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Meeting changing needs

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The Wikov brand was established in 1918 as a result of a merger of two companies called Wichterle and Kovářík. “It was a famous company back then,” says Managing Director Antonín Růžička, who joined Wikov in 2002. “In the 1920s it produced beautiful passenger cars, lightweight trucks and buses, and agricultural machinery.”

Since then Wikov has greatly extended its portfolio. Diversity typifies Wikov’s strategy. The company offers a huge range of products across a wide variety of industries. Clients include wind and water energy producers, cement plants and sugar refineries, mining and offshore industries, plastics, rubber and chemical industries, shipbuilders, producers of rail vehicles, construction and agricultural machines.

The company mainly focuses on supplying gearboxes and drivetrains to these clients. For wind turbines, for instance, Wikov makes gearboxes from 1 MW up to 7 MW which have been tested extensively in the field. Compared to other gearboxes, they are very lightweight.

Flexibility is another keyword for Wikov. “The various industries we serve behave very differently,” says Mr. Růžička. “This means that we change our portfolio every two or three years. From 2006 to 2012, for example, we had great successes in the wind industry. That was followed by the oil and gas industries, but because of the low oil and gas prices at the moment, these industries are no longer our major customers, and we are again looking for a new strong market. Industries that are based on cheap oil, like automotive and retail, are doing very well. Waste material treatment is also a good new market for us. So our strategy is to be very flexible, to always be able to change direction and to act on different markets, both from an industrial and geographic point of view.”

To be able to meet ever-changing requirements, Wikov has a strong engineering team that delivers to a very high-quality standard. “Our individual approach to customers and their applications distinguishes us,” concludes Mr. Růžička. “Many other suppliers focus on serial production only. We also supply regular serial products, but in addition we design and make prototypes for various applications, including all the necessary testing.”

Wikov exports more than 75% of its products, mainly to EU countries, but also to Asia and the United States. The company approaches customers mostly directly with its own sales team and attends exhibitions such as Power-Gen Europe and Hannover Messe.

In addition there are representative offices in China, Russia and the US, as well as a network of agencies worldwide that help Wikov service the local markets. Wikov Industry is a holding company with 900 employees, five factories and five subsidiaries, including Wikov Gear, Wikov MGI and Wikov Sázavan.

The fourth subsidiary is ORBITAL2 in the United Kingdom, which designs planetary gearboxes for industrial use and wind turbines. The subsidiary is also used for R&D within the group. The fifth subsidiary and the latest addition to the holding company is Detail Cz.

Wikov acquired Detail Cz in February 2016. It manufactures small precision automotive and construction components. Turnover has increased steadily since the decision in 2003 to establish Wikov Industry as a holding company with the aim to build up a group of companies.

“In 2002 we started with a turnover of twelve million USD. For this year we are expecting 100 million USD,” says Mr. Růžička. For the future Mr. Růžička expects the market to consolidate and the big players to become even bigger. “But there are also opportunities for us to grow,” he adds. “We will be focusing on developing our portfolio. We want to have a great number of combinations of standard components. That will allow us to develop customized solutions based on standard components. This will result in shorter delivery times and more competitive prices.”

In addition Wikov will integrate monitoring and optimization technology in all its drives. “Our WiGuard solution gives more control of and possibilities for perfecting the drives. It anticipates failures and prevents them, thereby eliminating downtimes.”

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