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News Release

Manitowoc to build new Product Verification Center and expand German operations

7/28/2015

Manitowoc has announced plans to build a new Product Verification Center (PVC) close to its Wilhelmshaven factory in northern Germany, where the company manufactures its range of Grove all-terrain cranes. In addition, the company has announced a significant updating and modernization of the Wilhelmshaven factory, which will optimize production and increase manufacturing capacity by up to 40 percent. 

In 2012 Manitowoc opened its first PVC at its Shady Grove factory in Pennsylvania, U.S. The facility was the first of its kind in the industry and provided unprecedented component testing capabilities. Opening the latest PVC in Germany will increase testing capacity ensuring even greater component quality and return on investment for customers. 

The PVC in Wilhelmshaven will be built on a 9 hectare site in the Bauens/Memershausen Industrial Park and will employ a team of 30 highly qualified engineering personnel. Manitowoc has also signed an option to purchase an adjacent 9 hectare site for potential future development. Construction will begin shortly and it is expected that both the PVC and the facility renovation at the existing Wilhelmshaven plant will be completed before the end of 2016. 

Jens Ennen, Manitowoc’s senior vice president of all-terrain and truck cranes and the company’s CTO of Global Technology, said the opening of the PVC is the next step in the continuous improvement of the operations at Wilhelmshaven. 

“Having monitored the success of our PVC in the United States over the past few years, we feel the time is right to expand the concept with additional capacity,” he said. “The past five years have seen a transformation in the manufacture of GMK mobile cranes from Manitowoc. We have continued our focus on innovation and also moved our operations to lean manufacturing as well as bringing a number of industry-leading models to market. By adding a PVC we can now take our design and production to the next level and ensure we maintain our position as one of the world’s leading producers of mobile cranes.”

Using a PVC helps Manitowoc produce stronger and more reliable cranes. Components can be rigorously tested to simulate a complete working lifecycle and the results of the testing can be used to modify or adapt designs. Having a better understanding of how components will perform in a crane also speeds up the product design process, reducing downtime for customers, and allows Manitowoc to directly compare components from individual suppliers.  

The plans to build the new PVC and expand its existing facility in the Industriegelände West location were reviewed and approved by both Larry Weyers, president of Manitowoc Cranes, and Josef Matosevic, senior vice president of Operational Excellence. The plans were then announced publicly by senior Manitowoc management at a special event held at the end of June at the Wilhelmshaven facility and attended by the mayor of Wilhelmshaven, Andreas Wagner. 

Dr. Klaus Pohl, managing director of operations for Manitowoc in Wilhelmshaven, said these latest expansion plans underlined the company’s commitment to the crane industry and the local community.

“Wilhelmshaven remains a very important manufacturing site for our company so we are delighted to strengthen our position here,” he said. “A number of our key suppliers and service providers have expressed an interest in relocating here and we are proud to support the local economy with our ongoing investment. Our customers will benefit too, as we continue to focus on leading innovation for our industry and driving better return on investment for our cranes. I would like to thank the city of Wilhelmshaven and in particular the Economic Development Board for their support.”

The expansion of the Wilhelmshaven factory is the latest in a series of developments at the facility aimed at improving product quality and optimizing manufacturing efficiency. Manufacturing operations at the factory are now aligned with the company-wide Manitowoc Operating System, a standardized manufacturing program applied across Manitowoc’s factories around the world and incorporating lean manufacturing philosophies. At the end of 2013, the facility also introduced a new laser welding system for its boom production line, the first of its kind for the mobile crane industry. 

Manitowoc’s history of crane production in Wilhelmshaven dates back to 1946 and the founding of the Ardelt-Werke facility. It has operated continuously since then, becoming Krupp-Ardelt and then Grove, before Manitowoc’s acquisition of Grove in 2002. Manitowoc is the largest private employer in Wilhelmshaven. 

About The Manitowoc Company, Inc.
The Manitowoc Company, Inc. (“Manitowoc”) was founded in 1902 and has over a 116-year tradition of providing high-quality, customer-focused products and support services to its markets and its 2018 net sales were approximately $1.8 billion. Manitowoc is one of the world's leading providers of engineered lifting solutions. Manitowoc, through its wholly-owned subsidiaries, designs, manufactures, markets, and supports comprehensive product lines of mobile telescopic cranes, tower cranes, lattice-boom crawler cranes, and boom trucks under the Grove, Manitowoc, National Crane, Potain, Shuttlelift and Manitowoc Crane Care brand names.
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