WITT celebrated its 125th company anniversary with business friends and
partners. The outdoor celebration, which was held at the company premises
spanned three days of beautiful weather (September 23-25, 2021), and provided
opportunities for attendees to catch up and celebrate after a long absence caused
by the coronavirus pandemic while also observing necessary safety precautions
“We would like to thank all of our guests for their visit!” said managing directors, Monika Witt and Florian Weber. “We would also like to express our gratitude once again for the many gifts and for the donations supporting flood victims.”
“Thanks to all who sent us congratulations for our anniversary, especially for the personal and individual video messages. Everyone involved in the celebrations helped make this event an unforgettable experience. We are very proud of the enthusiasm and support expressed in so many ways by our friends, business partners and, not least, our employees and their families. It is this mutual trust and partnership that we value most.”
In the fall of 1896, Theodor Witt, a native of Holstein, acquired a steam engine factory in Aachen that was up for sale and founded WITT Maschinenfabrik for the construction of refrigeration machines and plants, after the development of artificial ice production had replaced the ice harvesting that had been common until then two decades earlier.
Despite the politically volatile times, Theodor Witt ensured the survival of the company and dealt with topics that are still or again of interest today.
He was one of the first inventors to build a usable refrigerant pump and was already interested to use canned hermetic motors for operation of the pumps. His attempt to build an oil-free compressor failed due to the non-availability of suitable materials.
He was already trying to use water as a refrigerant at that time by building an apparatus for vacuum ice generation. Furthermore he patented the combination of low-pressure separators with his invented high-pressure float regulator for the naturally occurring refrigerant ammonia - a technique that has prevailed in industrial refrigeration until today.
After World War 1, the company flourished because of its fully automatic refrigeration systems, which were in particular demanded from breweries.
Theodor's son, Hans Witt, joined his father in 1924 and in turn developed components for the refrigeration industry, such as a nearly-oil-free compressors with a gas-tight welded housing. In 1933, Hans Witt took over the management and expanded the business to include commercial refrigeration equipment. The company also developed refrigeration systems for low temperatures important for war research during this time, and since refrigeration was necessary to supply food to the troops, employees did not need to service in the war. Hans Witt led the company well through the turmoil of war, but towards the end of the second worly war the company site was finally completely destroyed on April 11, 1944.
Hans Witt did not give up his inheritance and moved his entire staff including families to Illertissen in Bavaria, where production was continued on a provisionary basis in the adjoining rooms of the Gebr. Plersch refrigeration machine factory. Shortly after the Second World War, Hans returned with his company to Aachen and, after a short transitional production period in provisionary rooms, rebuilt the new plant at the old location in the south of Aachen. With the newly built fabrication site, Hans Witt led the company into a continuous upswing.
After studying in Aachen and obtaining his diploma in Karlsruhe, his son, Günter Witt, joined the company in 1960 and ensured the continuation of the family tradition. As an enthusiastic design engineer, he not only further developed the refrigeration components, but also ensured rational production in his own factory by designing tools and assembly aids. When he took over the management of the company in 1965, he also wanted to make the administration simpler and faster. For this purpose, Günter made use of IT at this early stage. The proximity to the University of Applied Sciences in Aachen, whose training courses and computers he was allowed to use at the time, were a great help. With his own software, he laid out entire refrigeration plants, created preconfigured quotations with easy to fill-in texts, and simplified payroll accounting.
In 1965, WITT finally launched its first hermetic refrigerant pump with canned motor type SP. However, the SP did not remain on the market for long, since refrigeration systems had too much contamination at the time and this resulted in motor cooling problems.
From Günter's point of view, the GP pump series with standardized, air-cooled flange motors, represented the better solution from a refrigeration point of view.
In the middle of the sixties, the sale of the self-developed refrigeration components was started after the company Linde, actually a competitor on the industrial refrigeration market at that time, had shown interest. At that time, commercial refrigeration had already been given up in order to concentrate only on industrial refrigeration.
The further development of compressors was also continued with great competence and the NC compressor series, which is still appreciated by many customers today, was worked on. These compressors can still be found operating at customer’s sites and they are still supplied with spare parts today.
Together with a fan manufacturer, Günter introduced a very energy-saving and quiet evaporative condenser with axial fans to the market. Customers were enthusiastic about the technology, but the higher price was not accepted and the product was given up again.
One of Günter's main developments was the construction of ice water systems, which made it possible to store cold in an uncomplicated way. In the 70's and 80's at least 1/3 of the German dairies and numerous breweries were equipped with a WITT ice water plant.
This growth led to a higher demand for space and finally to the relocation of the company in 1984 to its present location in Aachen, near the Tivoli/CHIO site.
In 1994, due to a short term ban of flanged refrigerant pumps, the hermetic pump type HRP was introduced to the market. Even though the ban was ceded by the courts, the predominance of hermetic pumps in Europe could not be stopped.
Today, the company is managed in the fourth generation by Günter's daughter Monika Witt and his nephew Florian Weber, both of whom have been active there for more than 25 years.
Today, the main focus of TH. WITT is the production of high-quality refrigeration components, mainly for the international market. With approximately 120 employees, WITT's expertise supports a network of 36 representatives and countless customers around the globe.
The construction of complete refrigeration plants,
which was always limited to Germany and neighboring countries, was abandoned
more than 10 years ago in order to concentrate more on the component business.
The consideration of special customer concerns and the increasing safety and
documentation obligations in refrigeration plant contracting made it necessary
to focus and specialize more on the core business.
In addition to the proven high-pressure float regulators and refrigerant pumps, which have been manufactured at WITT from the very beginning, complete, prefabricated pressure vessel units are in high demand among customers. Especially compact solutions with fully welded or gasketed plate heat exchangers are offered, the latter are even available from stock at WITT. The pump stations for NH3 and CO2, which are prefabricated and tested at the Aachen plant, reduce the planning effort and the installation time on site for our customers.
From the design to the well-thought-out construction to the manufacturing and assembly, the customer is supplied with units that only need to be connected with a few pipes on site.
Demand for industrial refrigeration products has been very high during the pandemic or may be because of it, because after all, our food depends on refrigeration just as much as products from the pharmaceutical industry.
From the very beginning, WITT has preferred and promoted the use of so-called "natural" refrigerants such as ammonia and carbon dioxide. These substances are usually produced synthetically, but occur in nature in this form and therefore have no major impact on the environment. The interest of customers in ecologically harmless systems combined with high economic efficiency has always been served and implemented at WITT. Economically, WITT is therefore in a very good position in its anniversary year and has recorded the highest turnover in the company's history in the past business year. Therefore, WITT has every reason to celebrate the 125th company anniversary with all customers, suppliers and employees involved.
WITT sales kicked off the company’s 125th anniversary celebration to welcome participating WITT distributors on September 23, 2021.
The special, day-long meeting included updates on current affairs, news from WITT’s management team, and updates on distribution supply chains in all of WITT’s sales regions. The day of presentations was concluded with a dinner in relaxed atmosphere.
Attendees included distributors from BeNeLux, France, Spain and Portugal, Poland, the Czech Republic, Turkey and even India.
Longtime partners, customers and friends joined WITT employees on Friday, September 24, 2021, to continue the company’s three-day anniversary celebration with a party in WITT’s redesigned outdoor green spaces and parking area.
Guests signed up for factory tours and got a firsthand look at WITT’s production workshops while celebrating with food, drinks and music in the open pavilion.
Managing Director Monika Witt started the day with a welcome speech thanking all of WITT’s guests and commemorating the company’s 125-year milestone.
“It was a festive day, and we were all very happy to meet up personally to exchange updates and enjoy some time together after such a long period of social absence,” said Witt. “The factory tours were well received. After a short safety briefing and with sufficient time lag, smaller groups were taken on the specially prepared 30-minute factory tour of the WITT workshops.”