Largest machine in company history

Pfälzer Tageblatt from 13.04.2024

Largest machine in the company’s history

Who the Landau-based company Wickert is sending an oversized press to

By Barbara Swojanowsky

Landau. It is a mammoth project – and so far unique in the history of Wickert Maschinenbau GmbH: the employees of the Landau-based family business designed and built a gigantic oversized press system for a customer from North America.

A company from Mexico needs a press system for the production of polypropylene plastic sheets. Wickert Maschinenbau delivered. After around a year of planning and construction. The last truck with machine parts left the Landau plant only recently.

According to Steve Büchner, who works as a sales engineer and deputy marketing manager at Wickert, the gigantic system consists of four presses.

Each press has a pressing force of 10,000 tons. This corresponds to around 10,000 older VW Golf models exerting pressure on a surface at the same time, as Büchner explains.

And the other figures he quotes are also huge: each press measures 4.3 by 3.2 meters and can produce plastic sheets up to eleven square meters in size and weighing 600 kilograms.

The dead weight of each press is around 450 tons.

“For Wickert, it is by far the largest single machine ever designed and built in the company’s history.

Above all, however, the project was a planning and logistical challenge that we were very happy to take on. After all, Mexico is not exactly around the corner from us,” remarks the engineer.

For example, 1,800 tons of material, especially steel, had to be transported across the Atlantic in 32 shipments.

Of these, 20 packages were transported at night from the company headquarters in Wollmesheimer Höhe to the port of Antwerp under police escort.

The heaviest individual part to be transported weighed 85 tons. That is the equivalent of about twelve full-grown bull elephants or – to stay with Büchner’s image – 85 VW Golf II models.

According to Büchner, the delivery to the customer was also meticulously planned in advance on the computer with 3D models and flow diagrams. “You can’t just drop off packages of this size in a hall,” he explains.

Employees from Landau would then carry out the assembly in Mexico, supported by local fitters.

The costs for the system, which according to the engineer is the most modern of its kind and enables a new type of production process, are in the low double-digit million range.

“Incidentally, only fewer than five suppliers worldwide were able to provide the material required for the press plates in this size,” reports the Wickert employee.

Among others, Dillinger Hütte, a steelworks in Saarland, supplied the required steel to Landau, where the Wickert family business has been based for 120 years.

Stephanie Wickert, the fourth generation, joined the management team in 2022.

Among other things, the company specializes in the construction of hydraulic presses for use in a wide range of industries.