In 1889, the engineer Rudolf Windhoff founded the company as Rheiner Maschinenfabrik (machine factory Rheine).
The first customers were textile manufacturers in the region of Münster. Steam engines powered their spinning machines and weaving looms via complex transmissions, and in the early days, Rheiner Maschinenfabrik was mainly engaged with the design and manufacture of these transmissions. Soon, there was another major customer. The railways had a great demand for shunting winches, turntables, traversers, capstan winches, etc.
In 1901, Rheiner Maschinenfabrik employed a staff of more than 100 persons. In 1913, the companies Rheiner Maschinenfabrik and Motoren- und Fahrzeugfabrik Gebr. WINDHOFF (engine and vehicle factory Bros. Windhoff) were combined to Rheiner Maschinenfabrik WINDHOFF, a joint stock company.
War, inflation and political disorders left their marks on Rheiner Maschinenfabrik, but it could be managed to overcome the heavy economic losses caused by the crisis of 1932. Towards the end of WWII, the company's premises were completely destroyed on October 5th, 1944 by a devastating bomb attack.
Reconstruction from the ruins called for great personal engagement by all, and following the monetary reform in 1948, the old production programme was picked up and slowly expanded. Large orders from the Federal German Railways were received for machinery and equipment for the reconstruction and maintenance of the rail net. The making radiators for the automotive industry was another source of income. In the eighties, equipment for waste water treatment was added to the programme.
Over the years, new fields of activities were added, and for optimum use of synergy effects, Windhoff acquired shares of suitable companies. In 1993, Windhoff was listed at the stock exchange.
In March 2002, the Georgsmarienhütte Holding GmbH (GMH Holding), Hamburg, took over the Industrial and Railway Engineering Divisions of Windhoff AG, Rheine, which had become insolvent. These divisions were merged in a new company and became part of the Plant Engineering Division of GMH Holding.
Through the amalgamation into the Georgsmarienhütte Holding GmbH the competence in railway technology was complemented with the new partners Bochumer Verein Verkehrstechnik GmbH and Radsatzfabrik Ilsenburg GmbH. Forging and plant construction facilities became available for medium and large steel construction work, and full mechanical processing was easily realised. As a result, the group has become a prominent system supplier for railways and industry.
Full service - from initial enquiries and professional consulting to production delivery and after-sales-service - for the benefit of patrons and new customers alike.