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Gurit officially inaugurated its purpose-built production plant in China and production is rolling successfully.
(Published on December 2007 – JEC Magazine #37)
Gurit, a leading developer and manufacturer of high-end composites and technological solutions for applications in the wind energy, transportation, marine, sport and civil engineering markets, officially inaugurated its new purpose-built production facility in China last August 22, in the presence of the local authorities and several customers and suppliers.
Closer to the market
Located in the Yat-Sen Scientific Industrial Park, Wuqing, Tianjin, the new site is the Group’s first production unit in China. Since ground-breaking in late November 2006, the wholly owned subsidiary Gurit (Tianjin) Composite Materials Co., Ltd. was completed well within the targeted time frame and planned budget for building and machinery costs of CHF 18 million. Built in a mere six months, the production facility today comprises a building complex of 10,000 m2. Located on 30,000 m2 of land, Gurit (Tianjin) may thus be expanded further in the years ahead. According to General Manager Phil Harnett, production capacity could even double within the near future; the Chinese wind energy market is expected to show double-digit growth. The People’s Republic of China plans to bring up the installed capacity for wind energy generation from around 1,300 MW today to 30,000 MW by the year 2020.
In Asia – and China in particular – there is a huge and growing demand for locally manufactured advanced composites. As prepreg materials have to be transported and stored in cooling containers, it is important to set up production sites as close to the end users as possible. Many important customers are located in or near Tianjin.
Serving the wind energy industry
At its new production site, Gurit manufactures composite materials for its rapidly growing Chinese and Asian customer base. Currently, the Group employs some 100 people and operates prepreg lines, as well as various expansion ovens and kitting lines for structural foam products. The kitting of structural foam products had started in China already in April and has now been relocated into the Group’s own buildings. An additional 40 people will join Gurit (Tianjin) by the end of the year. When in full use, the site will produce a turnover of about CHF 50 million. The new plant is the Group’s third largest in terms of both size and production capacity.
Most of the locally manufactured products will be delivered to international and local customers in the Asian wind energy market, while smaller volumes may also go into marine and transportation applications. Gurit (Tianjin) also supplies additional materials, such as specially formulated epoxy resins or gelcoats that are manufactured at other production sites.
An international presence
The companies of Gurit Holding AG, Wattwil/Switzerland, specialize in the development and manufacture of high-end composite materials that feature bespoke physical and chemical characteristics.
The comprehensive product range comprises fibre-reinforced prepregs, structural foams, gelcoats, adhesives, resins and consumables, as well as certain finished parts.
JCM: What is driving your politics in China today?
PETER GEORGE: China's tremendous demand for electricity is stimulating the local wind energy industry. According to government policy, China needs to make wind turbines with local materials. As our customers establish manufacturing facilities in China we want to ensure they have a local supply of the materials that have been proven successful globally. We have put in place local availability of prepreg, Corecell, gelcoat and SPRINT and will continue to support our customers growth plans.
JCM: Did you have difficulties to complete this project?
PG: Building a new factory and transferring technically advanced products was not going to be without its challenges but the hard work and dedication of the project team meant that the facility was completed on-time and within budget. The project took exactly 12 months between approval and the official opening ceremony. In that time a 10,000 Sqm purpose-built facility on a greenfield site was erected with manufacturing equipment installed and commissioned, and a high calibre team recruited.
JCM: Do you plan further investment?
PG: The site of 30,000 Sqm has room for further phases of expansion and with the rapid market growth, Gurit have anticipated the need for further investment.
JCM: What is your strategy for Gurit’s development in China and Asia pacific region?
PG: Our Tianjin facility will provide a base to support each of our markets in the region. Our strategy is to grow profitably with our customers, supplying them efficiently, while providing a challenging and harmonious work environment for our employees.
Gurit supplies growth markets in wind energy, transportation (aerospace, automotive, rail) and marine/sports/civil engineering. The international group has production sites and offices in Switzerland, Germany, the UK, Canada, Spain, Denmark, Australia, New Zealand, the USA, India and China.