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Wittmann Talks Turkey at NPE

Persistent inflation, labor costs, and regulatory overreach are making it increasingly difficult to do business in Europe, according to Wittmann Group President Michael Wittmann. Enter Turkey.

Norbert Sparrow

May 7, 2024

2 Min Read
Michael Wittmann
Image: Norbert Sparrow

As is his wont at trade show press conferences, Wittmann Group President Michael Wittmann presented a frank overview of the company’s business outlook at NPE2024 this morning. The company’s global footprint continues to grow, but this time there was a bit of an edge to his presentation, and the reason is Europe.

Persistently high inflation in Austria, and Europe more generally, compounded by rising labor costs is putting a real strain on European businesses. Financial considerations and an oppressive regulatory environment has led Wittmann to move some production to Turkey “because it is outside of Europe,” but close enough to ship goods by truck and not have to rely on containers, he said at the press conference.

The Wittmann Group currently has a 34,000-square-foot plant in Dilovasi, Turkey, but that is a temporary arrangement. “We are still looking for a larger space to purchase,” said Wittmann, noting that the company likes to own the land where its factories operate.

Wittmann not leaving Austria.

Wittmann stressed that the company is not abandoning its home base in Austria — large-tonnage machines will continue to be made there, he said — although some production is moving to Hungary, where it is building a second facility.

The plant in Ikreny, Hungary, will focus primarily on sheet metal fabrication and machining and will be highly automated. Completion is scheduled for 2025.

Related:The Coolest Thing We Saw at NPE on Day Two: A Fizzy First

One particularly difficult decision was made recently when Wittmann transferred production of water-flow regulators to its existing plant in Hungary. It was a foundational piece of equipment when the company started. Making the decision was not easy, Wittmann said, but it was apparently necessary.

A new plant is also being built in Poland, which Wittmann expects to be completed before the end of the year. No manufacturing activity is planned at this facility, Wittmann told PlasticsToday.

Farther afield, a subsidiary was set up in Vietnam earlier this year, and a 54,000-square-foot facility in India should be ready to go in June 2024.

Michael Wittmann also noted that Germany, which historically has been the company’s largest market, fell into second place following the United States. Mexico is its third largest market.

Meanwhile on the show floor.

Wittmann is showcasing five complete work cells at booth 3043 in the west hall producing everything from sunroof bezels to tiny speaker membranes.

wittmann-booth.jpg

Auxiliary equipment — Wittmann makes more than 60 types of products — is scattered throughout the booth. Several new systems are on display, including:

  • The Feedmax CL (Clean) central vacuum receiver, which significantly improves the separation of dust and fines from regrind;

  • The Drymax plus with Wittmann 4.0 connectivity;

  • The Tempro plus D390, which achieves water temperatures up to 392°F.

NPE2024 runs through May 10 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL.

About the Author(s)

Norbert Sparrow

Editor in chief of PlasticsToday since 2015, Norbert Sparrow has more than 30 years of editorial experience in business-to-business media. He studied journalism at the Centre Universitaire d'Etudes du Journalisme in Strasbourg, France, where he earned a master's degree.

www.linkedin.com/in/norbertsparrow

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