Hahn Automation Group, a German automation supplier that owns three robot companies for plastics processing — Waldorf Technik, Wemo and GeKu — plans to begin U.S. manufacturing at a factory in Windsor, Conn., near Bradley International Airport.
Markus Klaus, general manager for Hahn's U.S. unit, Hahn Plastics Automation Inc., said the company is renting a 12,000-square-foot building that is being refurbished. The business should move in by late December.
"We will be a fully autonomous manufacturing plant in the U.S.A., hopefully by the end of next year," he said.
Klaus said Hahn Plastics Automation plans to hire about 15 people in the U.S. and bring two engineers from Waldorf and GeKu in Germany.
"We are aware that this type of technology is something where know-how is very important," he said.
Why did Hahn Group, a global automation company based in Rheinböllen, Germany, pick Connecticut for its U.S. plastics robotic operations?
"There are two main reasons: Proximity to Europe and the time zone, for overlapping work times. That's a big factor for us because we'll still rely a lot on Waldorf and GeKu for a lot in terms of engineering and product," Klaus said.
Hahn Automation is a broad automation supplier that makes robots, assembly and test inspection equipment for a wide range of industries — not just plastics —including automotive and medical. Hahn has a U.S. operation in Hebron, Ky. The Connecticut facility will focus just on plastics automation.
Of the three plastics-related brands, Waldorf Technik is the best known in the United States. Waldorf, which Klaus said has its own U.S. service technicians, specializes in automation for high-volume plastics medical disposables and in packaging, especially in in-mold-labeling and high-speed part removal.
Klaus is the former injection molding division manager for Wittmann Battenfeld Inc. in Torrington, Conn.
Hahn Automation made news recently when it bought the technology from U.S. collaborative robot pioneer Rethink Robotics Inc., including patents, trademarks and software for Rethink's Sawyer robot. Rethink Robotics had closed Oct. 3.