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16. Mai 2022

Actions speak louder than words

Interview with Maik Schlapmann and Tobias Wilming, XERVON Wind's managing directors

XERVON Wind has been offering highly specialised services for the wind energy sector since the middle of 2021. The range of services delivered by this newly founded firm is complex; its market pretty unique. In a recent interview, Maik Schlapmann and Tobias Wilming, XERVON Wind’s managing directors, talked about the company’s first successes, their strategic initiatives for the future and the link between wind turbines and Industry 4.0.

Mr Schlapmann and Mr Wilming, XERVON Wind has been around for just six months. Is it really possible to talk about successes after such a short period of time?

Maik Schlapmann: For sure. It’s been full steam ahead for us right from the start. We had the company up and running in no time at all and our staff were out and about over the following months. Our first projects came in just a few days after we officially opened our doors – projects that included working at offshore wind farms in the North Sea as well as servicing onshore wind turbines. At the same time, we had our sights on the coming year and began preparing for 2022 – something that has further strengthened our current position.

And what exactly were these preparations?

Tobias Wilming: For example, building up a qualified team of experienced service engineers. XERVON Wind began with a small number of skilled operatives and we were able to steadily grow our workforce throughout the second half of last year. Our company had 70 employees by the end of 2021. We could have taken on more staff but we just didn’t have the space. We’ve now found a new business premises in Lingen. We moved there at the beginning of this year and now have the capacities to further grow our business.

Maik Schlapmann (l.) and Tobias Wilming, managing directors of XERVON Wind

Was there one project in 2021 that you would describe as being a key milestone?

Maik Schlapmann: Yes, there was. XERVON Wind succeeded in being accredited by two of the largest wind turbine manufacturers within just five months. That truly is an incredible performance for a newcomer – especially the tight time frame. Such accreditations normally last much longer as the manufacturers are very exacting.

Tobias Wilming: The certification process involves stringent requirements and a heavy workload. You need to provide proof of your employees’ various qualifications, a quality management system has to be put in place and much, much more. It is extraordinary that we managed to do all the work so quickly. It was a team effort and something we can be very proud of.

Talking about newcomers. The market hadn’t been waiting around for XERVON Wind to come along. You have to compete with others and are still building up your business. And you must prove yourselves at the same time. What’s the best way to do this?

Maik Schlapmann: The size of a company and its existing structures are not everything in our business. The wind energy sector has so many different facets – from large wind farms at sea to small local community wind farms on land. Being flexible is key if you want to succeed in this industry. You have to be prepared and be able to enter into partnerships with wind farm operators of all sizes and treat them all equally no matter how large or small they may be.

Tobias Wilming: Other things that are important include being reliable, demanding very high quality results of your own work and being innovative – something that also involves the subject of Industry 4.0 nowadays. This is precisely what XERVON Wind offers and it is this proposition that will help us to succeed on the market.

‘Industry 4.0’ – that sounds like digitisation and industrial production.

Maik Schlapmann: That’s exactly what it is. The world of servicing and maintenance work is changing – and this is true in the wind energy sector as well. Tools such as digitisation, automation, artificial intelligence and data management are becoming more and more important. We want to lead the way here. Optimising processes, driving forward efficiency, making the most of opportunities. This is not just in keeping with the times but also a question of sustainability. Maintaining wind turbines remotely, for example, means more green electricity, and data-driven materials management conserves natural resources. Large wind farms with 10 MW wind turbines can no longer be seen as a simple collection of windmills. These farms are power stations and their requirements are most certainly comparable to those of industrial production plants.

What big challenges are on your radar at the moment?

Tobias Wilming: As far as XERVON Wind’s range of services is concerned, we are currently in the process of strengthening our wind turbine installation activities – in addition to our servicing and maintenance work. At the same time, we are continuing to grow our workforce and drive forward collaboration within the group. Our goal here is to pool our various fields of expertise and benefit from each other’s strengths – something that will benefit our customers of course. We began collaborating with our REMONDIS sister company, Rhenus Logistics, last year. They supply offshore wind farms, taking materials and crews to the platforms, and we’re looking to further intensify this cooperation.

How do you believe it will develop this year? What expectations do you have as far as its operations are concerned?

Maik Schlapmann: 2022 will be our first full year of business and XERVON Wind is in a good position to get its operations well and truly started. Over the next few months, we are intending to significantly expand our onshore maintenance work. What’s more, we also have several large offshore projects in the pipeline that will see our teams of engineers spending long periods of time on a ship at sea. Every project will help us to strengthen our position on the market as actions always speak louder than words. By taking on projects, we can demonstrate how good we are and show the wind farm operators that XERVON Wind is the right partner for them.

Many thanks for taking the time to speak to us. Here’s wishing the company continued success for the future.

Image credits: image 1-2: © XERVON Wind

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