New Wärtsilä factory extension inaugurated in Wuxi, China

Wärtsilä Corporation, Trade press release, 23 November 2007 at 12:00 UTC+2

Wärtsilä today officially opened an extension to its state-of-the-art production plant in Wuxi, China. Wärtsilä’s investment to the Wuxi factory, which manufactures thrusters as well as seals and bearing products for all kinds and sizes of marine vessels, totals 20.8 million euros during 2005-2007. The initial phase of the Wuxi factory represented an investment of 6.6 million euros, which was announced in June 2005. The new extension involves a further investment of 14.2 million euros this year.

With the investment, Wärtsilä will better be able to meet the fast growing demand in China, to improve efficiency as well as optimize production globally. It also shows Wärtsilä’s commitment to China’s growing market.

Inaugurated in June 2005, the existing factory of Wärtsilä Propulsion (Wuxi) Co Ltd is Wärtsilä’s first wholly-owned production venture in China and focuses on the manufacture of transverse thrusters. Also known as bow thrusters and tunnel thrusters, they are used in all kinds of vessels to help in manoeuvring at low ship speeds. Located about 100 km west of Shanghai, the Wuxi factory serves the global shipbuilding market as well as the major shipbuilding areas in East Asia.

Shipbuilding is growing very fast in China. During the past ten years the output has increased by 500%. In 2007 January-September, as regards the number of vessels, contracting is approximately 15 percent above the previous year’s level, while tonnage is up by 40 percent. Among the shipbuilding nations, China, the number one country, had 41 percent of new vessel orders, while South-Korea had 30 percent.

“Wärtsilä has a clear strategy to be close to our customers and move with our markets. Today marks an important milestone in pursuit of our strategy. The extension of the factory more than doubles the shop floor area and will now in addition to the production of transverse thrusters also have production lines for steerable thrusters and seals and bearings products and components,” said Lars Hellberg, Group Vice President of Wärtsilä Industrial Operations.

Since manufacture started in Wuxi in 2005, the factory has produced 300 tunnel thrusters having propellers of 1.2–3.0 m diameter with a power range from 500 to 3500 kW both in fixed pitch and controllable pitch design. However, the market is rapidly developing and there is increasing need for greater manufacturing capacity.

With in total 8560 m2 production area (including offices) Wuxi will cater for the manufacture of steerable thrusters and transverse thrusters up to 3.0 m propeller diameter and an input power of 3500 kW, as well as for line shaft bearings and shaft sealing systems. The extension incorporates the state-of-the-art CNC (computer numerically controlled) machining technology.

Wärtsilä currently employs 133 persons at Wuxi and this number will be increased to about 220 when the extension is in full production in 2009. The employees are hired locally with only a few expatriate specialists.

The Wärtsilä factory in Wuxi has successfully qualified for ISO 9001 quality certification in January 2007. An important contribution to ensuring high quality is that the factory in Wuxi follows completely the technical requirements set by the engineering departments at Wärtsilä’s product companies. Quality plans are in place and our employees continue to receive training to maintain Wärtsilä’s high quality standards.

Wärtsilä operations in China

Wärtsilä has been present in China since 1991 through its fully owned subsidiary Wärtsilä China Ltd. Wärtsilä has offices in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Dalian, and service outlets are located in Shanghai and Pan Yu. Wärtsilä has now altogether over 1000 employees in China, including the joint ventures. Wärtsilä also has licence agreements with a number of Chinese engine works building low-speed marine engines.

Propellers and thrusters
In addition to the factory in Wuxi Wärtsilä has a joint venture company in Zhenjiang for production of fixed-pitch propellers. The company is the biggest fixed-pitch propeller manufacturer in China and one of the biggest in the world in this sector. The joint venture Wärtsilä CME Zhenjiang Propeller Co Ltd was set up in 2004 and a new factory in Zhenjiang was inaugurated in June, 2007.

The joint venture company Wärtsilä Qiyao Diesel Co Ltd (Shanghai) began the manufacture of complete marine diesel generating sets in June 2006. The joint venture Qingdao Qiyao Wärtsilä MHI Linshan Marine Diesel Co Ltd (QMD) was established in 2007 to manufacture low-speed marine diesel engines.

Wärtsilä has three licensees in China: Dalian Marine Diesel Works (DMD), Hudong Heavy Machinery Co Ltd (HMM) and Yichang Marine Diesel Engine Plant (YMD). Wärtsilä and the licensees have a long established cooperation in the manufacture of Wärtsilä low-speed engines.

Wärtsilä inaugurated in March, 2007 the first phase of a new reconditioning workshop in Shanghai, China. It provides high-quality reconditioning services to owners and operators of marine engines, gearboxes, controllable-pitch propellers, thrusters and other ship equipment. This workshop is the third to be established by Wärtsilä in China. One is in Hong Kong, and the other, opened in 1994 in Panyu, in the southern Guangdong province.

Welcome to meet us at Marintec exhibition in Shanghai, 27-30 November, Stand No. 2D41!

Media contact:
Marit Holmlund-Sund
Public Relations Manager
Wärtsilä Corporation
Direct tel: +358 10 709 1439
Direct fax: +358 10 709 1425

Notes to the editor:
Wärtsilä enhances the business of its customers by providing them with complete lifecycle power solutions. When creating better and environmentally compatible technologies, Wärtsilä focuses on the marine and energy markets with products and solutions as well as services. Through innovative products and services, Wärtsilä sets out to be the most valued business partner of all its customers. This is achieved by the dedication of more than 15,000 professionals manning 150 Wärtsilä locations in 70 countries around the world. Wärtsilä is listed on The Nordic Exchange in Helsinki, Finland.