Germany’s Ruhr Valley is shaped by industrial history, but the Dortmund pump specialist Wilo is committed to the future of the gritty area. Proof comes in the form of a multi-million euro expansion of its headquarters.
“We believe in the strengths of the region,” Oliver Hermes, Wilo’s chief executive officer, told Handelsblatt. “And we are one of the few firms investing in the manufacturing industry.”
Wilo is one of the world’s leading suppliers of high-tech pumping systems, which are needed wherever water is moved. The smallest pump it produces measures just 30 centimeters (12 inches), the largest, used in power plants, 15 meters (almost 50 feet). Customers include heating companies such as Vaillant and Stiebel-Eltron, which use the pumps in their boilers. Most domestic users are unaware that they have Wilo products in their homes.
The company also makes the motors that power the pumps, and as a result is one of the largest producers of electric motors in Europe. Worldwide, the company has more than 7,000 employees in more than 60 production and sales subsidiaries.
Wilo is profiting from major trends such as the migration of people to cities and the rising global demand for water. Its headquarters are being modernized at a cost of €30 million to €50 million ― a lot for the former coal mining region. The building project is expected to be completed by 2020.