Wittmann Battenfeld investing resources and manpower on extrusion

You know them as one of the largest manufacturers of injection molding machines. But that's not all the company is focused on: Wittmann Battenfeld is ready to take on extrusion.

The company wants to take the industry lead in supplying extrusion-based companies with material handling and auxiliary equipment.

"Wittmann Battenfeld sees a huge opportunity in this market," Mike Stark, divisional manager of material handling and auxiliaries at Wittmann Battenfeld, told PlasticsToday. "Growth is being driven by customer demand for fresh and innovative products for the extrusion processes. For extrusion, Wittmann Battenfeld has the right people, products and services to succeed as it has in injection molding."

The company says that it actually comes from a long history in extrusion dating back to the beginning of Nucon Canada, a resin conveying company, in 1985. Wittmann Battenfeld acquired Nucon in 1998. Since the acquisition, Wittmann Battenfeld has focused efforts on supplying material handling and auxiliary equipment, especially in injection molding.

In late 2012, the decision was made to make a substantial push by investing in and developing material handling and auxiliary equipment specifically for extrusion-based markets. The company has targeted all extrusion markets but is placing an emphasis on pipe and profile, film and sheet, compounding, thermoforming and blowmolding applications.

Stark said that the "emphasis on these segments is driven from our experiences in the past and where we see the most growth potential using our core product lines."

To assist in this refocusing, Wittmann Battenfeld hired Joe Norco, a veteran of material handling for more 20 years, as its national sales manager for extrusion. Stark said that this effort, combined with internal additions in engineering, means Wittmann Battenfeld is ready to take on more business.

Wittmann is partnering with CDS (Custom Downstream Systems) to offer a broad range of extrusion downstream equipment such as tanks, pullers, combo units, cutters, haul offs and medical equipment. In addition to this partnership, Wittmann Battenfeld has already added products of its own such as yield control, edge trim handling, fluff and reclaim, and plan to continue adding new products over the next year to broaden its offering.

The competitive advantage of Wittmann is to offer, "processors innovative packages in our typical turnkey fashion," Stark said. "Our partnership with CDS is just one example of this." Pioneering in product development is another, he said.

Specific products that Wittmann Battenfeld is providing the extrusion market include:

  • Material handling systems including a broadened range of powder handling
  • Material drying with expanded capabilities up to 6000lbs/hr
  • Blenders
  • Granulators and recycling
  • Temperature control units and chillers
  • Upstream extrusion yield control
  • Downstream extrusion systems
  • PET systems and crystallizers
  • Film and sheet reclaim and fluff handling
  • Railcar and bulk unloading systems