Is the great recession over in the plastics machinery market? Wittmann Battenfeld GmbH & Co. KG officials report they are experiencing strong sales in the U.S. and worldwide this year.
Our philosophy is to offer good, innovative products at a reasonable cost and to provide leading technology for a wide variety of applications, said Georg Tinschert, president and CEO.
After Wittmann acquired Battenfeld in 2008, customers were hesitant to commit to the new combination. Then came the economic shock of 2009, when sales dropped way down.
However, the confidence is now back, officials said at a recent open house and technology symposium at the firm's U.S. headquarters.
From the beginning, we put all our efforts into development, Tinschert said.
One illustration of what the company has accomplished is a new global support package, Web-Service 24/7, designed to provide customers round-the-clock real-time machinery support. The service will enable customers using the Unilog B6 control system based on Windows XP to contact a service engineer by telephone at any time. The technician can access the system and help the customer with any problems.
Tinschert said the European market is very strong and company sales have almost doubled over 2009. Overall, the Kottingbrunn, Austria-based company is estimating about $280 million in sales for the year.
The automotive market is absolutely a driving force. Appliances, medical and packaging are [also] being driven by consumption, he said.
The U.S. market is quite strong, according to David Preusse, president of Wittmann Battenfeld Inc. in Torrington.
Sales of robots are up 91 percent over the previous year and overall sales volume is up 67 percent, he said. Wittmann Battenfeld Inc. has $40 million in sales for the U.S. and more than $60 million in North America.
The Oct. 14-15 symposium in Torrington showed off a variety of machinery, including an EcoPower 110 electric molding machine, the servo-driven ServoMotion 45/130 machine and a W8-series robot, as well as auxiliary equipment.
Wittmann Battenfeld is continuing to fill out its machine lines, with injection molding machines ranging from the MicroPower 5- to 15-ton machines to the MacroPower line. An 800-ton MacroPower machine was running at the open house, and the company plans to run a 1,000-ton MacroPower at the upcoming K show in Dusseldorf, Germany.
Preusse said the company helps customers with systems and getting the right fit, but each product has to compete on its own.
Sales have been strong at its 75,000-square-foot Torrington facility since last November. The company has hired 18 people this calendar year, mostly for technical assistance.
Our division has an $11 million backlog, which Preusse said is cause for optimism for next year.
The company is finding that demand for more precision is a reason for more robotic help. There is also demand for the complete work cell, which works in Wittmann Battenfeld's favor. The firm has a widening portfolio that ranges from materials handling to molding to recycling machinery.