The chemical factory in Rüdersdorf, nearby Berlin, was part of the VEB Chemiewerk Coswig (chemical factory Coswig). The VEB was integrated in the VEB Kombinat Agrochemie Piesteritz (Agrochemical Holding Piesteritz) and produced the feed phosphate Rükana. It was obtained by de-fluorining a mix of raw phosphate, phosphoric acid and soda.
Rüdersdorf has rich soda sources and even today the Rüdersdorfer Zement GmbH diggs and extracts soda processing it to cement.
The mining history in Rüdersdorf leads back more than 750 years.
Today the area of the VEB Chemiewerk Coswig lies abandoned at the end of a street just over a bridge. In summer 2013 it served as scenery for the movie Monument’s Men (with George Clooney, Kate Blanchett and Matt Damon).
There are still some wooden signs indicating the presence of a film crew around the area, which is in general a bit creepy. Especially the basement, where the sounds of the outside world sound quite scary. But it’s nice to record some “Zombie” videos.
Still it is really cool to climb around and onto of the silo high towers (not the really high ones, god forbid). Though they led to great pictures.
At the beginning of 1950 the VEB Kühlautomat Berlin (a cooling factory) was founded in Berlin-Johannisthal. First only industrial refrigerator were built and repaired.
Later on all different types of cooling devices were produced (e.g. for grocery stores).
In the mid 1950s the conservation of food concentrated on the one of fish. That’s why the production of refrigerating plants for ships started. Meanwhile 1000 people were employed at the VEB Kühlautomat.
In 1968 the VEB Kühlautomat Berlin (KAB) and the VEB Motorenwerk Johannisthal (engine factory) merged. The result were excellent fabrication conditions for the VEB KAB, that made the fabrication of screw compressors (dt.: Schraubenverdichter) possible.
In the 1970s research and development concerning new technical concepts were undertaken to avoid high licence fees.
That’s why the screw compressor advanced over a couple of years.
In the 1990s, the now called Kühlautomat Berlin GmbH a new sort of screw compressors was developed. It was designed for industrial cooling devices and AC as well as CFC-free (dt.: FCKW-frei) cooling fluids and ammonia.
Unlike other former VEB, the KAB GmbH did well in the first years in the capitalism after the socialism.
Though in 1994 the well-known GEA AG bought KAB GmbH and merged it with its subsidiary company to GRASSKO*KAB.
During that time the GRASSKO*KAB was split into five GmbHs, which started to become autonomous in 1996.
At the end of 1996 the last companies became independent and moved from Berlin-Johannisthal to Berlin-Reinickendorf, the headquater of GEA.