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Story 166 – 1952 – Business model Products

Successful intermezzo in construction

The coming and going of WICONA light metal profiles

During the construction boom of the years of the economic miracle, WICONA system profiles made of light metal enjoyed good market success, particularly in the field of window construction. Wieland's decision to part with this product range at a later date is for purely strategic reasons.

It was not a long-planned strategic decision that allowed Wieland to enter the market for construction profiles, but simply a dictate of the hour: After the introduction of the German Mark in June 1948 an upswing began which later went down in history as the economic miracle. An enormous pent-up demand led to an unprecedented boom, not least in the construction sector.

There was a real opportunity to participate in this up-and-coming market with extruded aluminium profiles. The entry was made with profiles for display cases, shop windows and roller shutters as well as with aluminium rain protection rails for wooden windows. In 1952 the WICONA brand (Wieland Construction Elements made of aluminium) was launched. In addition to ingenious system profiles, it also offered freely selectable profiles according to customer requirements, not only for the construction industry but also for the automotive and lift industries.

While the WICONA catalogue in 1958 contained 51 pages, a good two decades later the range already filled a book with 350 pages. In addition to a wide range of accessories, a window system with thermal insulation was then also offered. Nevertheless, Wieland was faced with a difficult decision in the 1980s: Compared to the competition, the company was a relatively small supplier in this sector, so enormous investments would have to be made to gain new market shares. In addition, space in Vöhringen became scarce - also for processing copper materials. And: The mixing of the light metal materials with the non-ferrous and heavy metals was to be avoided at all costs throughout the entire process chain, which could only be guaranteed at enormous expense.

A strategic decision was therefore taken in 1988: The WICONA Building Systems division was outsourced into an independent company, which was sold to the Norwegian company Norsk Hydra a short time later. "A good decision", said Harald Kroener, longstanding Chairman of the Managing Board, "because aluminium found a much better home with the Norwegian group - and at the same time Wieland was able to focus on copper materials and to advance development there".

After all, the new owners built a new aluminium extrusion plant near Vöhringen, took over most of the machines and retained most of the employees of Wieland.

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Wieland Werke AG

Extract Catalogue 1956

By 1956 the WICONA catalogue already included a wide range of products. In addition to standardised system profiles, individual production according to customer requirements was also realised.

Extract catalogue

An early brochure praised WICONA as the "beautiful and constructively simple combination of glass and metal", developed and tested "together with architects and metalworkers".