• News
  • Ask the Experts
  • Exclusive Articles
  • Wind

A head for heights and a nose for business

As the Managing Director of world-renowned ladder manufacturer Hailo, Winfried Czilwa has a knack for spotting commercial opportunities in a diverse range of business sectors. Here, he talks to PES about the company’s operations in the wind power arena.

PES: Welcome to PES magazine. Can you begin by giving us an overview of your company and explain how you serve the wind industry?
Winfried Czilwa: Hailo has more than 60 years’ experience in the ladder industry. Our prime focuses are ladders and containers for collecting waste, from private through to industrial purposes. While the company initially concentrated on household ladders and ladders for craftsmen, today Hailo earns much of its sales in the wind industry, where Hailo is a full-range supplier for all tower interior fittings.

PES: How does ladder technology for the wind industry compare to the technology for structural engineering?
WC: We should talk about climbing technology, because there are several products like fall arrest systems, service lifts and the ladder itself, which makes climbing technology quite complex. This is the reason why our technology is supplementary to structural engineering.

PES: Do you provide your clients with made-to-measure systems, and if so, what are the typical challenges you face in this regard?
WC: Our clients have to differentiate themselves vis-à-vis their competitors through providing varied solutions. Therefore we also have to offer our clients made-to-measure systems. Here our aim is to provide high-quality systems at a competitive price. But even more important are innovative solutions in the area of local content and quick delivery.

PES: At what stage of a wind farm’s development does your company get involved? And similarly, do you offer a retro-fit service?
WC: We are often both partners of wind energy plant manufacturers and the plant operators. The operators frequently only discover later that a service lift in the tower considerably improves the efficiency of the plant. When plants are installed cost considerations often dictate that lifts are initially not included, so we offer retro-fit solutions to enable lifts to be fitted at a later stage. We have already successfully implemented such solutions in numerous wind farms in different countries.

PES: Safety must be one of your primary concerns – can you explain a little about the steps you take to ensure this?
WC: Since we completely manufacture our ladders ourselves at Hailo, safety is already factored into our products through choice of material and by monitoring production. For us simply complying with norms and standards is not enough: we repeatedly subject our ladders to tests, in order to ensure the highest safety level. And when it comes to changes in standards we are always the first to offer a solution, because this is where we can fall back on our experience from 15 years serving the wind power industry.


To read the full content,
please download the PDF below.