German Wolff will strip away your floor worriesPublished 22/11, 2019 at 16:50
Based in Ilsfeld, a town in Baden-Würtemberg, the nexus of Germany’s construction equipment industry, Wolff GmbH and Co. KG has been manufacturing machines and tools for floor removal and surface preparation applications for over 60 years. Unlike its many competitors who have outsourced their production to various locations abroad, Wolff has always been loyal to the tried and tested ‘Made in Germany’ formula. Andrei Bushmarin reports.
Surface preparation is no longer just another ‘fancy fad’ as many die hard concrete cutters believed only fifteen years ago. Today it is an established industry with a worldwide reach. Having eventually recognised its immense commercial potential, an increasing number of professional contractors have added floor grinders, polishers, strippers, scarifiers and burnishers to their arsenals. With a 60+ year track record in the trade, Wolff GmbH is a trusted one stop supplier of surface preparation solutions.
The awakening of the wolf
As often the case in this business, Wolff (meaning ‘wolf’ in English) is the family name of the company’s founder Hans Wolff, who established the business on 26 January 1954. Hans had learned the ropes of the profession by working as a mechanic at DLW Flooring GmbH that designed and manufactured floor covering products. When Hans left DLW to pursue his entrepreneurial ambitions, he chose floor removal machinery to be his core business. By 1972 when Wolff GmbH was granted its first patent for floor strippers, it was still a relatively small company with some 20 staff. In 1977-78, its factory in Bietigheim-Bissingen was expanded with the addition of another building. During the 1980s, Wolff’s staff grew to 30 people and its manufacturing capabilities were strengthened with the commissioning of its first CNC centre. In the period from the late 1980s to the early 2000s, the company changed hands a few times until in 2002 Uzin UTZ AG (a floor specialist with a global footprint based in Ulm, Germany) acquired 100% of Wolff’s shares.
International expansion is top priority
In the noughties, Wolff cemented its position in the domestic market and started to make inroads overseas using UTZ’s extensive network. By its 60th anniversary in 2006, Wolff evolved into a mid-sized company with strong engineering and manufacturing competencies. In 2014, the company confirmed its commitment to keeping production at home by moving into a new 7,000m2 facility in Ilsfeld. Out of the 100 personnel it now employs, roughly half are involved in production, with the other half sharing sales and administrative duties. In recent years, an increasing international profile became the number one priority for the German producer, whose turnover reached an impressive €22M last year. Wolff now sells its equipment to some 30 countries worldwide, with North America being the biggest buyer. On the European continent, the Wolff brand is currently best known in the Netherlands, Switzerland and the UK. Thanks to a Europe wide network of service stations, the company is able to provide aftersales and maintenance support in a fast and efficient manner.
‘Oh, those German strippers!’
Floor strippers have been at the core of Wolff’s business since the early 1970s. Accounting today for some 35% of total turnover, the machines keep getting more productive and operator friendly. The latest BiTurbo model, unveiled at Bauma earlier this year, sets a new benchmark for the removal of all kinds of elastic floor coverings, including parquet. Boasting a double self-propulsion function (forwards and backwards), variable speed from 0 to 27m/min, blade adjustment for different types of flooring and easy manoeuvrability, the BiTurbo is designed for high productivity and operating comfort. Unlike the award winning Duro model built around an oscillating principle (which makes the stripper ideal for small to medium sized jobs), the BiTurbo is based on impact technology. It generates 3,000 beats/min ensuring the machine’s high performance on large areas.
Grind like a Neowolff
Concrete grinders and polishers are the second biggest product group in Wolff’s portfolio, accounting for some 20% of turnover. Having diversified into this business about 15 years ago, today Wolff can offer its customers an ample range of grinding and polishing machines, which includes both single head and planetary models. The planetary grinder NEO 230 is the manufacturer’s trademark and best-selling model. Designed for mid to large sized jobs, it allows grinding close to edges. Other highlights include an integrated skirt for dust free operation, angle adjustment of the grinding head in three positions and a height adjustable and folding handle. Tools for processing PVC, linoleum, rubber and textile floor coverings such as cutters, pressure rollers, joint groovers and automatic welding machines constitute Wolff’s third most important product segment. The manufacturer also hinted that there are some more innovations in the pipeline which it plans to unveil at the Domotex trade show in Hanover in January 2020.