Vestas is set to build a new turbine assembling facility in Geelong
Set to be developed at Vic...
Sustainable energy provider Vestas is set to invest in a new turbine assembling and testing facility in Geelong, Australia.
Set to be developed at Victoria’s former Ford Motor factory, it will form part of its new collaboration with Marand Precision Engineering.
The new turbines will serve Tilt Renewables’ Dundonnell wind farm and Global Power Generation’s Berrybank wind farm, which will be located nearby. Tilt has revealed that the new wind farms will have the ability to serve all of the nearby regions, with the new factory spanning 3000 square metres. The partnership will also see the assembly of drivetrains and hubs.
The news has been met favourably as the energy sector increasingly turns towards the utilisation of renewable energy sources, where it will support Victoria’s New Energy Technologies Strategy. The investment will also lead to new job opportunities, where local citizens will gain new skills, and will solidify the business’ aim to ensure Geelong remains a significant manufacturing and renewable energy hub.
“As one of the largest beneficiaries of the new Turbine Assembly Facility, we are very pleased to contribute to the creation of new manufacturing jobs, as well as training opportunities for people in the City of Geelong and south-west Victoria,” stated Tilt Renewables Chief Executive, Deion Campbell.
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“Vestas is committed to building new skills in the local workforce in Geelong, and with our wind turbine component assembly and testing capability, we are helping build on Geelong’s background as a heavy manufacturing hub and use that to establish a renewable energy hub,” commented Clive Turton, Vestas Asia Pacific President.
“In Marand, we are partnering with an experienced manufacturing service provider with outstanding capabilities and skilled personnel. Their experience in automotive, aerospace, defence and rail industries meet all of our requirements around quality and technical expertise.”
“This partnership shows how our transition to renewable energy is good for the environment and good for the economy – creating demand for local manufacturing skills and significant investment in the local supply chain,” added state energy minister, Lily D’Ambrosio.
Establishing strong partnerships across its operations, Vestas is also set to collaborate with Federation University’s Ballarat Renewable Training Centre to deliver training and employment opportunities for wind turbine technicians, as well as Deakin University’s Carbon Nexus to look at ways to ensure wind turbine blades become stronger and more productive, Renew Economy has reported.
Upon completion, the factory will commence operations in 2020.
Gartner: Leaders Lack Skilled Smart Manufacturing Workers
With organisations rapidly adopting industry 4.0 capabilities to increase productivity, efficiency, transparency, and quality as well as reduce cost, manufacturers “are under pressure to bring their workforce into the 21st century,” says Gartner.
While more connected factory workers are leveraging digital tools and data management techniques to improve decision accuracy, increase knowledge and lessen variability, 57% of manufacturing leaders feel that their organisations lack the skilled workers needed to support their smart manufacturing digitalisation plans.
“Our survey revealed that manufacturers are currently going through a difficult phase in their digitisation journey toward smart manufacturing,” said Simon Jacobson, Vice President analyst, Gartner Supply Chain practice.
“They accept that changing from a break-fix mentality and culture to a data-driven workforce is a must. However, intuition, efficiency and engagement cannot be sacrificed. New workers might be tech-savvy but lack access to best practices and know-how — and tenured workers might have the knowledge, but not the digital skills. A truly connected factory worker in a smart manufacturing environment needs both.”
Surveying 439 respondents from North America, Western Europe and APAC, Gartner found that “organisational complexity, integration and process reengineering are the most prevalent challenges for executing smart manufacturing initiatives.” Combined they represent “the largest change management obstacle [for manufacturers],” adds Gartner.
“It’s interesting to see that leadership commitment is frequently cited as not being a challenge. Across all respondents, 83% agree that their leadership understands and accepts the need to invest in smart manufacturing. However, it does not reflect whether or not the majority of leaders understand the magnitude of change in front of them – regarding technology, as well as talent,” added Jacobson.
Technology and People
While the value and opportunities smart manufacturing can provide an organisation is being recognised, introducing technology alone isn’t enough. Gartner emphasises the importance of evolving factory workers alongside the technology, ensuring that they are on board in order for the change to be successful.
“The most immediate action is for organisations to realize that this is more than digitisation. It requires synchronising activities for capability building, capability enablement and empowering people. Taking a ‘how to improve a day in the life’ approach will increase engagement, continuous learning and ultimately foster a pull-based approach that will attract tenured workers. They are the best points of contact to identify the best starting points for automation and the required data and digital tools for better decision-making,” said Jacobson.
Long term, “it is important to establish a data-driven culture in manufacturing operations that is rooted in governance and training - without stifling employee creativity and ingenuity,” concluded Gartner.