During the Wirtgen Group Technology Days in September 2011, some 3600 guests enjoyed an exceptional programme around the theme of recent innovations by Wirtgen, Vögele, Hamm and Kleemann. This year’s event was hosted by Joseph Vögele AG in Ludwigshafen, which welcomed guests to visit the world’s most modern road paver factory (Fig. 1). From North Cape to Capetown, from Alberta to Tierra del Fuego, from Siberia to Sydney – customers journeyed to Ludwigshafen from more than 80 different countries to see the new machines and products and rub shoulders with decision-makers from construction companies based on all the continents. As production continued, an excellent informative tour took visitors past high-tech processing machines as well as the birthplace of tamper bars, screed plates and screeds, through flow assembly and the high-performance, environmentally-friendly power-coating facility, among other attractions. Since the completion of the Vögele factory, the Wirtgen Group has been producing its range of 137 machines with 438 models and 6157 options at four ultra-modern manufacturing plants in Germany.
Managing partners Jürgen Wirtgen and Stefan Wirtgen explain, it looks very much as though “2011 will be the most successful year in the history of the company. We are expecting double-figure growth rates for all four brands.” This news could not have come at a better time, coinciding with the company’s 50th jubilee, an important milestone in the development of the company. The “50 years of Wirtgen” exhibition presented an impressive view of the company’s dynamic development from a one-man operation to a global player with a workforce of 5000.
The brands presented their latest road construction and mining technologies on the „Wirtgen Group Avenue“ (Fig. 2). Each and every visitor was able to make a new discovery here, be it the high-tech W 220 Cold Milling Machine or the Slipform Paver Autopilot from Wirtgen, Vögele’s MT 3000-2 Offset Feeder, the new H 20i and H 18i Compactors from Hamm or the Kleemann Crusher with EVO technology. The greatest attractions were the “i”-machines. This appellation designates the latest Wirtgen Group developments with pioneering Tier IV engines. At the live demos experts from the headquarters presented their machines and technologies for sub-base paving, for paving with subsequent asphalt compaction and for rehabilitating roads and reclaiming materials (Fig. 3). Rock was crushed with jaw crushers from Kleemann. Then a KMA 220 from Wirtgen used it to produce the construction material for a hydraulically bound base course. After paving with Vögele’s flagship Super 3000-2 and an MT 3000-2 Feeder, a Hamm GRW 280 Rubber-Wheeled Roller took care of the compaction along with the new H 20i and H 18i compactors. As in development, specialists from the Services and Applications Advice divisions of the individual headquarters worked hand in hand on the presentation, too. Jürgen Wirtgen summarized what it is that binds them: „The desire to create holistic solutions which span the four brands and permit our customers from around the world to operate successfully.“