Wittmann Battenfeld GmbH is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year — and officials are planning a celebration in Vienna in June.
The founder, Werner Wittmann, is an engineer-type who speaks several languages and enjoys going to China. In those four decades, he has led an expansion of his company from a maker of water-flow regulators for mold-chilling water, and mold temperature controllers.
Then came Wittmann robots, as the company bought a robot maker in 1983.
Through a series of acquisitions, Wittmann grew into a full-line manufacturer of auxiliary equipment.
Then in April 2008 came a blockbuster deal: Wittmann bought the Battenfeld injection molding press business in Kottingbrunn, Austria. Battenfeld was insolvent, and a previous owner had closed a factory in Meinerzhagen, Germany, that made large-tonnage machines over 1,000 metric tons of clamping force.
Battenfeld had undergone a tumultuous few years, gone through several owners and faced lots of uncertainty. But Battenfeld played a key role in new developments in injection molding technology, as one of the European pioneers of important gas-assisted molding, water-assist, all-electric machines, micromolding and other innovations. The company also was an early machinery supplier to target injection molded polycarbonate car windows.
Ownership by Wittmann brought stability. And, as a family-owned business, Wittmann Battenfeld has a big advantage, according to Sonny Morneault, vice president of sales at the operation in Torrington, Conn., Wittmann Battenfeld Inc.
“There are many advantages, but I think the most important is the ability to be nimble,” Morneault said. “We're nimble and quick on our feet. That's an invaluable benefit, for sure.”