The various products manufactured by IMO in gremsdorf have so far included simple blade bearings for wind turbines. The wind industry has been under extreme cost pressure worldwide since mid-2017. In the meantime, this has meant that it is no longer possible to cover the costs of producing these simple ball slewing rings in gremsdorf.
In response to a question from the FT, IMO’s managing director erich rub explained on wednesday that IMO will cease production of these sheet bearings in gremsdorf and will be forced to cut 70 of the more than 500 jobs by the end of this year. The workforce has been informed in the past few days, and talks are now being held with the works council, rub announces.
The chinese simply produce these parts cheaper. IMO, rub admits that there is no chance of keeping up with prices for bearings produced in germany. According to a press release from IMO, the cost pressure is not only felt in germany and europe, but also in china and india, which are important markets for the gremsdorf-based company. For example, the wind energy market in india was dead for three quarters of a year, complains rub.
IMO, however, there is also news of a more positive nature. While sales in the wind sector are falling, they are rising in other areas. Rub wants to use his management to detach the company from the fluctuating wind market to a certain extent and focus more strongly on slewing rings for the industrial sector and the slewing drives produced in the gremsdorf industrial park.
The expansion of these two sectors has also made up for the loss of many jobs in the wind industry. Nevertheless, there is a "lack of employment for about 70 people". This affects mainly the manufacturing sector.
According to a press release, the group of companies founded in gremsdorf in 1988 intends to realign itself by the end of this year. In the long term, rub expects wind sales to stabilize again, but at a "lower level than before". The main warehouse, special blade and tower warehouses, and warehouses for spare parts will continue to be produced in gremsdorf.
Branch before the standstill
For industry insiders, the news from the house IMO does not really come as a surprise: "if the market is restricted by the legislator in such a way, then one does not need to be surprised if jobs are lost", says stefan paulus, project developer at the company "wust – wind und sonne" from markt erlbach, which is responsible for the operation of the wind farms in muhlhausen and lonnerstadt, among other things.
He said there was hardly any flat land left to build wind turbines at all. One of the reasons is the "10H-regulation", according to which new wind turbines must have a distance of at least ten times their height from residential buildings. Exceptions had to be anchored in the development plan – and nobody does that: "as soon as there is a bit of opposition from the population, the responsible people in the communities say: ‘then better not.’" there was a kind of pat on the back from the politicians when a municipality decided to do this, because there were no negative consequences: "if they did nothing, nothing would happen to them", says paul.
When a project enters the next phase, new problems arise: "the protection of species is played off against renewable energies and is interpreted much too strictly." instead of looking for solutions for a common existence of wind turbines and protected bird species, projects were cancelled. Nothing is going forward at the moment.
In fact, 91 percent fewer wind turbines were built in bavaria in 2018 in the first half of the year than in the same period in 2017, the bundesverband windenergie (BWE) recently announced.