The Wittmann Group's gala event took over an entire hall of Vienna's Messe and Congress Centre
The Wittmann Group has marked its 40th anniversary with the launch of new products across its range of equipment and products for the plastics processing industry.
During a two-day gala event held on June 8 and 9, the company took over a full hall at the Vienna Messe and Congress Centre, where it exhibited its full product range, allowing customers and delegates to view several new lines for the first time.
During an opening speech, company Founder, Dr. Werner Wittmann, said the key drivers for the impressive development of the company’s product offering over the last 40 years were “a combination of a highly motivated and qualified team, modern ways of working and lots of innovation”. Innovation, he added, plays a “particularly important” role.
Growth in numbers
Wittmann was founded in 1976 and has seen constant growth during this period, including the last financial year. In 2015 the company’s overall revenue was €359.4million, an increase of 19.5 percent on 2014.
Commenting, Michael Wittmann, Wittmann’s CEO, said: “This growth is really exceptional and we are all very proud of this increase. We experienced a good growth in Europe, particularly in the Eastern European countries, but noticeably in North America and Mexico where demand from the automotive industry continues to be a key influencing factor.”
Wittmann said the company predicted a positive increase in sales growth for 2016, however, at around three percent nothing like the numbers seen in the past financial year. This, he added, was still a success, and “growth nonetheless”. He said the goal for 2017 was revenues of €400 million.
World premiere of new robot ranges
From its beginnings producing flow regulators, the Wittmann product range has expanded to include hundreds of product lines, across robots and automation systems, material conveying systems with dryers and recycling equipment and temperature controllers and cooling units for machine tools as well as volumetric blenders and gravimetric dosing systems.
During the event, Michael Wittmann told the 1,650 delegates that 2015 had been a “key year” for the Group’s automation product ranges, with “a huge demand” on any kind of robotic system – from the very complex to simple pick-and-place variants.
It therefore was no surprise that in time for display at its 40th anniversary celebration, Wittmann launched new robot models in its W8 pro series. It says these advanced designs were developed in response to many users who wanted to be able to rely on flexible automation in the large machine segment.
The W853 pro is designed for a payload capacity of 40 kg – and the W863 pro is rated for 75 kg. These robots, it says, are best used with machines in the clamping force range of 1,300 to 2,400 metric tonnes – ideal for handling automotive components, white and brown goods, as well as technical parts.
Also in its robots range, the anniversary event saw the premiere of Wittmann’s new WL80 robot for small injection moulding machines.
Previously the W808, with a payload capacity of 3 kg and a horizontal stroke ranging from 1,250 to 2,000 mm, was Wittmann's smallest robot model, however, the introduction of the compact WL80 is designed for a payload capacity of up to 2 kg.
Wittmann says integrating the energy chain into the horizontal arm minimises the space requirement, which is especially advantageous when this unit is operated in protective housings and used in integrated applications.
The WL80 is available with a horizontal stroke of 1,200 mm, and therefore, Wittmann says is “perfectly matched” to injection moulding machines with clamping forces ranging from 30 to 60 tonnes.
Temperature controllers make their debut
During the event, Wittmann displayed its entire range of temperature control equipment, including the very latest in its Tempro Plus series, the D120/1-L, a generously dimensioned single-circuit temperature controller.
The “L” in the product name stands for “large” – in reference to this model's large heating and pump capacities. The pump is rated for 4 kW with a maximum pressure of 5.9 bar and a flow rate of 280 l/min. The heating capacity is 36 kW. This unit can be used wherever large machine tools are operated, i.e. especially where production runs initially require high heat output followed by high cooling.
New conveying units displayed
The 40th anniversary celebration also saw the display of two new conveying units for the first time.
The first, the Feedmax Basic, is the updated version of the Wittmann central loader with discharge shut-off valve. The key features, says Wittmann, remain the easy cleaning through the vacuum connection that is separate from the canted lid, as well as the ability to set the desired conveying time easily via potentiometer. With a capacity of up to 6 l, the company explained that the Feedmax basic is well suited for use in workcells or when drying hoppers have to be filled with a volume of up to 150 l from a long distance.
Secondly, the company exhibited the 'big brother' of the Feedmax basic, the Feedmax plus. This has a capacity of up to 80 l and differs from the Feedmax basic in terms of its material discharge. It can be used at the machine inlet when high material throughputs have to be handled.
Both units are equipped with Wittmann’s ‘ambiLED’ status display, which is designed to make it easy for the operator to quickly determine the condition of the conveying unit.
Grand entrance for G-Max 12 granulator
On June 8 and 9, also the new G-Max 12 granulator was presented for the first time. This is a conventional beside-the-press granulator for the grinding of soft to middle hard engineering resins. Wittmann says this granulator is specifically designed for the inline-recycling of sprues coming from injection moulding machines with clamping forces of 90 tonnes or less.
The G-Max 12 is said to be especially compact and energy saving, as well as being equipped with a unique cutting chamber damper to significantly reduce noise.
It uses a 1.5 kW IE3 premium efficiency motor, thus achieving “significant” energy savings, says Wittmann. It has a staggered rotor consisting of 3 x 4 knives and the cutting chamber has dimensions of 198 x 169 mm. Depending on the type of material, the throughput can reportedly reach 50 kg/hr.
Addtionally, the G-Max 12 allows Wittmann to present an entirely new concept: a remote control that replaces the normal electrical control device. This new concept, it says, allows for standard functions that are not available with conventional design.
The G-Max 12 can be operated as a part of the ‘Wittmann 4.0’ concept that enables the interaction between the moulding machine and all the other peripheral devices. All aspects of the production process can be integrated and coordinated in a comprehensive way, says Wittmann, including conveying and blending of material, tempering, injection moulding and automation, as well as the recycling process.
Wittmann 4.0 a key focus
During the event, Michael Wittmann explained that ‘Wittmann 4.0’, the company’s take on the wider ‘Industry 4.0’ concept of a smart, integrated production factory, was very much a key and important theme.
“Smart production, smart machines and smart services are a big highlight here. The fact that machines and ancillaries can all communicate to one and other, predicting maintenance issues and parts replacement is a big advantage and something we expect to see more of in the future,” he said.
“The leader for the most efficient machines”
Following the takeover of Battenfeld in 2008, the company integrated injection moulding machines into its product portfolio, offering a ‘one-stop shop’ for plastics processors.
During the anniversary event, Georg Tinschert, Wittmann General Manager, explained how constant investment at individual production sites combined with ongoing innovation and a global network have created a range of Wittmann Battenfeld injection moulding machines that ensure “continuous improvement of energy efficiency and production reliability.”
The aim, Tinschert explained, is for the company to be “the leader for the most efficient” injection moulding machines, whether hydraulic or servo electric.
Looking forward to K Show
With so many new product launches and premieres, the question was asked of Michael Wittmann as to whether the company was holding anything back for the K Show later this year.
“We have a lot of innovation and products on display here,” Wittmann commented. “But to display everything wouldn’t be in our nature, we want you to come and see us at the K Show, so of course there will be more innovation there.”
Wittmann concluded by saying that the offering at K in October was likely to include a new, fast cycling, all-electric machine targeting the packaging market, as well as a re-engineered IML workcell for “even quicker label changes.”
The company said it was looking forward to bringing more innovations to the K Show in October during its gala event in Vienna, where it adorned the city's Exhibition Centre with Wittmann flags.