By: Stephen Downer
April 2, 2012
ORLANDO, FLA. (April 2, 2:10 p.m. ET) — Austrian injection press and auxiliary equipment maker Wittmann Battenfeld GmbH is expanding its Mexico headquarters, adding a technical and training center to keep pace with an expanding business portfolio.
Over the next six months, the Vienna-based family-owned company’s 7,535 square foot facility in the industrial hub of Queretaro, 130 miles northwest of Mexico City, will grow to 11,840 square feet.
According to Rodrigo Muñoz, manager of Wittmann Battenfeld México SA de CV, a wholly-owned Wittmann subsidiary, the extension will enable the company to train customers on molding machines, using its control systems, robots and peripheral equipment.
“Wittmann Battenfeld will also be able to offer mold trials for machines with up to 240 tonnes of clamping force,” Muñoz added in a news release April 2.
“The business in Mexico has flourished,” the company said in the release, echoing the words of Michael Wittmann, son of Wittmann Group founder Werner Wittmann, six months ago.
During a visit to Mexico City in October, Michael Wittmann, the company’s general manager, told Plastics News that 2011 was the company’s best year in Mexico, where it has operated since 1998. He predicted 2011 sales of about $10 million, up from about $7 million “pre-2008.”
Wittmann Group, which acquired the Battenfeld injection molding business in 2008, saw great potential in Mexico “and injection molding machines will have the biggest share of the growth,” Wittmann said. According to the executive, the automotive industry represents 60-65 percent of the group’s global business.
Mexico’s automotive industry is enjoying an unprecedented boom, with production expected to increase from 2.557 million vehicles in 2011, 13.1 percent up on 2010, to four million-plus by 2017, according to economy under minister Lorenza Martínez Trigueros last week.
“[Wittmann Battenfeld] business in Mexico has flourished,” the Austrian company said in its news release. In addition to its Querétaro headquarters, it operates sales and service centers in Mexico City, Guadalajara, Monterrey, Chihuahua and Ciudad Juárez. It employs 35 in Mexico.
At NPE2012, Torrington, Conn.-based Wittmann Battenfeld Inc. is exhibiting in booth 2843.