Austria's Wittmann Group has continued its period of unbroken growth, which first began in 2009, with 2016 sales up 5 percent from the previous year to 377 million euros ($421.6 million).
While a 5 percent rise is admittedly a less stellar result than the record 19 percent growth achieved in 2015, Michael Wittmann, managing director and CEO of Wittmann Kunststoffgeräte GmbH, is more than satisfied. Moreover, with an exceptionally high order intake in the second half of 2016 and at the beginning of 2017, the order books are already full well into the autumn of this year.
“An expansion in the order of almost 20 percent is, of course, an exception and not possible every year. We are proud that we could add yet another 5 percent in 2016 to that impressive rate," he said.
The ongoing increase of the company's workforce, which currently stands at 2,165 employees worldwide, continued last year, while the group also made significant investments in corporate machinery and infrastructure.
As demand for Wittmann's automation systems and robots remains robust, the company is currently expanding the robot production area in Vienna, which, when completed, will bring total capacity at the group's four robot production plants to 4,800 units per year — all of which, say Wittmann, are urgently needed.
More investments are planned for this year, too, including construction of a 2,200-square-meter addition to the production facility in Kottingbrunn, Austria.
The company's global sales activities were also further strengthened in 2016. A new Slovakian subsidiary opened in September, while more to the east, the group took over its agency in South Korea and made it a part of its own sales and service network, following the positive development of the Korean market. The integration was completed in November of last year.
The Wittmann Group introduced a host of new products at K 2016, including new injection molding machine models, several new robots, a new robot control system and various types of peripheral equipment.
All new products from Wittmann can be connected to the B8 machine control system via “Wittmann 4.0” software and router technology.
The main challenge for 2017, said the company, is “the consolidation of all these novelties.”
“2017 has got off to an excellent start for us, and we will be very likely to exceed 400 million EUR in sales this year,” said Michael Wittmann. “We are looking forward to an exciting year with a great variety of challenges and tasks.”