7 September 2021
Interview with Mitja Schulz, CEO of Gurit
We sat down with Mitja Schulz, Gurit CEO, to discuss their role as a system partner for turbine blade manufacturers, and as a leading mould-maker worldwide.
Can you tell our readers a little about your organisation? (General history in Europe, countries in which you are active, specific projects you are involved in, industry players you have worked with, etc.)
Gurit is a system partner for wind turbine blade makers globally. With our unique offerings and in-depth understanding of the value chain we help to increase wind energy competitiveness and promote its sustainable growth.
Gurit serves wind turbine blade manufacturers with a complete offering: from manufacturing solutions (i.e. the design, production and supply of wind turbine blade moulds and related equipment, as well as full industry 4.0 digital automation solutions), to the development, production and supply of advanced composite materials such as structural foams made from recycled post-consumer plastics waste, adhesives, as well as core kitting services and technical support and solutions for the repair of installed wind blades. Beyond the wind turbine industry, Gurit also serves the aerospace industry and many other lightweighting markets where the properties of advanced composites enable innovation, great design and fuel savings, such as the marine industry, building and construction, rail, healthcare and many more.
Gurit has about 3,000 employees worldwide, including offices and manufacturing sites in Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, Ecuador, Germany, India, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States. Gurit was founded in Switzerland in 1835 as a textile business, with the founder’s family still being a major shareholder today. Gurit is listed on the Swiss stock exchange.
What are the most exciting developments you have seen in the wind industry?
We are excited about the ever-increasing efficiency of wind turbines, and the amazing growth of both on- and offshore wind markets over the past decade. This provides us with great opportunities to offer comprehensive innovative solutions reducing cycle times and related cost-savings in the production processes. New engineering concepts, improved automation in manufacturing, and lighter materials have all contributed to the industry’s ongoing success, and we are pleased to become an increasingly important contributor to some of these innovation trends.
What changes would you like to see in the wind industry?
It is our hope that the industry as a whole strives to find environmentally and economically sustainable end-of-life solutions for wind turbine blades. Partnerships between mould, materials, and tooling providers such as Gurit, along with OEMs and end users must be strengthened to focus on this as a priority. The early engagement of key suppliers in the product development of wind turbines, as the automotive industry has been doing for many decades, should be intensified.
Going forward, what role do you see your organisation playing in the future development of wind energy?
As a full service provider to this global industry, Gurit is poised to provide a wide range of resources to the future of wind energy. We continue to improve all aspects of our business, from our position as the largest independent, fully integrated and highly specialised mould maker worldwide, our global core kitting footprint, as well as the development of new materials to speed up blade repair in the field and reduce turbine downtime.
We will continue to expand our ability to offer OEMs localised production and kitting facilities, decreasing transit time and allowing us to be nimble in responding to our customers’ needs.
How has WindEurope membership benefited your organisation?
We appreciate the access to market intelligence, the opportunity to engage with other stakeholders, develop new partnerships and join Working Groups to collaborate on the industry’s future challenges.
If we look ten years ahead, what do you hope to have achieved?
We anticipate that in ten years, Gurit will continue to be seen as a leading solution provider to the wind turbine blade industry for mould making, renowned for its excellence in automation solutions, advanced composites and core kitting services as a result of our constant innovation and enduring commitment to our customers’ success. By then we also expect to have achieved our goal for climate neutrality and other sustainability targets.
Find out more about Gurit