Wärtsilä opens a new propeller factory in China – production capacity will double

Wärtsilä Corporation, Trade press release 28 June 2007 at 09:00 UTC+2

Wärtsilä’s joint venture company in China, Wartsila CME Zhenjiang Propeller Co Ltd, today inaugurated its new propeller factory at Zhenjiang in Jiangsu province. The company will be the biggest fixed-pitch propeller manufacturer in China and one of the biggest in the world in this sector. The new factory doubles Wärtsilä’s capacity to manufacture this type of propellers.

Shipbuilding is growing very fast in China. During the past ten years the output has increased by 500%. In 2007 up to May, there are 425 vessels contracted in China, which is 45% of the global vessel order intake, ranking China number one in the world.

“Doubling the production capacity is a logical step, as shipbuilding in China is experiencing such tremendous growth.   Together with our joint venture company, we are now able to offer advanced propulsion systems up to the largest sizes required,” said Mr Ole Johansson, President & CEO of Wärtsilä Corporation in the inauguration event in Zhenjiang today.

The new factory has more than doubled the annual production output to 6500 tonnes of propellers. The new maximum size of propeller that can be produced at the new factory is suitable for the world’s largest container ships that are currently envisaged with propellers individually weighing up to as much as 140 tonnes.

The joint venture Wartsila CME Zhenjiang Propeller Co Ltd was set up in 2004 by Wärtsilä (55%) and Zhenjiang CME Ltd (45%), a subsidiary of China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC). The total investment in the new factory is EUR 10 million.

Serving both Chinese and global markets

As about 80% of the world’s newbuildings use fixed-pitch (FP) propellers of the type manufactured in the new factory, Wärtsilä has gained great opportunities in world markets in addition to the Chinese market.

Most of the propellers are sold to the rapidly-growing market in China. About 15 to 20% of the production is exported.

Wartsila CME Zhenjiang delivers propellers to a significant number of Chinese shipyards. In addition to the large state-owned yards there are also a growing number of privately-owned shipyards. The company has been successful in being selected as the sole supplier for several recently-established shipyards.

China has the strategic goal of being the world’s largest shipbuilder in about ten years time. This means huge growth in both the number and capacity of shipyards.

Scope for expansion

The new factory will concentrate on larger FP propellers, with diameters of more than 5m. It is designed for an annual production of some 200 propellers of that size, with individual weights up to a maximum of 140 tonnes.

In the present factory Wartsila CME Zhenjiang manufactures FP propellers up to a maximum of 70 tonnes unit weight. The new factory also allows the company to commence machining of propeller shafts so that the company can deliver complete FP propeller packages with complete shaft lines and accessories. The land area of the production site will give ample scope for further expansion.

The new factory began test production on 11 June 2007. By September 2007, it will have 150 employees. It will be up to full production in the second half 2008 when it will have about 240 employees.

Production methods at the two factories are very similar, with an identical emphasis on high-quality manufacturing. There is a single quality management team serving both factories according to ISO 9000 accreditation and high Wärtsilä quality standards and procedures. There are clear procedures for every task with particular emphasis to ensure that relevant procedures are followed.

New factory is conveniently located

The new factory is conveniently located about five minutes drive from the current propeller factory of Wartsila CME Zhenjiang towards the Zhenjiang port at the Yangtze River. The large FP propellers can be readily shipped from the Zhenjiang port to the shipyard customers.

The existing propeller factory of Wartsila CME Zhenjiang will be developed as a modern manufacturing unit for small FP propellers with diameters from 0.5 m up to 5m, together with components for controllable-pitch propellers (CPP). The company has invested, among other equipments, in a state-of-the-art CNC machine for CPP blades.

The head office of Wartsila CME Zhenjiang will remain at the current factory.

Wärtsilä is growing in China

Wärtsilä is steadily expanding its capacity in China to serve the country’s rapidly growing shipbuilding industry. Wärtsilä now has five manufacturing works and three engine-building licensees.

Propellers and thrusters
In addition to the two Zhenjiang factories for propellers and shaft lines, Wärtsilä has another propulsion production facility in China at Wuxi. That factory, set up in 2005, now manufactures all of Wärtsilä’s transverse thrusters. Deliveries are to both China’s shipbuilding industry and global markets.

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.

Media contact:
Marit Holmlund-Sund
Public Relations Manager
Wärtsilä Corporation
Direct tel: +358 10 709 1439
Direct fax: +358 10 709 1425
e-mail: marit.holmlund-sund@wartsila.com
Internet: www.wartsila.com


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 14,000 professionals manning 130 Wärtsilä locations in close to 70 countries around the world.