CHICAGO (June 30, 1:20 p.m. EDT) — Wittmann Inc. will launch its first manufacturing in China by the end of this year, with workers in Shanghai set to build a robot for the Asian market.
The firm already owns a plant in Shanghai that houses its sales and service office for the region, Michael Wittmann said in a June 23 interview at NPE. The company will ease into production there, first assembling components of the W720 hybrid robot, which made its debut at NPE.
Wittmann said the firm can bring more operations and manufacturing for the robot in-house as the Shanghai employees are ready.
“It's just the beginning,” he said. “There is so much that is happening there.”
Manufacture of the W720 for the rest of the global market will continue at the company's Hungary operations.
Wittmann has owned the Shanghai building for two years, using it for storage. It had planned to start production there earlier this year, Michael Wittmann said, but travel restrictions because of SARS slowed the project.
The firm designed the W720 specifically for ease of manufacturing in China, he said. The robot has a motor-driven, horizontal axis and a fixed kick-stroke design for applications requiring pick-and-place operations and simple secondary functions.
It can handle payloads up to 11 pounds and is suited to handle automation on presses with up to 330 tons of clamping force.
At NPE, Wittmann debuted a half-dozen new pieces of equipment, drawing on its capabilities in robotics, materials-handling, controls and size reduction. It also stressed technology. Featured, but not set to go on the market until fall, was an optional touch-screen control system.
Also debuted: the Robofold automated materials-handling system this year, marrying robotics with an automated delivery unit. The robot automatically switches lines, letting operators change resins remotely and purge the lines automatically, said Todd Rains, national sales manager.
Robofold allows 15 sources and 25 destinations for the automated materials handling, and each line not in use has a built-in shut-off cap that is opened and closed with the robot's tooling.
The W633 ultrahigh-speed servo robot is equipped with a lightweight, telescopic vertical arm specifically designed for thin-wall parts and applications requiring extremely short removal times.
The Drymax 30 twin-bed desiccant dry-air dryer is set for applications requiring throughputs up to 35 pounds per hour. The process blower and heaters are in a cabinet small and light enough to mount on the machine.
Also at NPE, Wittmann showed the new Feedmax vacuum loader series, designed for low maintenance; the W602 sprue picker, offering vibration-free operation; the Tempro Primus C mold temperature controller; and the MC 2840 central granulator.