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Summer 1964 – summer 2014: 50 years of Voith in Brazil

  • First Voith location outside Europe celebrates its 50th anniversary 
  • Former Brazilian President Cardoso: “Voith has contributed significantly to the positive development of Brazil.”
  • Dual-track training for skilled Brazilian workers and social engagement in the community
Heidenheim/São Paulo. In August 2014 Voith is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its Brazilian subsidiary with a wide range of events and activities. The company founded Voith S.A. in São Paulo in 1964. The Voith factory in São Paulo was the company's first site outside of Europe and the cornerstone for a long-standing success story. Today, Voith in Brazil employs more than 5,700 people at a total of 15 locations.

At a large gala event in São Paulo attended by members of the Hanns Voith family, customers, associates and Voith employees, the former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso used his opening address to highlight Voith’s achievements: “In the last 50 years Voith has become a Brazilian company. A firm that has contributed significantly to the positive development of Brazil.”

With this long-term experience Voith has strong roots in Brazil. Besides being a production plant, the Voith location in São Paulo is also a R&D location. The Voith Innovation Center in São Paulo for example developed the ATMOS technology. A process that enables paper manufacturers to produce high-quality tissue papers with reduced energy and fiber input and which is today used worldwide throughout the paper industry. São Paulo is also the site of one of the six R&D centers of the Group Division Voith Hydro. This particular facility is dedicated to the research and development of generators.

Anniversary year events include celebrations for the workforce and community projects
To celebrate the anniversary, Voith hosted large events for employees and their families at the São Paulo and Manaus sites. In São Paulo alone, around 9,000 Voithians took part in the event. As well as a number of other activities, Voith employees took inspiration from the anniversary year theme “50 years – 50 initiatives” and set up a wide range of social and volunteering projects. The 50 projects included repairing local school roofs, collecting clothing for the needy or donating books to kindergartens and schools.

A success story that started 99 years ago
Voith recognized the potential of the South American country early on. As long ago as 1905, the company was already delivering the first turbines to Brazil, in 1923 the first paper machine followed. This timely commitment paid off: Voith Brazil has evolved into one of the company’s most important regional branches.

In the last decades, Voith has successfully participated in numerous infrastructure projects in Brazil. In the 1970s, Voith supplied turbines to Itaipú, at the time the world’s largest hydropower plant. In 1985, Voith equipped Mercedes-Benz busses in Brazil with drive technology for the first time, and in 1994 the Voith Paper Innovation Center was opened in São Paulo. Today, the company continues to play a key role in public transport in Brazil. The majority of BRT express busses in São Paulo, Curitiba and many other towns are fitted with Voith DIWA automatic transmissions. Moreover, the company is contributing towards sustainable energy supply through its turbines and generators. In Brazil, energy from hydropower plants covers more than three quarters of the national demand.

Training based on the German model and corporate social responsibility
Voith started working years ago with Brazilian training institutions to develop its own training concept based on the German dual-track system and intended to secure for the company a steady supply of skilled workers in industrial and commercial occupations. Twice a year Voith initiates a selection procedure for prospective trainees such as mechatronics technicians, fitters or machinists. The training generally takes four years and is directed primarily at young people in their first year at an advanced technical school. To date Voith has trained more than 2,300 skilled workers locally. 

Apart from its economic commitments, Voith has also been engaging in community projects in Brazil for more than 40 years. Voith’s own foundation is engaged in projects in education, sport, culture and social welfare. In particular, the Voith Foundation initiated the “Formare” program, which is now also supported by other companies. The ten-month courses provide training for young people, who would otherwise have limited opportunities on the Brazilian job market due their social and economic backgrounds. A special feature of this project is that Brazilian Voith personnel volunteer as tutors to pass on their knowledge.

Voith sets standards in the markets energy, oil & gas, paper, raw materials and transport & automotive. Founded in 1867, Voith employs more than 43,000 people, generates € 5.7 billion in sales, operates in about 50 countries around the world and is today one of the largest family-owned companies in Europe.


Markus Woehl

Voith GmbH & Co. KGaA

Head of Corporate Press Office


t +49 7321 37 2219