04/30/2012

Ground-breaking dig for the Innovation Factory

WITTENSTEIN AG is investing thirty million euros in a new, ultra-modern and resource-efficient Mechatronics Centre in Igersheim-Harthausen.

When the words "innovation" and "factory" are fused together rather than simply existing side by side, a new way of thinking is revealed. WITTENSTEIN firmly believes that in the future innovative products will inevitably go hand in hand with innovative production concepts.

The WITTENSTEIN Innovation Factory will systematically bring about a conscious mind shift. The building is scheduled for completion by the middle of next year and will create optimal opportunities for innovative production processes in terms of resource efficiency, environmental awareness and work conditions: spacious, light and clean office and production areas with short lines of communication, transparent to both the inside and outside, low-noise and low-emission – the successful reconciliation of economic with ecological requirements.

The new building is being erected directly adjacent to the WITTENSTEIN AG headquarters in Igersheim-Harthausen with a footprint measuring 133 x 90 metres, three storeys and an overall height of 14 metres. And with around 18,000 square metres of floor space, the whole complex, made from natural stone with a glass façade, will be roughly the same size as the six existing production shops and offer room for 500 staff. The topping-out ceremony for the WITTENSTEIN Innovation Factory will hopefully be celebrated in the autumn.

 

Room for growth

The extremely ambitious architecture of the new building complex will give the group the extra expanse it needs to continue growing. On the one hand, the thirty million euro investment is the outcome of its positive business development in the past while on the other, it will pave the way for sustainable growth in the future. "In the last few years, we've laid a few important foundations that will help us gain an even stronger foothold worldwide. The WITTENSTEIN Group is up among the cream of the international crop and an acknowledged innovator in the field of mechatronic drive technology. The target we've set ourselves is to realize our vision of becoming a global mechatronics corporation", says Dr. Manfred Wittenstein, President of WITTENSTEIN AG. "We're seeking wise and sensible answers to tomorrow's production requirements."

One of these answers will be delivered in the next few months. The future Innovation Factory will unite the manufacture of the most diverse WITTENSTEIN innovations under one roof and was designed by HENN Architekten, the internationally renowned firm of architects. "As we understand it, innovations are not simply restricted to products; they can also relate to processes, services or even complete business models and social innovations", adds Dr. Michael Geier, General Manager of WITTENSTEIN cyber motor GmbH and project manager responsible for the construction work. In practice, as far as the inner workings of the Innovation Factory are concerned, this means that the Development, Sales & Marketing and Production functions of several mechatronic Business Units will in future interact even more strongly. All process partners – engineers, sales representatives and operators – will work in close physical proximity. Optimized interfaces and new relationship intelligence will be the fruits of this closeness. Amongst other things, lead times will be halved.

 

Technology for people

The "articles of manufacture" will be mechatronic components and systems comprised of mechanics, controls, sensors and software for customer applications in a variety of industries such as semiconductors, power generation or automotive construction. Incidentally, the benefits of these solutions will be enjoyed by absolutely everyone – from drivers of electric vehicles to users of mobile phones and electricity consumers. In other words, the WITTENSTEIN Innovation Factory will house – and in the long term supply – "technology for people".

 

A brief chronology of the construction project

The ground-breaking dig for the WITTENSTEIN Innovation Factory on April 30, 2012 represents the latest milestone in a series of construction projects at WITTENSTEIN's Igersheim-Harthausen facility.

  • 1996: The new administrative headquarters are inaugurated on what was still a greenfield site, initially with one 2500 square metre production shop.   
  • 1999: Three years later, the Group celebrates yet another topping-out ceremony. A development and sales centre, a training and communication centre (WITTENSTEIN academy), a second assembly shop and a new logistics hall mean the floor space has already been doubled.   
  • 2002: A second logistics hall becomes ready for occupancy in Walter-Wittenstein-Strasse 1 shortly after WITTENSTEIN is turned into a non-listed public limited company.   
  • 2004: A fifth hall follows.   
  • 2007: Hall number six rounds off the design concept by Schwäbisch Hall architect Günther Obinger.
  • 2008: The nearby WITTENSTEIN talent arena, the Group's creative learning and training workshop, is officially opened.