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CASE

Siemens is growing stronger in North Jutland

Siemens Wind Power

For Siemens Wind Power, North Jutland is the obvious and right location. Here there are many good sub-suppliers.

- A network such as Hub North can reinforce this effect. It makes it much easier to show what we are capable of up here and what exists”, says Søren Kringelholt, Director for the Siemens Wind Power blade factories.

- We are here to make blades. If others are better at all the other work involved in the actual blade production, we are happy to outsource it.

Siemens Wind Power in east Aalborg is the world’s largest blade factory. It was established at the time as Bonus by people from the now closed shipyard Danyard Værft in Aalborg. In 2004 Siemens purchased the factory, which currently employs about 800, and disposes of an area spanning 71,000 square metres. At the moment, more are being hired, and the factory is just about back to the level it was at before the financial crisis.

- Originally, we were here because there were some people knew a lot about fibreglass. Danyard were the only ones in all of Denmark who had so much experience with fibreglass, which you need for a blade factory. Aalborg was chosen after we had taken a good look around for the right location”, says blade director at Siemens Wind Power.

Blade road

Siemens blades are unique in that they are moulded in one piece – in fact, they are the largest one-piece moulds. The materials used are fibreglass, epoxy, balsawood and sandwich material. Siemens develops all its own equipment for producing and handling the huge pieces. Subcontractors enter the scene in connection with shaping and device products.

-Gear for transportation, cranes, snow ploughing, laundry and cafeterias do not really have anything to do with building blades, but they are services we use a lot. It is a good idea to be as close to as many sub-contractors as possible, and here in North Jutland is a good place to be”, says Søren Kringelholt.

The factory has already drawn the consequences of the future transportation situation, which makes it impossible to freight the new giant turbines on most major roads. A blade road directly from the factory and approx. one kilometre to the harbour is about to be opened.

- We need to avoid public roads and we also want to use a railway directly to the harbour.

We are growing

Logistics and employees are major factors in the choice of a region to settle in. It is important that people want to live in a location if we are to attract the most talented employees there.

- We have employed many people from the old North Jutland industries, engineers educated at Aalborg University, as well as 250 office staff. Staff members represent at least 10 different nationalities. With so many employees and that composition, we have to have an attractive location, which North Jutland is, with Aalborg as its centre. The city has a good brand, with cultural life, an airport, a university and other institutes of learning”, Søren Kringelholt explains.

He sees no reason for concern after Siemens chose to locate the next large wind turbine factory in England.

- At Siemens, the whole world is divided into five large regions. More activity in Europe, such as more new nacelle factories, just creates more work in Aalborg, which is the headquarters for the entire blade production at Siemens Wind Power. Within each region, a distance of a couple hundred kilometres sea voyage more or less does not make a big difference. We have already invested DKK 1.2 billion in the factory. We cannot find that much space with such good access conditions very many other places. The right employees are also in the area, and our analyses show that Aalborg is the financially right place to be. The most plausible scenario is that in 10-15 years, Siemens Wind Power will employ many more employees than it does now”, says Søren Kringelholt.

He sees big benefits in a network like Hub North, which can perhaps help members to find each other if an order looks too large for just one company.