Wittmann Battenfeld expanding India plant

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Photo by Satnam Singh Kumar

Rising automation in India's plastics industry is leading Austria's Wittmann Battenfeld GmbH to undertake the second expansion of its Chennai plant in as many years.

"The plan is to enlarge the product portfolio to offer wider automation solutions and robotic applications" because the Indian plastics industry is increasingly moving toward automation, said Nanda Kumar, director of Wittmann Battenfeld India Pvt. Ltd., in an interview at Plastindia 2018, held in February in Gandhinagar, India.

"The expanded plant would be operational in the second half of 2019 and raise product offerings by 50%," he said.

The proposed expansion would hike the plant area to 150,000 square feet. The facility was expanded by 43,000 square feet in 2017.

"The earlier expansion was more focused on special projects, but the [next] expansion is more toward manless operation on the shop floor, besides offering turnkey solutions for the plastic industry," he said.

Currently, the Chennai plant manufactures equipment like conveyor systems, mold temperature controllers and dryers.

The Indian subsidiary is growing around 30% annually, with sales of about $6.4m (€5.2m) in 2017. It's targeting to more than double that to about $15.4m (€12.5m) this year.

"The latest technology is driving the Indian plastics industry, and customers are now scouting for newer technology that also hike plant efficiency levels," he said.

The company, which ships about 5,000 robots a year from factories in Europe, China and the United States, is currently expanding facilities in Nuremberg, Germany, and Pisek, Czech Republic, to add capacity for automation and gripper systems.


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