Germany’s oldest polar bear is turning 70!
• Dresdner Kühlanlagenbau: a 70-year success story • Expertise in cooling and refrigeration technology and engineering since 1953 • Positive status and continuous growth for the “polar bear” from Dresden
Dresdner Kühlanlagenbau GmbH, or DKA for short, was founded on April 1, 1953. The company, which is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, is known for its expertise in cooling, refrigeration and air conditioning technology and for its striking logo. The logo is also where the longstanding company got its nickname: “the polar bear.” The polar bear symbol adorns about 380 company vehicles on the road all over Germany. DKA joined the Dussmann Group, a family company based in Berlin, in 2013 and has been a business unit of Dussmann Technical Solutions since 2019.
“DKA is turning 70 – this is an event we’re really proud of! The polar bear has had its ups and downs. That means we’re even happier to have been able to post record sales in our annual financial statements for 2022,” says Andreas Thuss, Managing Director of DKA, who has been with the company for 28 years now. “We owe this achievement to our employees, who always demonstrate great hard work and dedication as they overcome a wide variety of challenges. I’m really optimistic that the company will continue to grow and thrive.”
DKA is one of the 50 largest employers in Dresden. Its 570 employees specialize in industrial engineering and in planning, project planning, maintenance, and service of cooling, refrigeration and air conditioning systems. Together, they make sure to keep things cool – from refrigerated cases in retail stores to complex cooling and air conditioning systems in the industrial and pharmaceutical sectors, food service, the trades, or logistics.
Apprentices and trainees account for 15 percent of the DKA team. DKA has been offering training at a consistently high level for years now in terms of both the number of next-generation employees and the individual vocational tracks offered. The company is still looking for budding mechatronics technicians at its 28 locations for the 2023/24 training year. Prospective candidates can learn more and apply for this apprenticeship at dussmann.de/dka/karriere.
A technology leader in low-emission refrigeration and cooling concepts
DKA is Germany’s largest refrigeration and cooling engineering company that works across different manufacturers. The company has been focusing for years on ecofriendly solutions and is a technology leader in low-emission concepts. DKA mainly uses natural coolants such as ammonia, CO2, and water. “When you get to your 70th anniversary, like DKA, you also have a responsibility for sustainable development over the decades to come,” explains Stephan Possekel, Managing Director of Dussmann Technical Solutions and Chairman of the Executive Management of DKA.
Keeping its cool for 70 years
Dresdner Kühlanlagenbau GmbH was founded in 1953, almost exactly 50 years after the first modern air conditioner was developed in the United States. The company started out with 400 employees under the name VEB Kühlanlagenbau Dresden. At that time, it was the largest publicly owned enterprise working in cooling, refrigeration and air conditioning technology in what was then East Germany. The specialized company grew to employ more than 1,800 people, holding a monopoly position and also being a leader in its sector in Eastern Europe right up until the fall of the East German regime in 1989. Customers at the time included the publicly owned grocery stores, for which DKA supplied cold cases, and private households in East Germany, for whom it made refrigerators. The company was privatized in 1992 and came to gain a foothold in the wider market in the newly reunified Germany.
DKA became a part of the Dussmann Group in 2013. Six years later, the Dussmann Technical Solutions business unit was created. It now encompasses five units, all focusing on technical plant and systems engineering. Aside from DKA, these units are the Ireland-based STS Group (electrical systems and equipment engineering), K.E.D. (cooling, refrigeration and air conditioning technology), HEBO (elevator technology), and Dussmann Industrial Automation (automation technology).
This strengthened Dussmann’s approach of providing the full range of services having to do with technical equipment and facilities from a single source. The group made this visible externally as well in 2022: Dussmann Technical Solutions, Dussmann Facility Management, and Dussmann Food Services now comprise the service segments falling under the Dussmann brand, showcasing the wide range of services offered by Dussmann in a harmonized look.
Dussmann Technical Solutions increases annual sales to about 400 million euros in 2022
The Dussmann Group, which is celebrating its 60th Anniversary this year, earned 2.8 billion euros in total sales in 2022. Dussmann Technical Solutions contributed 393 million euros (2021: 208 million euros) to that figure, or nearly 15 percent of consolidated Group sales. DKA was instrumental in achieving this success.
Dussmann provides solutions in the fields of integrated facility management, food services, and technical plant and systems engineering. It is the largest division of the Dussmann Group, an international family company that has nearly 65,000 employees in 21 countries, offering a full range of services having to do with people. We take care of people and the places where they live and work – to make their lives richer and easier. Dussmann Facility Management encompasses services and expertise spanning the full range of integrated facility management: building cleaning, security services, building technology, and mobility services. Dussmann Food Services encompasses dining concepts for children, employees, patients, and seniors. Dussmann Technical Solutions operates in the fields of electrical engineering, cooling, refrigeration and air conditioning technology, elevator technology, and process automation, offering industrial engineering and technical services. We take care of people and the places where they live and work – to make their lives richer and easier.