On March 13, 1895, the Goldschmidt business based in Essen, Germany was granted German patent number 96317: „Process
for manufacturing metals and alloys“. Prof. Hans Goldschmidt had developed the reduction of metal oxides with aluminum
powder to a technical standard, and recognized that the enormous heat resulting from the reaction can also be used for welding
pieces of metal. After attempts to joint weld tram rails were successful at the beginning of the 20th century, the first railroad
tracks were also continuously welded in 1928 for the German Reichsbahn
Prior to the First World War, the Thermit®
process had already spread
worldwide through local representatives and national companies.
Following the Second World War, the railway industry around the world introduced Thermit®
welding to produce continuous railway
tracks, giving the Thermit®
companies an enormous boost worldwide. With the founding of new companies and joint ventures, the
international organization was systematically built up. Thermit®
businesses are now established in: Italy (1950), India (1951),
Brazil (1952), Austria (1952), England (1958), USA (1967), South Africa (1976), Australia (1986), Czech Republic (1993), Hungary
(1995), and China (2004).
In 1999, the Thermit Group finally separated from its parent company, Goldschmidt AG, and was taken over by the
Dr. Karl Goldschmidt GmbH (VVG
Essen. In order to expand the capability for the renewal and maintenance of track infrastructure for railway companies, the
ELAUGEN Group was acquired in 2001.
Reorganization in 2005 resulted in the opening of a central Thermit®
manufacturing facility in Halle, Germany and the merging of multiple European service providers into Goldschmidt Thermit
Railservice GmbH. As a result, the companies belonging to the Goldschmidt Thermit Group see themselves well-equipped to meet the
challenges connected with modernizing railway networks worldwide, improving rail performance, and are well positioned to
contribute to improving the services railway companies are able to offer.
Through the development of the SmW rapid welding process in 1955, it was possible to markedly reduce the time required for
welding and increase its cost-effectiveness. A further
improvement was made in 1972 with the SkV rapid welding process which was set as a standard procedure for the German
and many other railway companies around the world. Continuous development has lead to the introduction of
improved processes for including standard and wide gap joints, composite joints, and joints between Vignole, Tram (grooved),
and heavy section crane rails.
In addition, through electrical welding procedures, the Thermit companies began re-establishing rail head profile and surface
smoothness of already laid and worn tracks to improve their performance. In particular, submerged arc welding known as the
ELLIRA process was used for this. It was developed further in accordance with the requirements of the railway companies to become
the ETEKA 5 and RIFLEX welding processes. Moreover, special grinding devices for re-profiling the running surface were used.
Meanwhile, the success of these techniques has led to the manufacture of new rails with these same techniques in order to
substantially improve their running smoothness and resistance to wear and tear.
Over the course of the years, the Thermit companies have not just focused on welding processes, but have also continually
developed the ancillary machines and equipment. Examples include the hydraulic weld trimmer (1970), the automatic tapping
thimble (1982) and the single-use EURO crucible (1998). In 1970, our MT insulated joint was launched onto the market.