Wirtgen turning 60 – A driver of innovation with rich history

Construction machinery from Windhagen is in use all over the world today. In addition to Wirtgen cold milling machines, which are found on virtually every road rehabilitation job site, the machine manufacturer also produces technologically leading recyclers, soil stabilizers, slipform pavers, and surface miners. Wirtgen’s innovative products and technologies have been shaping road construction for 60 years and today are synonymous with efficient and cost-effective construction methods.

A look back at 660 years of road construction experience

In 1961, Reinhard Wirtgen started out with a trucking company for road construction materials. Through innovative machine developments, bold ideas, and a visionary approach, he built Wirtgen into an internationally renowned construction machinery specialist. What makes this truly notable is that his own experience as a service provider in road construction helped shape a corporate culture that lives and breathes closeness to the customer. Today, the company forms a central pillar of the Wirtgen Group. Each of the product brands with their own unique history – Wirtgen (founded in 1961), Vögele (founded in 1836), Hamm (founded in 1878), Kleemann (founded in 1857), and Benninghoven (founded in 1909) – has made a significant impact on and advanced the application processes in their field.

All in all, the Wirtgen Group stands for 660 years of experience in road construction. Five brand headquarters in Germany, international production facilities in Brazil, China, and India, numerous sales and service companies, and a close-knit dealer network ensure that the group’s premium products and cutting-edge technologies are used in every market worldwide. “Close to our customers” is the value proposition of the entire group of companies today.  Since 2017, this engine driving innovation in the industry has been a strong part of the John Deere Group.

Wirtgen’s cold milling process

In the early 1970s, Wirtgen developed hot milling, a new process that for the first time made it possible to remove asphalt over large areas. The next milestone followed in 1979, when Wirtgen once again revolutionized road construction with the development of the cold milling machine. The first cold milling machine was a rear loader with a hydraulic milling drum drive. The SF 3800 C was capable of milling up concrete, asphalt, and gravel of varying depths without having to significantly heat the sub-base. This not only increased the milling depth and allowed the machine to work faster, but also saved energy. Over time, the company has continued to use its expertise in cold milling technology to set new standards.

The F Series of large milling machines

The current milestone in cold milling technology is the company’s F series of large milling machines. With this range of high-performance machines, Wirtgen is setting new standards in terms of efficiency and resource friendliness, as well as in the digital documentation and evaluation of milling job sites. As was the case when Wirtgen made the revolutionary switch from hot milling to cold milling in the 1970s, the company is once again taking a major evolutionary step in road construction.

In the new F series, Wirtgen has implemented the first intelligent machine concept that is capable of autonomously meeting the operator’s performance and quality requirements in the best possible way. In automatic mode, Mill Assist selects the operating strategy with the ideal balance between milling performance and operating costs and responds intelligently and dynamically to changing conditions. This significantly reduces diesel, water, and pick consumption as well as carbon and noise emissions.

The F series with Mill Assist is the groundbreaking answer to the questions of the future, since sustainability and environmental protection are becoming increasingly important parts of RFPs.

Another of the company’s innovations is the digital documentation and evaluation of milling job sites. This was only made possible thanks to the development of the Wirtgen Performance Tracker, which precisely measures the area milled, the milling volume, and all of the consumption data. These parameters are displayed in real time to the milling machine operator on the operator’s platform. Immediately after the completion of a milling job, all of this data is documented in an automatically generated report and sent by email to the machine owner. The efficiency assessment is also a valuable tool for the operator in order to help them use the machine even more efficiently and further reduce diesel consumption and pick wear during the next job, for example.

Key Wirtgen Technologies

In order for the cold milling machine to remove pavement with precision and efficiency, it is essential that the drum, pick holder, and pick work together perfectly. This is the company from Windhagen’s specialty, and cutting technology is one of its key technologies. As the market leader, Wirtgen continuously makes advancements to these cutting technology components. When doing so, the company particularly incorporates practical experience and feedback from its customers into the process. The company’s internally developed and perfectly compatible high-performance cutting systems play a decisive role in Wirtgen cold milling machines’ outstanding machine productivity.