A Visit to the Reformation’s Country of Origin: Wind Power and Extraction Technology

In June of 2017, 21 Russian entrepreneurs qualified at DMAN in Celle as part of the Manager Training Programme. The group also travelled to Magdeburg for some company visits. First, the market leader in the wind power industry, ENERCON Magdeburg, hosted the managers. In production they were able to see for themselves that there is a very high level of vertical integration for this industry (over 80 percent in-house). All of the main components required to build the wind power systems – including ring generators, power inverters, rotary blades, cast components, towers and machine houses – are produced by this German company at their own plants. The guests also learned that a good deal of manual labour is still necessary in the three-shift system, especially when wrapping the copper wire in enormous ring generators. This high degree of vertical integration ensures strict quality control and guarantees independence from suppliers. The backflow of experience from production to product development also lowers the risk of lost knowledge.

The participants admired the unique selling points of the wind power systems: no turbine and everything rotates! The managers also found out about the special shape of the rotary blades, which are equipped with spoilers and can adjust to changes in wind direction. ENERCON produces only on order. “I was very surprised to hear that by the time a system has been completed (i.e. the time from receipt of order to connection to the power grid) it is the official administrative applications concerning the acquisition of expert opinions on the land, the harmonisation of plant and animal life, the foundation, etc. that take the longest,” Pavel Bekesha from Rostov said. Sergey Yemelin used the opportunity to enter into negotiations with ENERCON about creating wind parks in the Russian industrial area of Ulyanovsk – and the German company is now preparing an offer.

During their training, the Russian managers came to realize on multiple occasions that the quality of the results rests definitively on the commitment of the individual employees. So readiness for change must be initiated. Ivan Sakantsev from Yekaterinburg is now also sure that the primary capital German companies have is their staff. He was able to see for himself the good working conditions both at ENERCON and later in the day at FAM Magdeburger Förderanlagen und Baumaschinen GmbH.

At the global machine manufacturer, the managers saw even larger dimensions of the machines. This producer of materials handling systems can look to a proud history stretching back into the nineteenth century. The project manager, Waldemar Wiens, provided detailed insight into the production of bulk materials handling, mining systems, stockyard systems, mineral processing, loading systems, conveying systems and port technology. Engineering and production are from a single source here as well. The main topics that were discussed included cooperation with Russia and the involvement in larger projects in Russia and in CIS. Pavel Nikitinsky from St. Petersburg also received some direct advice on how to get into business. His consultancy would take care of the funds and establish contacts to numerous renowned major customers in Russia.

The group spent a total of three exciting days in Magdeburg – the cradle of the reformation. There was a cultural programme planned on Saturday, with a tour of the city, the “Green Citadel”, and the cathedral. On the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, the Russian guests had a great opportunity to walk in Martin Luther’s footsteps.

By Dr Ronald Pschierer
Deutsche Manager Akademie Niedersachsen (DMAN), Celle