25 years of Wirthwein in Nauen

Colorful family party celebrated with numerous highlights. The site employs 130 people.

Nauen. On September 10, Wirthwein Nauen GmbH & Co. KG invited all employees including family, customers and suppliers as well as numerous guests of honor to a colorful family celebration. The company's long-serving employees were also honored for 10, 20 and even 25 years of service. In a moving speech, plant manager Garri Genrich looked back on the interesting beginnings of the site, and board member Holm Riepenhausen reported on the current global economic situation, before concluding with positive expectations for the future at the Nauen site.

The roots of today's site in Nauen with around 130 employees lie in Chinese Manchuria. Company owner Udo Wirthwein traveled to China in the mid-1990s with a business delegation and spoke to Brandenburg's Economics Minister Walter Hirche one evening in a modest "House of the People" about the futile efforts to make contact with BSH Bosch und Siemens Hausgeräte GmbH in Berlin. The minister assures Wirthwein that he will support him in his "entry efforts". And indeed: shortly afterwards, the entrepreneur from the Tauber Valley was invited to the corporate headquarters of the global player in Munich for talks. BSH operates a factory for the production of tumble dryers in the town of Nauen in Havelland, and another for washing machines was to be built. Wirthwein and BSH Bosch und Siemens Hausgeräte GmbH signed a "Letter of Intent" on future cooperation.

The most important agreement was that Wirthwein would build a site in Nauen, "fence to fence", so to speak, with the factories of the major customer. The preparatory construction work will be supervised from the existing site in Brandenburg an der Havel, and the schedule is extremely ambitious: In August 1995, ground was broken for the largest construction project in Wirthwein's company history up to that time. On January 26, 1996, the topping-out ceremony was celebrated at minus 15° Celsius. The first injection molding machine was delivered on March 7, and series production started in August 1996. The plastic components to be manufactured, lye containers for washing machines, the production and delivery processes represented a quantum leap in the company's history to date.


Wirthwein Nauen is the root of the successful development of the Home Appliances Business Unit

As soon as the construction workers had left, work began on the future of the site and the Household Appliances business unit. The customer presented the new "Euro-Washer" washing machine generation. Wirthwein received the major order for the production concept of lye tanks for the customer's sites in Berlin and in Łódź, Poland, where shop-in-shop production has been taking place in the customer's building since 1998. The new Polish colleagues learned their "trade from scratch" in Nauen. Even when, as a result of further major orders, the company set up its own production facility in Łódź in 2005, the people from Nauen were on hand to offer advice and support. Even today, the exchange between the two locations is very close and many friendships are cultivated. As plant manager Garri Genrich emphasized in his speech, the Nauen colleagues were also involved in other activities around the world - whether in setting up the subsidiaries in New Bern in the US state of North Carolina or in Kunshan in China. Genrich was particularly proud that many key positions in the company are now occupied by former trainees who have acquired good qualifications, for example, through such experiences abroad, and who bring with them the appropriate entrepreneurial spirit.


Second pillar automotive industry

One of the secrets of the Wirthwein Group's success lies in its efforts to diversify. Thus, in addition to the good cooperation with the household appliance customer, it was also necessary to put out feelers for further business partners at the Nauen location. One of the first customers was the then Daimler Chrysler AG, for which large-area visible parts were produced from the beginning of the 2000s. The specifications and requirements of the automotive industry placed completely new demands on the employees, but these were mastered with success, as underscored, for example, by the company's inclusion in the Volkswagen Group's pool of suppliers. Today, Wirthwein in Nauen is a supplier to numerous well-known automotive manufacturers and has made a name for itself in particular in the production and fully automated foaming of aggregate carriers, a complex plastic part that is installed in car doors. The site also specializes in the production of complex components with sophisticated injection molding expertise, such as engine compartment covers using the multi-component molding process. Plant manager Garri Genrich is positive about the future of the site, as some interesting customer projects with a lot of potential have been won. But also for the next 25 years, the employees will make the difference every day: Automation of production and logistics processes must be adapted to market developments, increasing quality requirements and the challenges of the global economy must always be kept in mind.


25 years of Wirthwein in Nauen - big family party

An attractive program was offered at the anniversary celebration in mid-September. Starting with coffee and cake, the guests could join one of the guided tours through the production with Andreas Kontschack and Florian Lehmann. A slide show showed the milestones of the last 25 years, for the children there was a bouncy castle, a make-up stand, as well as a play street of the TSV Falkensee. The Börnicke fire department had all kinds of technical equipment with them; in a demonstration exercise, a vehicle was taken apart using scissors and spreaders, and curious employees were allowed to lend a hand themselves and test their strength. One of the program highlights was the honoring of the company's long-serving employees for 10, 20 and even 25 years of loyalty to the company. Three different themed buffets for dinner offered specialties from the "Mediterranean", "Brandenburg" and "Bavaria". As darkness fell, the dancers and gymnasts of TSV Falkensee demonstrated their skills before a DJ brought the evening to a relaxed close for all guests with music and dancing. A final thank you goes to all employees for organizing the 25th anniversary party, namely Julia Koser, Andreas Kontschack, Martin Kwast, Jörg Hampel, Mathias Kurtz, Christian Kislat, Karl-Heinz Klose, Silvia Köppen, the site's three trainees and plant manager Garri Genrich.


The honored long-serving employees

For 10 years: Marcus Seidel
For 20 years: Carina Müller, Thomas Fichtel, Martin Kwast and Rene Mischke
For 25 years: Michael Körwitz, Bärbel Beithan, Karsten Neumann, Sabine Perschall and Liane Weinert

Anniversary honors, from left: Plant Manager Garri Genrich, Liane Weinert, Bärbel Beithan, Karsten Neumann, Martin Kwast, Marcus Seidel and CTO Holm Riepenhausen.

Andreas Kontschack (left in the picture) and Florian Lehmann gave the guests a tour of the production facility. A machine was used to produce live plastic cups for visitors to take home. These sold like hot cakes and were a great idea as a guest gift.

The children's make-up stand and the bouncy castle were much in demand among the young visitors.

"Where brute forces rule sensibly" - this modified German saying is a good way to describe the interaction of firefighting equipment in the event of an accident. During a demonstration exercise, interested employees were able to try out for themselves the performance of the fire department in an honorary capacity.

On the company premises, the numerous helpers created an inviting ambience that invited good conversation.

Board member Holm Riepenhausen (right) conveyed the best congratulations of the Wirthwein family and the entire board team, plant manager Garri Genrich looked back on the past 25 years of company history in his celebratory speech.

There has probably never been so much grace on the company premises in front of the Wirthwein logo: the gymnasts and dancers of TSV Falkensee showed all their skills in an impressive show performance. Live and up close, it was easy to see the high athletic performance behind the graceful smiling faces.