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Societas Europaea
Industry Engineering, electronics, simulation technology
Founded 1949
Headquarters Igersheim, Germany
Key people
Dirk Haft, Erik Roßmeißl, Anna-Katharina Wittenstein (Spokeswoman of the Board), Bernd Schimpf [1]
Products Mechatronic drive technology
Revenue 302 million euros (2015/2016) [2]
Number of employees
1,987 world (March 2016)) [2]
Website www.wittenstein.de/en-en/

Wittenstein SE (stylized as WITTENSTEIN) is a German manufacturer of planetary gearheads, gearing technology, complete electromechanical drive systems and AC servo systems and motors. These products are used, for example, in robotic systems, machine tools, packaging, conveyor systems and process technology, defence equipment, Formula One racing, paper and printing presses, medical technology, nano technology, stage and lifting technology, the aerospace sector and offshore gas and oil extraction.[1] The company's global headquarters is in Igersheim, Germany with North American Headquarters in Bartlett, Illinois.[3]

Affiliated companies[edit]

  • Wittenstein alpha GmbH (until 30 June 2008 alpha Getriebebau)
  • Wittenstein motion control GmbH
  • Wittenstein cyber motor GmbH
  • Wittenstein intens GmbH
  • Wittenstein aerospace & simulation GmbH
  • attocube systems GmbH [2]
  • baramundi software AG [4]


The company was formed as Dewitta in 1949 by two entrepreneurs, Walter Wittenstein and Bruno Dähn, in Steinheim near Heidenheim (Baden-Württemberg). Using borrowed equipment, this small firm specialized in the manufacture of double chainstitch machines for glovemaking. The Steinheim premises soon become too cramped and so the company moved to Bad Mergentheim in 1952. The first production plant was a converted barracks beaf to Eissee lake, originally only intended as an interim solution. In 1963, lack of space forced Dewitta to relocate again – this time to Herrenwiesenstrasse in Igersheim.

With fewer and fewer women wearing gloves, sales of machines for making them slumped dramatically in the seventies. Contract work and diversification into alternative products became increasingly critical factors as the company struggled through this difficult period and soon accounted for half the firm's total sales. Guns for steel nails, machines for filling and sealing tubes, equipment for packing sliced bread, etc. were among the many different products made in Igersheim.

At the same time, the way was paved for a new generation to take over the helm. Walter Wittenstein, the textile maker and machine builder, went into gradual retirement and was succeeded by his son, Dr. Manfred Wittenstein. Company founder Walter Wittenstein died in Igersheim in 1988. Shortly after joining the family firm in 1979, Manfred Wittenstein set to work modernising its production and product portfolio. In the search for market opportunities and adequate products with unique attributes, he quickly recognized the potential of low-backlash planetary gearheads.

The world's first planetary gearhead (the SP series) was unveiled at the Hanover Fair in 1983. The SP turned out to be so successful that alpha getriebebau was set up soon afterwards as an independent Wittenstein subsidiary. In 1984, alpha getriebebau GmbH was established as a cooperative venture of two SMEs (Bastian in Fellbach, just outside Stuttgart, and Wittenstein), with Manfred Bastian and Manfred Wittenstein as managing partners.

An assembly shop, warehouse and various office buildings were erected at the Herrenwiesenstrasse site in Igersheim, as a result of which floor space more than doubled. The workforce increased steadily in size too, and for the first time a large number of technicians and engineers were also recruited. alpha regularly recorded double-figure growth in turnover. The complete assembly side was transferred to Weikersheim in 1990. Forty staff on average worked there for six years before the company moved out for good in 1996. This period simultaneously marked the end of the sewing machine era and the last Dewitta was assembled while still in Weikersheim. The entire sewing machine business was subsequently sold off, including all spare parts, milling machines and other equipment.

In the early nineties, Wittenstein began to expand internationally. alpha réducteurs Sarl was set up in Paris (France) as the first foreign subsidiary, followed not long afterwards by alpha getriebe Ltd., Tokyo (Japan). The first manufacturing headquarters outside of Germany was founded in 1992 in North America. By 2007, the Group had eleven subsidiaries outside Germany, with exports accounting for over 60% of turnover. The creation of Wittenstein motion control GmbH in 1992 spearheaded the Group's transition to a provider of electromechanical servo actuators and actuator systems. More new Business Units were successively added over the next few years, such as Wittenstein intens and Wittenstein cyber motor in 1999.

In 2001, the firm was given a new corporate structure when the original Wittenstein GmbH & Co. KG was transformed into a family owned, non-listed public limited company. Further subsidiaries came into being in 2003 (Wittenstein aerospace & simulation) and 2007 (Wittenstein electronics). In 2008, the Group acquired a majority share in Munich based attocube systems, which became a wholly owned subsidiary three years later in 2011. [5]

Wittenstein headquarters in Igersheim-Harthausen

Current operations[edit]

Today, the Group headquarters are in Igersheim-Harthausen – a star-shaped complex of administrative buildings, production shops and logistics centre. Gearhead cases, input shafts, attached motor components, etc. are still manufactured at Igersheim, while gear wheels continue to be produced in Fellbach – which was converted to a "Future Urban Production" (Urbanen Produktion der Zukunft) facility in 2010.

The first new buildings in the industrial park in Harthausen were occupied in 1996. A development and sales centre, a training and communication centre, a second production and assembly shop and a new logistics hall were added in 1999. A second logistics hall and third assembly shop were officially opened in the spring of 2002. Within the next five years, the number of production shops at the company headquarters increased to six.

In 1995, Manfred Wittenstein and Ullrich Lempp, then Headmaster of the Deutschorden-Gymnasium school in Bad Mergentheim, set up the Wittenstein Foundation. The Foundation awards an annual scholarship in a natural science to one of the school's students. "Creative Young Minds", a competition aimed at young inventors in the local region, was likewise initiated by Manfred Wittenstein.

Wittenstein motion control, a subsidiary of the Wittenstein Group, is a member of its OWL – Intelligente Technische Systeme OstWestfalenLippe, a leading edge cluster and an alliance of 174 enterprises, universities, centres of scientific excellence and business support organizations in the East Westphalia-Lippe region which was formed in 2011.

Early in 2013, the company embarked on a search for a successor to Manfred Wittenstein as President; on 1 October 2014 that year, Professor Dieter Spath, an occupational scientist and Head of the Institute for Technology Management and Human Factors at the University of Stuttgart, took over as President on 1 October 2013; on 1 April 2014, Manfred Wittenstein was appointed Chairman of the Wittenstein Supervisory Board. [5]

Today, the Group comprises sixty or so subsidiaries and agents in total in approximately forty countries – with exports accounting for around 60% of turnover. [2]

In 2017 Wittenstein acquires the entire share capital of baramundi software AG.[4] Various reorganization and restructuring measures are implemented to strengthen Wittenstein‘s market orientation. Wittenstein electronics GmbH: will be integrated in Wittenstein cyber motor GmbH. Wittenstein motion control GmbH: the business field of Industrial Systems will be divided between Wittenstein cyber motor GmbH and Wittenstein alpha GmbH. The business field of Oil & Gas remains. Wittenstein bastian GmbH: Special-Purpose Gearheads and Gearing will be integrated in Wittenstein alpha GmbH. The “Future Urban Production” facility in Fellbach will continue to be established as a production and competence center for gearing components and special-purpose gearheads.[5]

Facts and figures[edit]

  • Sales 2002/2003: 85 million euros (+16%)
  • Sales 2003/2004: 100 million euros (+17%)
  • Sales 2004/2005: 116 million euros (+16.3%)
  • Sales 2005/2006: 133 million euros (+14.8%)
  • Sales 2006/2007: 148 million euros (+10.6%)
  • Sales 2007/2008: 164 million euros
  • Sales 2008/2009: 171 million euros
  • Sales 2009/2010: 136.9 million euros
  • Sales 2010/2011: 197 million euros
  • Sales 2011/2012: 233 million euros
  • Sales 2012/2013: 241 million euros
  • Sales 2013/2014: 254 million euros
  • Sales 2014/2015: 276 million euros
  • Sales 2015/2016: 302 million euros [2]
  • Export rate: 60% (fiscal year 2013/2014) [2]
  • 1987 employees worldwide, including approximately 1600 in Germany (March 2016) [2]
  • Own academy (founded in 1999)
  • Companies: Total of 60 subsidiaries and agents in 40 countries around the world (October 2014)
  • 10% of sales revenue is spent on research and development; 12% of staff work in R&D
  • Trainee ratio: 13% [2]
  • Management Board: Dirk Haft, Erik Roßmeißl, Anna-Katharina Wittenstein (Spokeswoman of the Board), Bernd Schimpf [1]
  • Chairman of the Supervisory Board: Manfred Wittenstein [1]


  1. ^ a b c d Company information about WITTENSTEIN - Website of WITTENSTEIN SE – Retrieved on April 7th 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h WITTENSTEIN Group - Website of WITTENSTEIN SE – Retrieved on April 7th 2017.
  3. ^ Locations of WITTENSTEIN - Website of WITTENSTEIN SE – Retrieved on April 7th 2017.
  4. ^ a b WITTENSTEIN SE acquires baramundi software AG - WITTENSTEIN Press Release – Retrieved on April 6th 2017.
  5. ^ a b c History of WITTENSTEIN - Website of WITTENSTEIN SE – Retrieved on April 7th 2017.

External links[edit]