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We interviewed Werner Krömmer, managing director of Gemeinschaft Thermisches Spritzen (GTS), on 25.9.2017 at “Schweißen und Schneiden” (the trade fair for the welding, cutting and joining sectors) in Düsseldorf:

1. The issue of sustainability is very much in the news in Germany. How would you describe the commitment by GTS with regard to sustainability?
Spritzen at present. We’ll soon be 25 years old and we’ve been thinking about how to thank the founding members for their commitment in the initial days and over the years until the present time. We’ve ascertained that we had 100 members in the first 6 years and with a few exceptions they’ve been with us throughout these 25 years. This demonstrates to us that we are offering our members responsible and sustainable membership. We always try to support and address those hot topics that are more difficult for small and medium-sized enterprises to deal with in the community than large manufacturing companies. It’s really nice to see how everyone is pulling together and supporting this large family.

2. What do you think about the job of coater becoming a recognised occupation? For example, coater specialising “thermal spraying”
Coating is now a skilled trade in the electroplating sector. We are talking here about a three-year apprenticeship in Nuremberg and in Schwäbisch Gmünd.

The situation is slightly more complicated with respect to thermal spraying; as there is not such a large market I would consider this to be too specialised at present. The apprenticeship is based on individual modules. This involves sending my employee to an ETS “European Thermal Sprayer” course and I can have him trained in every spray method.

If I then wish my employee to specialise, he will have to complete an additional four-week course as a “spray supervisor”. External trainers with experience in the sector teach the relevant skills in workshops. We’ve now received international accreditation for this course to enable other countries to access these course contents as well. This is a great step forward for the budding thermal sprayer as well as for the Gemeinschaft Thermisches Spritzen.

3. What do you think of the fact that TeroLab Surface GmbH is the first coatings specialist company in the world to receive the B Corp certification?
I wasn’t familiar with the B Corp certification as it originated in the USA. I then researched the topic. Companies apparently want to use the B Corp certification to show that they are committed to sustainability and now intend to develop their businesses to serve the public interest. I must say that a great deal of work is required to obtain this certification. These topics are relevant for all self-respecting German companies. But none of them today really have the courage or recognise the need to aspire to a certificate. I think it’s wonderful that TLS is the first coatings specialist company in the world to promote this issue. And I wonder whether this B Corp certification will gain acceptance in Europe.

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