Wittmann Battenfeld grows its machine servicing business
Wittmann Battenfeld UK (WB UK) has reported a quantum increase in the company’s recent service and spares business.
Within three years, service manager Adrian Walters’ team of five for Ireland and the UK has now grown to 12 engineers, including one apprentice.
Increased WB UK sales from 2013-15 have contributed in part to the increase in this business. In addition, however, a growing number of WB UK customers are seeing the value in scheduling service visits – and equipment training – on a regular monthly basis.
Walters says: “Many moulders are increasingly bundling a number of non-urgent jobs together – and having them tackled via a monthly service contract. At the same time, our engineers are also able to offer some equipment training and support at these sessions – often to new personnel within customer firms. This scheduled monthly arrangement not only helps our customers avoid costly call out fees, it also helps us structure and plan our customer service.”
Walters believes that the better injection moulders deploy a structured approach to service – helping to avoid expensive emergencies, stoppages and downtime: “They get the best out of us and we’re able to plan and optimise our service for them.” Some sectors, such as med-tech and automotive, will ensure that their machines are serviced and calibrated at least every six months.
He also believes that the principles of machine ownership do not differ markedly from sector to sector. Car ownership provides a reasonable analogy. “If you rely on your machine to perform reliably and consistently everyday – how can you not afford not to take care of it? Having a tailored equipment service plan is no different.”
Walters adds that “naturally we always have staff available for emergency call outs and at weekends.
“However, this is expensive for the customer. A regular and pre-emptive approach to service provides a much better way.”
WB UK is also currently embarked on a programme of upgrading and future proofing some of its older machines within UK injection moulding operations.
One customer – operating a 20 year-old 800 tonne machine – has production work guaranteed for many years ahead. It wishes, however, to save cost and improvement performance on the existing machine. The WB UK service team is therefore refurbishing the equipment and refitting it with a B6 P Unilog control system – allowing internet access and much else besides.
Barry Hill, managing director of WB UK, sees his firm’s customer service approach as contributing to the recent sales growth at the company. “2015 was a record year and this year looks like surpassing it.”
This year also sees Wittmann celebrating its eighth year anniversary of the purchase of Battenfeld. Hill says that “every year sees more integration, innovation and cost-effective product development for both the Wittmann and Wittmann Battenfeld brands”.
The reasons for an uplift in WB UK sales include “the popularity of the new injection moulding machine brands – EcoPower, SmartPower and MicroPower. Also the launch of our pre-qualified medical moulding injection moulding machines (IMM),” adds Hill, “and our growing penetration of that market. The MicroPower and EcoPower size range does well here, both in the UK and also in Ireland, where med-tech moulding shows well above average growth.”
WB UK will this year be exhibiting at the Med-Tech Innovation Expo from 20-21 April in Coventry.
Hill adds “the appeal of our one-stop-shop. We supply all the equipment for a moulding cell – IMM, automation, dryers, granulators, temp control – and many of our customers appreciate the convenience and opportunity to purchase all kinds of equipment from just one source of supply.