Injection machinery maker Wittmann Battenfeld GmbH is adding production capacity at its European operations to meet growing demand for its equipment and to prepare for further product line extensions.
The company has expanded production floor space at Wittmann KunststoffgerÃ¤te GmbH's existing robot production plant in MosonmagyarÃ³var, Hungary, by 26,900 square feet this year and is already building machine bases there.
The new manufacturing capacity is part of a 3 million euro ($4 million) investment at the Hungarian facility. Wittmann's group president and founder, Werner Wittmann, said Wittmann Battenfeld is installing new machining capacity and a powder coating paint line, both of which were scheduled to start by Dec. 31, 2010, as part of its plans to make the Hungary location its production center of EcoPower models up to 180 metric tons.
We are already making machine bases, Wittmann said in an interview at K 2010, held in November. The next step is to make control units then subassemblies injection and closing units. Finally, by the end of  we will be producing the complete machine.
Expansion of production capacity at the Hungarian plant is necessary to meet growing order books and to enable the company to move ahead with plans to extend the upper limit of its MacroPower models to 1,600 metric tons, he said. Currently the company only has capacity to produce machines to 1,000 tonnes a its plant at in Kottingbrunn, Austria.
Wittmann said the firm, like other plastics machinery makers, has seen a huge increase in orders since the beginning of 2010. Sales at Vienna-based Wittmann which includes the Wittmann Battenfeld injection machinery and Wittmann robot and ancillaries business units should realize about 200 million to 210 million euros ($265 million to $279 million) for 2010, up from around 150 million euros in 2009, he said.
Wittmann Battenfeld currently accounts for 40-50 percent of group sales.
Order income is much higher but it is not so easy to increase production capacity. In the last quarter our order income has been at 2008 levels, but on shipments we are around 20 percent below, he said.
We are putting in more people and I am sure we will be back at the 250 million euro level next year [in 2011].
Wittmann also invested around 1.5 million euros ($2 million) in 2010 to construct new headquarters for its activities in the Czech Republic at Písek, and another 1 million euros in a 18,300-square-foot expansion of its robot production units in Vienna.