largest employers of people in Oberursel. The company’s history is characterised by the positive and also difficult phases and has survived these times, unlike other factories founded in the wake of industrialization.

For about one hundred years the site has presented itself through its impressive buildings, built during the First World War and lining the Hohemarkstrasse. During this period, the Motorenfabrik Oberusel, with its rotary engines, was one of the most important aircraft engine manufacturers in Germany.

After 30 years of growth and success in every respect the Motorenfabrik rose in 1898 to become a public company limited, but the effects of the war meant that the Motorenfabrik had to enter into a syndicate with the much more powerful Motorenfabrik Deutz at the end of 1921, thereby eliminating its most serious competitor. Thus began an era of the development and production of tens of thousands of almost forgotten engines of the Deutz design. In 1930 the Motorenfabrik Oberursel merged completely into the newly founded Humboldt Deutz Engines Co.Ltd. and belonged to this company for sixty years. The company fused into the Klöckner-Humboldt-Deutz Co. Ltd in 1938.

The Second World War, during which aircraft engines were developed in Oberursel, ended in 1945 for the Motorenfabrik as a caesura. The site was occupied by the US army and the inventory of newly purchased machinery became the victim of reparation disassembly. The buildings were used for 11 years as a barracks and a repair shop. The new beginning had already kicked-off in 1948 with the production of engine parts for the parent company, KHD in the tower test house, converted into a workshop.

At the end of 1958, following a period of repairs to the factory lasting 2 years, the turbine development group, founded only a few years earlier at the main KHD factory in Cologne, was transferred to Oberursel. Thus began a 40 year period of the devolpment of aircraft turbines and accessories “Made in Oberursel”, including the T117, developed in Oberursel and the first jet engine to be built in series production in the Federal Republic of Germany after the second world war. At the beginning of 1960 the company changed into a modern aerospace production factory with the preparation in 1959 to produce the Orpheus jet engine under licence. Thus began a long-standing partnership with the Bundeswehr and ot-her public customers.

The KHD Luftfahrttechnik GmbH, founded in 1980, succeeded in entering in 1986 into the civil aerospace industry with the participation on the CFM jet engine programme.The certifications gained proved to be the entry ticket into a new era when BMW took over the site at Oberursel in 1990 from the ailing KHD Plc. The newly founded company, BMW Rolls-Royce AeroEngines GmbH, was a joint venture between BMW and the British aero engine manufacturer, Rolls-Royce. This joint-venture commenced to develop a new generation of turbo fan engines for business and commercial aircraft. The Oberursel factory flourished under this ambitious project. The site was reshaped step-by-step, completely modernised and expanded. The development departments moved in 1998, later joined by the company management, into the newly-built development and assembly site in Dahlewitz in Brandenburg, built from 1993 on, resulting in Oberursel becoming purely a production site for the manufacture of aircraft components as well as for the assembly and maintenance of small military engines and aircraft systems.

The reorganization of the company ownership resulted in the creation in January 2000 of the current company, Rolls-Royce Deutschland Ltd & Co KG. Since then the Obersursel site, equipped with the most modern manufacturing technology, has become the centre of competency for the manufacture of rotary aircraft engine components. In particular compressor rotors of the Blisk construction installed in many types of aircraft engines produced by Rolls-Royce are manufactured here. Alongside, the support and maintenance of aircraft engines for national and international users continues, as it has done for the past five decades. The Motorenfabrik Oberursel is the oldest still active aircraft engine manufacturer worldwide and at the same time is the oldest factory within the Rolls-Royce group.


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