The Maschinenbau Kiel (MaK) was a producer of marine diesel engines, diesel locomotives and tracked vehicles which was split into several individual companies in the 1990s. Caterpillar Inc. took over the marine diesel engine division in 1997 which represented approximately 80% of the company. The locomotive manufacturing section was acquied by Siemens then Vossloh.
The companies origins can be traced back at least as far as 1918. With the Treaty of Versailles limiting arms production in Germany, the defence based industries in Kiel sought other markets. Kiel Deutsche Werke AG (DWK) was founded; producing diesel locomotives as well as shipbuilding and firearms manufacture. During the second world war Deutsche work produced U-boats, as well as locomotives for the Wehrmacht. The end of the second world war brought not only destruction of many of the facilities in Kiel, but also the end of the company.
The company was founded on the 25 May 1948 as a limited liability company It included several factories of the former Deutsche Werke AG.
In 1954 after a lengthy legal dispute with MAN the name was changed from MAK to MaK. In 1959 a crisis led to the companies purchase by Bremer Atlas GmbH and its conversion into a GmbH (a type of limited liability company).
In 1964 MaK became part of the Krupp group due to the take over of its parent company.
The locomotive production arm of the company was sold in 1992 to Siemens.
In 1997 the marine engines part of the business was sold to Caterpillar Inc.
The marine diesel engines division became Caterpillar Motoren GmbH & Co. KG in 1997 and is now a 100% subsidiary of Caterpillar Inc. The engines still carry the MaK logo. One example of the success of this organisation is the use of four engines of the type MaK 9 M 43 C in the cruise ship AIDAdiva.
In the 1950s and 1960s diesel locomotives of the 'connecting rod' type were built and sold to numerous private companies to replace steam locomotives.
In 1965 a second phase of locomotive production began, more successful than the first, with orders coming from the Deutsche Bundesbahn; the most significant change from the first phase was the introduction of cardan shafts as part of the transmission system. Many of these locomotives were still in service 40 years later, including the Class V 90's built for the state railways.
A third program of locomotive building began in 1979 - in the exterior design right angles and flat steel predominate - primarily for cost reasons, internally a switch to faster running engines was made, with models from MTU being used. The G 1206 BB; a development of the G 1201 BB, with numerous intermediate models, has proved notably successful being in production for decades, with a new shunting version introduced in 2007.
In the harsh economic climate of that time the company tried to expand its range - and its customer base. Using electrical components from the Swiss-German company BBC MaK started production of diesel-electric locomotives - some were successful, notably the EN 6400 of which 60 were bought by Nederlandse Spoorwegen.
In 1992 the name of the company was changed to Krupp Verkehrstechnik GmbH (with the corporation of some other companies in the Krupp group). 1994 brought a sale to Siemens and another new name: Siemens rail technology (Siemens Schienenfahrzeugtechnik) or "SFT".
On the 1st of October 1998 the factory in Kiel along with a branch plant in Moers was sold to Vossloh AG. Vossloh Rail Vehicle Engineering (Vossloh Schienenfahrzeugtechnik GmbH) or "VSFT" was the new name.
Under Vosslohs management the locomotives produced carried the traditional MaK logo. On the 23rd of April 2004 the company became simply "Vossloh Locomotives GmbH"
The construction equipment manufacturing company is now known as ATLAS TEREX GmbH.
In 1983 "MaK DATA SYSTEM" emerged as a profit center for the Krupp MaK external information technology service. Since 1995 it has been an independent company: MaK DATA SYSTEM Kiel GmbH.
In 2006, the foundry of the Caterpillar engine works and the former MaK foundry was sold to SHW Casting Technologies GmbH, a foundry group, and now trades under the name Gießerei Kiel GmbH (Kiel Foundry Ltd) or "GK"