At the beginning of 2019, WITRON's founder and owner, Walter Winkler, decided to expand the company's manufacturing capacities in Parkstein by 120,000 square metres, to a total of 220,000 square metres.
The project, which corresponds to an investment volume of approximately €200 million, seeks to ensure that WITRON remains a strong partner for its customers and employees in the future and can cope with growth.
It is currently the largest privately-financed construction project in northern Bavaria.
After a record-breaking planning and construction period of more than two and a half years – and just in time for the company's 50th anniversary – the new 'Werk II Nord' facility has commenced the production of highly dynamic conveyor system elements and control cabinets from the beginning of September 2021.
The expansion will see the creation of up to 1,800 attractive new jobs in Parkstein for IT and PLC specialists, project staff, design engineers, metalworkers, mechatronic engineers, and electricians.
The opening was duly celebrated with selected guests in compliance with the current regulatory conditions.
'A Shining Example For Bavaria'
In his speech to mark the opening of the new facility, Bavarian state minister for finance and home affairs, described the company as a "shining example for Bavaria."
In his welcome speech, Walter Winkler said, "Leading-edge solutions and successful projects were and still are the driver for the strong growth of the WITRON Group. To reliably cover this high demand in terms of quality and quantity in the future, we have decided to make this investment. In addition, this step makes it possible to permanently secure jobs in the region as well as in the subsidiaries in Europe, North America, and Australia, and to remain technologically up-to-date. Innovation and motivated, well-trained employees have been a supporting pillar of WITRON since the company's foundation."
Winkler added, "A company should never be interchangeable. Not in terms of the solutions it offers, and certainly not in terms of its corporate culture and the commitment of its employees. Only then will it be successful in the long term. Natural intelligence is just as important as artificial intelligence."
Furthermore, minister Füracker emphasised the lived-out WITRON culture based on tradition and progress.
"WITRON has been a down-to-earth company for 50 years, which still modestly calls itself a 'hidden champion', but it is a true 'real champion' – with Walter Winkler as an entrepreneurial personality [with] creativity and passion," he said.
"[He is] a personality who doesn't just have ideas and plans in his head, or perhaps even as a sketch on paper, but who implements them consistently and, above all, successfully – for the benefit of the customers, the employees, and the company."
WITRON's permanent success is "the result of inspiration and transpiration", he added.
Thanking The Parties Involved In The Project
Winkler stated, "Only a few months after the decision to plan and build the facility, the first earthworks had already started. The prerequisite for this was the pragmatic cooperation with the local authorities, architects, all suppliers, as well as the responsible general contractor.
"Thanks to many hardworking hands and the great commitment of all parties involved, the inauguration ceremony of 'Werk II Nord' can be properly celebrated in the anniversary year, after a construction period of just under two years."
Another 1,800 Jobs Planned
WITRON currently employs 4,800 staff members, of which more than 2,000 work at the headquarters in Parkstein.
This figure will rise to 7,000 employees worldwide over the next two years, and the customer orders for this have already been placed.
Sales of almost €1 billion are expected for the 2021 fiscal year.
"Due to this positive outlook, it is mandatory to significantly expand manufacturing resources and hire additional employees," explained Winkler.
"We will then be able to offer up to 1,800 attractive new jobs in Parkstein - for IT specialists, PLC and project staff, design engineers, mechatronic engineers, electricians and metalworkers."
Highly Optimised Material Flow – Leading-Edge Work Processes
The general contractor for logistics from Parkstein has been manufacturing its own highly dynamic and energy-efficient pallet, tote, and tray conveyor system elements since 2005.
The central production for all projects worldwide takes place in Parkstein.
Manufacturing resources were already significantly increased in 2010, 2013, and 2018.
In the new 'Werk II Nord' facility, the area for the construction of conveyor system elements alone, including galvanisation, covers 87,000 square metres.
An additional 12,000 square metres are planned for the production of control cabinets.
The storage capacities in the automated warehouses are designed to accommodate 10,500 pallets and 23,750 tote storage locations.
The maximum building height is 11 metres. However, for reasons of space optimisation, storage will largely be below ground level.
The machine park uses the latest manufacturing technology, such as laser-punching-bending machines and a large area for galvanic surface finishing.
It enables a wide range of manufacturing operations, and thus the highest quality, down to the last detail. Production is more reminiscent of a 'manufactory' than a production facility because the final assembly of the conveyor elements takes place at production workstations using precisely tailored work processes.
All production workstations have an attractive and ergonomic design and provide all necessary components to manufacture the various elements completely.
Production control and parts supply are supported by a Kanban system, in connection with automatic pallet, tray, and tote warehouses.
The individual production and storage areas, including receiving and shipping, are precisely linked in a transparent, highly optimised material flow.
Instead of wiring motors, control, and drive units at the project site of the respective customer, this process is already undertaken during the manufacturing process in an optimal working environment.
The result is high product quality, shortened commissioning times, and efficient interaction between controllers, sensors, and the PLC and IT components developed in-house by WITRON, without any interface problems.
WITRON Solutions Supply More Than 100 Million People Worldwide Every Day
Winkler commented, "We realise projects in a system-relevant industry sector. Our solutions supply more than 100 million people daily with food and many important everyday necessities via stores or online – economically, ecologically, and socially. Numerous customers worldwide, especially from the food sector, rely on our project experience and technology know-how, such as WITRON's patented OPM/COM technology."
OPM/COM is considered the most successful fully-automated picking system for cases across the globe.
"In addition, our customers – and we are particularly proud of this – rely on the values and culture that make the family company WITRON so unique: Rolling up one's sleeves, keeping promises, being credible, reliable, and predictable, staying down to earth," Winkler said, highlighting the company's strengths.
"The entire WITRON Group is aware of this responsibility every day. And with the additional opportunities that Werk II Nord offers, we are rising to this challenge – today and in the future, for the benefit of our customers and employees," he added.