Wittmann says supply shortages cause concern

First-quarter 2021 order intake at injection moulding and ancillary equipment maker Wittmann Group hit an all-time record, according to company President Michael Witt- mann. However, he warned shortages of raw materials are impacting heavily on component supply, which means uncertainty in predicting full year results. “We are on track right now to reach €400m or higher, that means an increase of more than 30%. However, if material shortages continue then certainly there might be some slowdown and, in the worst case, that could result in revenues of €350m for this year. That’s still a very nice increase but definitely not what is possible,” he said at a virtual meeting held in May to mark the introduction of its Wittmann Interactive remote training platform. While the first part of 2020 was cer- tainly hit hard by the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, Wittmann said the company had seen investment pick up from the beginning of the second half of the year and that improvement is evident across the board. “Every sector has been doing well with the only exception automo- tive, which is average,” he said. Markets proving the most buoyant

are those directly linked to the home, such as garden products, electronics and white goods. And while automo- tive has not recovered in terms of the number of cars sold, Wittman said model programme delays caused by the pandemic and the shift to EVs have now eased. “The automotive industry is now stable,” he said. Wittmann warns, however, that the

combination of high investment and material and component shortages

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Above: Raw materials and electronic components are in short supply, says Michael Wittmann

means delivery times are inevitably extending. “Everything electronic is in short supply but not only electronics. There is also a shortage of steel. We are still able to get steel and sheet metal but the prices are going up and not just by percent but by factors,” he said. “The situation is quite critical – now and for the months to come. We think it will remain critical to the fall and we are not seeing any kind of improve- ment [in material and component availability],” Wittmann said. While plastics industry investment

is recovering rapidly from its Covid lows, it is likely that the pandemic will continue to shape the way business will operate. In particular, Wittmann sees digital communication tools becoming a core part of its sales and support strategy for the future, hence the investment in its Wittmann Interactive technology. This uses multiple media tools to allow virtual demos as well as to support customers in fault-finding or to run remote acceptance trials on new production. �

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