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Wittmann plans to build Ecopower in Hungary and China

By: Bill Bregar

June 13, 2014

TORRINGTON, CONN. — Wittmann Battenfeld GmbH plans to begin full production of all-electric EcoPower injection presses at its plant in Hungary by the end of this year — and at the plant in Kunshan, China by Jan. 1, 2016, according to Michael Wittmann.

To accommodate the EcoPower production, the company is expanding its plant in Hungary, located about an hour from the Wittmann Battenfeld’s headquarters plant in Kottingbrunn, Austria. The Kottingbrunn plant is running out of space, after Wittmann Battenfeld last year launched a major expansion for large-tonnage presses. The plant is in a residential area.

Michael Wittmann, general manager of the Wittmann Group, discussed the company’s plants for all-electric machine production during an interview June 5 at an open house in Torrington, Conn. — where its U.S. unit was showing off its own expansion.

“We are installing the EcoPower production in our facility in Hungary, right now,” he said. “Our plan at the moment is to make the 55-ton, 110-ton and 180-ton EcoPowers there.”

The Hungary plant does sheet metal fabrication, control cabinets and machine bases for the EcoPower and other injection presses, and produces robots and temperature controllers. Trial production of EcoPower machines is happening there now. Once full-scale serial production begins in Hungary, Wittmann Battenfeld then will ramp up EcoPower production in China, Michael Wittmann said.

The company plans to assemble EcoPowers in China with clamping forces of 110 and 180 tons, the two most popular sizes there. Customers in China want to buy machines made there. “You cannot import. This is impossible,” Wittmann said.

He said that Wittmann Battenfeld will continue making the larger EcoPower presses in Kottingbrunn, with clamping forces of 240 and 300 tons.