Bergolin: From traditional company to international innovation driver – 20 years of know-how, market-leading on-site technical service and high-quality coating systems that are constantly being advanced
A struggling traditional company and a global pandemic – Dr. Matthias Otting’s start as Managing Director of Bergolin GmbH & Co. KG in February 2020 could hardly have been more challenging. After stints in Beijing, Berlin and Halle (Saale), Matthias Otting’s return marked the beginning of an intense restructuring phase. Meanwhile, Bergolin can report a positive trend in its business figures and will further diversify its business activities in the coming years.
Site productivity doubled in two years
Otting is a man who gets down to business. Within two years, he established a two-pronged production process, thus doubling site productivity. “Tasks have been focussed, handovers have been standardized, and today every employee has clearly defined fields of activity for which he or she is a specialist,” says Otting, outlining the internal development steps. “We promoted young, motivated employees to middle management in order to provide a platform for innovative ideas from the company’s workforce.” This way, the excellent knowledge about processes and raw material from over 20 years of industry experience was kept within the company. This development step was accompanied by an application-specific recruiting program that purposefully brought international specialists into the team. With the help of sales specialists for North America and China as well as laboratory technicians from India, who are familiar with the drastically changing weather conditions of their region, Bergolin is able to offer production-optimized coating systems for all regions of the world.
Thinking wind power internationally
Otting plans to internationalize the company in the coming years. “Bergolin is a company that owns profound know-how in the field of coating systems. The products are of first-class quality, and Bergolin’s customers confirm this time and again.” For Otting, these are the best prerequisites for success on the international stage.
The fact that wind power is not a European issue has become clear over the last ten years. New players from India, China, North Africa and the USA have sought their place in the global market. For Matthias Otting, it is therefore important to establish the Bergolin brand with an international self-image: “We can’t be the traditional company for another 100 years that coats every rotor blade only between the two rivers Elbe and Weser. Portugal and Spain are also extremely important regions, but growth is taking place elsewhere. And that’s exactly where Bergolin is already on site.
70 percent export share
Bergolin currently exports over 70 percent of the products to the largest growth markets in the wind power industry. Projects in Spain, Portugal, Brazil,Morocco, Mexico and Turkey have already been successfully implemented with coating systems from Northern Germany. For Otting, the decisive factor in this development was proactive proximity to the customers: “We visited our customers and asked them quite directly what they needed from us to solve their problems.” Talking with the customers, it has turned out that Bergolin most effectively applies the longtime knowledge about raw material on site, helping to develop complete solutions optimized for each customer’s application. Today, Bergolin’s technical customer service ranks among the best in the industry and is popular among power plant manufacturers because of its strong process knowledge.
On site in China, Germany, India, Poland and the USA
In order to serve the needs of international customers even better, in 2022 Bergolin has opened additional sales offices in China, India and the USA, in addition to the branches in Germany and Poland. The commercial orientations of the branch offices are clearly defined: In the Indian market, Bergolin primarily wants to advise OEMs and their suppliers on production and accompany the implementation process of new construction projects from the very beginning. The North American market, on the other hand, is expected to benefit from aftersales offerings, as a robust wind power industry has already established itself there. “In America, Bergolin products are already in high demand and our customers appreciate the high quality as well as the application-friendliness. Thus, it was important to adapt our logistics the needs of each market: short delivery times, full availability and first-class local advice,” says Otting, summarizing his corporate strategy.
Market leader in technical services
In the Indian market, the needs are different. India is one of the fastest growing markets in the wind power industry and many OEMs have already relocated a substantial part of their production to this region. However, the expertise for the production process was still concentrated in Western Europe in recent years. In order to be able to fully support the planning phase and the production process, Bergolin has a team of application engineers on site and can immediately develop the appropriate finish for the application at hand.
Short delivery times
According to Otting, this is the great strength of his team: “With over 20 years of experience in the application of coating systems, Bergolin has unique process knowledge from which new and established players in the wind power industry benefit equivalently. In terms of technical customer service, we lead the market.” With delivery times of one week at maximum for standard products such as the solvent-free Steodur PUR Gelcoat 6D970-3, Bergolin can contribute to the production process extremely quickly and get the plant ready for the next steps. Delivery times in particular are a major challenge in the current raw materials market, which is why foresight and process knowledge are essential in order to be able to supply the right product for every case.
Process-optimized coating systems
Bergolin’s new self-image is to constantly challenge the market standard of coating systems and to question ingrained production processes with new products. “In this way, Bergolin helps its customers to achieve their economic goals with more entrepreneurial freedom,” summarizes Otting.
Bergolin offers its customers process-optimization on site, short downtime and market-leading corrosion protection – for example with Bergolin Leading Edge Protection LEP 6D2900. With two applications and a pot life of 15 minutes each, it is possible to reduce rotor blade maintenance downtimes to a total of 90 minutes per blade.
Into the future with wind power, composites and industrial applications
Matthias Otting, who holds a doctorate in chemistry, wants to keep the traditional company from Lower Saxony on a growth trajectory in the future as well: “In the next five years, Bergolin will develop three strong business areas. For the wind power industry, we are already a full-range supplier and can support our customers throughout the entire process. In the future, we would like to develop a similarly strong portfolio for the coating of composites and industrial applications.” According to Otting, this expansion of the product range should also be reflected in the business results.
Coating solutions for the entire wind turbine
Especially for applications in the wind power industry, development in Osterholz-Scharmbeck is clearly focused on coating solutions for the entire wind power plant – from the tower to the nacelle to the rotor blade. “Bergolin basically masters all substrates. That means we can coat mineral building materials such as the concrete for the tower, metallic components made of steel as in the case of the generators, as well as composites such as GRP in the case of the rotor blades.” In the future, turbine manufacturers will be able to order coating systems from Bergolin for all components as a package, thus obtaining a complete solution from a single source.
Research and development in the field of sustainable binders
For the development of new innovative coating systems, Bergolin benefits from the synergy potential of the company’s founding family Schlicht. Robert Kraemer GmbH from Rastede, a manufacturer of binders and solvents based on renewable raw materials, is a particularly promising cooperation partner. Together with Robert Kraemer GmbH, Bergolin is in a position to develop sustainable binders that are suitable for specific needs. “In 2020, Robert Kraemer has built a state-of-the-art production facility where we are already conducting the first series of tests for solvent-free rosin-based wind power products such as gelcoats, putty and our Leading Edge Protection,” explains Otting, adding, “The properties and performance of rosin resins are absolutely comparable to conventional binders, but have the decisive advantage that the extraction of the resins even has a negative carbon footprint. Bergolin and Robert Kraemer are thus pioneering the transformation of our industry towards a greener chemistry.”
With two decades of expertise, market-leading customer service on site and a long-term vision of how to shape tomorrow’s wind power industry, Bergolin will continue to supply customers around the world with high-quality coating systems in the years to com
Bergolin GmbH & Co. KG
Bergolin GmbH & Co. KG was founded in 1909 and is a globally active company with headquarters in Germany. The company specializes in the development and manufacturing of high-quality individual coating systems and has a large product range for a wide variety of applications in the field of rotor blade production and maintenance. Bergolin has more than 20 years of experience in the repair and development of rotor blade coatings and offers the right system for every requirement, from gelcoat to leading edge protection. With over 100,000 coated examples for various OEMs, we are one of the world’s most important suppliers in this market segment.
Our customers appreciate the partnership like cooperation with Bergolin. The experts at Bergolin develop solutions together with the customer that are precisely tailored to individual requirements and processes. Customers benefit from optimized processes and longer service lives. With its subsidiaries in Poland, China, India and the USA, as well as a worldwide network of cooperation partners, Bergolin offers a high quality of service close to the customer. For more information, visit www.bergolin.com.
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