Wednesday, March 26, 2014

News: Sheffield city region sizes up Siemens supply chain

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The decision by Siemens to invest £160m in wind turbine production and installation facilities in Yorkshire is set to provide a boost for manufacturing and engineering firms in the region.

Alongside Associated British Ports (ABP), the £310m Green Port Hull project involves a construction, assembly and service facility and a new rotor blade manufacturing facility that will create up to 1,000 jobs directly, with additional jobs during construction and indirectly in the supply chain.

Richard Wright, executive director of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, said: "This major investment is good news for the Sheffield city region because the decision to source and assemble the manufacturing facility in the UK should benefit our engineering supply chains."

The UK offshore wind market is estimated to be worth more than £100bn over the next 20 years.

Mark O' Reilly, director of the Team Humber Marine Alliance, an industrial member organisation that has a key focus on the renewable energy sector, added: "This is another jolt of good news which we have all been waiting for and creates an atmosphere of industry excellence, and financial opportunity, from which we can all be benefit.

"In the months and years ahead, we are likely to see a positive and sustained impact on our member companies all along the offshore wind supply chain, potentially during construction and when operational."

One member of Team Humber Marine Alliance is Rotherham manufacturing specialist, MTL Group. One of the fastest growing project manufacturing specialists in the metals sector, MTL is a global supplier of secondary steelwork. As well as working with a global blue-chip customer base in the defence, construction equipment and rail sectors, a key area is the offshore wind energy sector.

With a 300,000 sq ft state of the art factory in Brinsworth, MTL laser cuts, bends, machines and fabricates steel to customers' requirements and uses state-of-the-art technology, including laser and waterjet cutting, manual and robotic press braking, manual and robotic welding and CNC machining.

Manufacturing boat landing systems, working platforms and plate beams for tier one suppliers to the offshore and renewable energy sector at Rotherham, and at its own dockside facility on the east coast, MTL has previously won contracts to supply secondary steelwork fabrications for the Ormonde and Nordsee Ost Offshore wind farms.

It's largest ever export order came after Team Humber Marine Alliance and Enterprise Europe Yorkshire attracted Windcluster Mid-Norway to the UK. MTL Group secured a contract to supply 97 boat landing systems to Aker Solutions, the Norwegian energy group, for Nordsee Ost, a German offshore wind farm.

And for those not already involved in the supply chain, services like GROW:OffshoreWind are available to help companies make the most of the opportunities. The £50m programme is backed by £20m from the Government's Regional Growth Fund.

The University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing in Rotherham is playing a key part and leads on Process Technology Innovation support, providing a new route for companies to access its collaborative R&D capabilities and the large-scale manufacturing and process demonstration facilities at the Nuclear AMRC.

The programme offers up to 50 per cent match funding for manufacturers looking to benefit from Process Technology Innovation support and work on the industry's supply chain continues.

Dominic Brown, head of GROW:OffshoreWind, said: "The announcement from Siemens and UK Associated British Ports is a fantastic boost for our offshore wind sector and further evidence that international companies are confident in our ability to deliver capacity and green energy.

"Our service has been shaped by industry leaders to deliver the technical expertise, market intelligence and access to technology centres that can help SMEs take advantage of this growing opportunity.

"We can also provide grants of up to £500,000 to firms looking for upfront investment to get ready for entry into the offshore wind sector."

MTL Group website
GROW:OffshoreWind website

Images: RWE

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