|Konrad Marine Company History
Konrad Marine is one of several independent entities within the family of Konrad Companies. Ken Konrad,founder and entrepreneur, has relied on his practical experience and well-rounded education to build these companies into the enterprises that they are today.
Ken grew up helping his father, Sigfreid, run a small machining business that was located behind their house in St. Paul, Minnesota. From here he enrolled in Dunwoody Technical Institute to acquire the technical knowledge that would support his practical experience. After graduation Ken served his country as a machinist in the U.S. Navy, maintaining and servicing diesel engines aboard ships and crew boats in Viet Nam. He attended the University of Minnesota after completing his tour of duty, and graduated as a Mechanical Engineer with a minor in Business Administration.
Marine propulsion knowledge comes quite naturally to Ken. In the 1920’s, his father engineered and built two lightweight efficient outboard boat motors, the Champion and the Monarch. Both units were produced and assembled in his machine shop in St. Paul. Several thousand were sold to local fishing enthusiasts before he sold his outboard designs to a local manufacturer in the 1930’s.
Given Ken’s experience and knowledge with machines, engines and their respective capabilities, it was no surprise that his first company was a machine shop. Konrad Machine and Engineering was established in 1967,later renamed Konrad Corporation. Konrad’s team of engineers, designers and machinists have built Konrad Corporation into the premier supplier of steel rolling equipment for mini mills all over the world.
Sharing his father’s enthusiasm and vision for marine propulsion, Ken entered the marine market as a supplier of Alpha* compatible stern drive components and assemblies in 1991. The industry welcomed the flawless precision gear sets and shafts that he manufactured, with the 24 hour delivery service. Within a year his new company, Konrad Inc., introduced the Omega, its own version of the Alpha*. The Omega was quickly embraced by dealers and marine repair shops nationwide.
With this successful entry into the market, Konrad focused on needs not being met in the marine propulsion arena. Exploration began for a versatile stern drive powerful enough to handle 180-370 hp diesel applications. As part of their research, Konrad designed and constructed a massive underground testing facility, allowing for marine testing in a controlled environment 24/7 365 days a year. With testing completed on the diesel stern drive, the Konrad 520 was launched in 1997. The 520 is currently serving in various vessels around the world including water taxis, crew boats, fishing vessels, charters, parasail boats, and numerous military applications. The US Navy has over 400 units aboard their ships.
With the 520 globally established, the Konrad design team began work on the next stern drive in the 500 series. The 540 was introduced in 2001. It was designed for lighter vessels that required a durable, reliable drive at higher speeds. Recreational and high performance installations of the 540 include pursuit vessels, pleasure craft, and high performance racing applications.
When Mercury announced that parts production would cease for TRS* stern drives, Konrad seized the opportunity and developed a replacement product. In 2004 the 540 PRS (Performance Replacement System), was designed and introduced as a bolt-on retrofit for aging TRS* stern drives. The 540 PRS continues to be a popular option as the availability of TRS* spare parts continues to decline.
With a solid reputation in the recreational and commercial stern drive markets, Konrad introduced the Ace™ Propulsion System to high performance boaters at the 2006 Miami International Boat Show. This high performance stern drive features an integral nose cone, extension box with external steering, transom assembly and transmission. The complete Ace™ package offers reliability in an often unreliable market.
Over the next few years, continued consumer demand for additional horsepower resulted in the introduction of more powerful diesel engines. These engines require a stronger stern drive – a drive with significantly larger gears to handle the torque, and an additional gear in the dual prop models to balance the load. The 600 series drives, unveiled at the Miami Boat Show in February 2011, are manufactured with gears up to twice the size of previous models, meeting the needs of today’s diesel engine applications with ease. The 600s are rated up to 1200 Nm (885 lb. ft.) of torque – and we believe are the toughest, strongest stern drives on the market.
In addition, Konrad engineered Harmonically Tuned Gear Train (HTGT) technology into the 600 line, which optimizes the balance of the drives and provides significantly longer life to all components. HTGT technology enhances the performance, durability, and reliability of the stern drives by minimizing drive vibrations and improving overall synchronization of the internal components. This unique design feature is exclusive to the Konrad 600 Series and is so advanced, that no other drive in its class offers anything comparable.
Konrad products are built with the highest quality components well-above industry standards. Every stern drive is tested in the plant before it leaves the building. You can depend on Konrad for state-of-the-art engineering, innovative technology and outstanding stern drive solutions.
DURABILITY DEPENDABILITY PERFORMANCE
*Alpha and TRS are trademarks of Mercury Marine, a Brunswick Corporation. Original equipment manufacturer’s names are used for identification purposes only. We are in no way implying that any of our parts are the original equipment manufacturer’s product.