For example, the company BINZ, which today bears the name BINZ Automotive GmbH and has its headquarters in Ilmenau, Thuringia, has been there from the very beginning.

BINZ Automotive GmbH: More than 85 years of experience

BINZ Automotive GmbH can look back on more than 85 years of experience in the construction of special-purpose vehicles. With this expertise, the company is able to plan every vehicle down to the smallest detail for its customers and to manufacture it to measure.

In 1936, Michael Binz founded the Lorcher Karosseriefabrik Binz & Co. in Baden-Württemberg. In addition to repair and bodywork, the young company began to build special vehicles and also ambulances, as well as individual bus bodies. Three years later, due to the war, the focus was on ambulances for the military sector. After the Second World War, the initial focus was on repair work on vehicles that were still in running order. A little later, parts of the production were moved to a new industrial area on the outskirts of the home town Lorch, before the construction of small series of e.g. Mercedes cabs started. In 1955, BINZ ambulances with all-steel bodies were finally built on Mercedes-Benz models 180, 180 D and 190 - which were considered a world first at the time.

Ten years later, the chronicle records the construction of the first BINZ ambulance on Mercedes-Benz 200 D and 230 with an extended chassis, the "BINZ Europ 1100 long". In addition, the first accident and emergency ambulance was developed on Mercedes-Benz L 319 D + B / L 405-L408. After the DIN standardization of ambulances into patient transport vehicles (KTW) and rescue transport vehicles (RTW) in 1967, the legendary "dash 8" (Mercedes-Benz 200, 220, 230, 240 and 250) became a successful model.

1970: more than 21,000 traffic fatalities

When more than 21,000 traffic fatalities were registered in the Federal Republic of Germany in 1970, the production of ambulances became increasingly important. Today, just under 2,600 road traffic fatalities are still registered throughout Germany (2021). At that time, the "Reanimobil" was added to the product range at BINZ, a "Clinicar" was offered as a rural ambulance, and the "Cardiomobil" was created especially for internal medicine emergencies. By 1982, another type of emergency vehicle had been added - the emergency ambulance (NEF).

By 1984, the company's history already recorded the export of the vehicles, both individually and in large numbers, to over 100 countries. Customers ranged from micro-entrepreneurs to supra-regional aid organizations, authorities, governments and even sheikdoms and royal families. Occasionally, special vehicles for the police, such as crime scene evidence vehicles, have also been delivered.

Charitable foundation established

In between, in 1987, the non-profit "Binz Foundation" was set up to promote appropriate measures for the further development of emergency medicine and rescue services. This involved, for example, the establishment of new chairs associated with emergency medicine at universities in Germany.

Shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall, close cooperation began in 1989 with "VEB MLW Labortechnik Ilmenau", a company based in Thuringia. For decades, the company had been a successful producer of the GDR rescue vehicles of the type "Barkas SMH2 and SMH3" for the Fast Medical Help (SMH). Two years later, BINZ Ambulance- und Umwelttechnik GmbH Ilmenau was founded and the activities of Labortechnik GmbH Ilmenau, "Mobile Technology" division, were taken over. This led to the relocation of production, including emergency ambulances and patient transport vehicles on VW T4 from Lorch to Ilmenau.

In 1996, BINZ introduced a completely new product: the box-type RTV based on Mercedes-Benz Sprinters. In the same year, the complete production of ambulances was transferred to Ilmenau - at the same time, production in the field of mobile hospitals, fire fighting vehicles as well as special vehicles for authorities in the security and disaster control sector began.

Innovation and expansion characterize the new millennium. In 2003, for example, a futuristically styled new-generation E-Class ambulance was built - the first ambulance vehicle body from German production with a complete body made of glass-fiber-reinforced plastic - the keyword being integrated frame technology.

2017 saw the start of construction of a completely new interior production facility with state-of-the-art Industry 4.0 CNC machinery at the new Plant 2 in Ilmenau.

In 2019 - the number of employees had meanwhile risen to 200 - BINZ presented a new, electronically supported patient positioning system for field use.

Award for innovative entrepreneurship

The work was rewarded: in 2020, managing director C.Wilhelm received the Ernst Abbe Prize for innovative entrepreneurship. In the same year, BINZ was nominated by the state of Thuringia for the state's innovation award due to the development of an air and surface UVC-LED disinfection system and was awarded the corresponding audience prize.

Finally, last year saw the takeover of the MAN Bus Modification Center in Plauen, Saxony.

This has enabled the production capacity to be increased even further, with over 30,000 square meters and around 100 employees, in order to expand the current annual production of around 1,800 special vehicles even further in the future. "On what is now more than 45,000 square meters of production space at both manufacturing sites, more than 330 employees create here day after day what BINZ stands for: "Technology that saves lives."