Technology change has prompted Swiss composites specialist Gurit to shut down a plant making prepregs for wind turbine rotor blades in the UK and concentrate production at another site in Albacete, Spain.
Closure of the English plant in Newport, Isle of Wight, with a loss of about 70 jobs, and transfer of the work to Spain reflects a change in blade production from pre-impregnated fibre use to infusion technology over the past 10 years, according to the company.
Consolidation, designed to tackle under used prepreg manufacturing capacity at the two European plants will cost Wattwil, Switzerland-based Gurit €3.4m overall. The move is due to be completed by summer next year, the firm announced.
The UK cutback and transfer of work will lead to the creation of an unspecified number of jobs at Albacete. There will be no reduction in the group’s total prepreg manufacturing volume, Gurit said.
The company has already closed underutilised prepreg production plants in China and Canada in recent years. In Europe, the company is reacting to the wind power market decline and overall demand for marine, industrial and automotive prepregs.
Restructuring in the UK will leave Gurit with its formulated products and automotive components technology centre still operating in Newport after 2018 with a residual workforce of around 230.
The group intends to maintain its technology activity for prepreg and formulated business in England and continue investing in the technology centre to maintain its leading technical and know-how position.
Gurit still operates two other plants in Europe making prepreg products specialising in the aerospace sector in Kassel, Germany and Zullwil in Switzerland.