QMT Features: September 2007
The Wenzel way
Family owned coordinate measuring machine company, Wenzel is set to double output in the medium term with a strategy of innovation, market development and stability. By Brendan Coyne

Frank Wenzel, (left) and Wenzel's
joint managing director,
Heike Wenzel-Dafler
With over 5,000 coordinate measuring machines installed worldwide, Wenzel Group GmbH, Germany, is the largest family owned manufacturer of CMMs, ranking fourth in the world. Recently, managing director Frank Wenzel, together with his joint managing director, Heike Wenzel-Dafler, was in the UK to open Wenzel UK’s new facility in Bristol.

Regarding the new UK facility, Frank Wenzel said, “It’s a start of a new era for Wenzel, in the UK. Now we have the right team and with this facility, it will be the start of a much more successful future.”

To-date, most of Wenzel’s UK sales have been into the automotive supply chain, but the company expects this to expand into other sectors, such as aerospace, reflecting what has been happening within the group in other parts of the world.

One sector in particular, renewable energy, is in the company’s sights, with interest in this technology from Europe, India, China and the USA. “We are very successful worldwide   (in measurement applications for) for wind energy,” says Frank Wenzel. “Measurement of engine blocks and big gears in the wind energy sector is a growing market for our gear measuring expertise. We expect this to progress into other areas too,” adds Heike Wenzel-Dafler. ”Although the gear measurement market is a relatively small global market, around 60 million euro, we see our gear measurement expertise, both software and systems, as a door opener for us.” explains Frank Wenzel. ”It provides an entry point into companies who are looking at gear applications and may have other coordinate measuring applications.”

This year Wenzel will manufacture 600 machines (500 in 2006), and say that they will produce 1,000 in 2011. ”These figures relate to our traditional machines (mainly bridge type and horizontal arm CMMs). They do not include new technology machines,” says Frank Wenzel. The company has already expanded its range with a very successful gear measuring machine and a small CMM, the SmartCMM, and are developing further new machines. ”We are looking at new measurement technologies in the non contact area,” says Frank Wenzel, but, when x-ray computer tomagraphy is mentioned, as an example, he won’t be drawn, except to say that, “it is a very interesting technology.”

“I think we will grow in markets where we are not present at the moment, especially in Asia where we are not so well known,” explains Heike Frankel. The USA is another growth area where Wenzel have recently acquired a CMM distributor and software company, Xspect Solutions in Michigan, and where they plan to construct a new assembly plant.

Commenting on recent developments in the CMM market, Frank says the market will continue to consolidate but that Wenzel will not participate in “hazardous” acquisitions. Wenzel will remain focussed on developing its own market sector and intends to remain a traditional family owned company, which looks at long term strategies for growth and profits.

“I see ourselves as a little bit like BMW (a major customer of Wenzel),” says Frank Wenzel. “We are a BMW in the CMM business - we are not the cheapest, but we grow and we keep our quality level up and that’s important.”l

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Rob Tremain Photographer
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