Wärtsilä today inaugurated its new, state-of-the-art production plant in Wuxi, PR China.
This new factory Wärtsilä Propulsion (Wuxi) Co Ltd is Wärtsilä’s first wholly-owned production venture in China and is focusing on the manufacture of Lips-brand Transverse Thrusters. Also known as bow thrusters or tunnel thrusters, they are used in all kinds of vessels to help in manoeuvring at low ship speeds.
At the inauguration, Ole Johansson, President & CEO of Wärtsilä, declared “China is a remarkably fast-growing market for Wärtsilä. In just one year, we have firmly established our presence in China by putting into operation a joint venture for propeller manufacturing and now starting also the manufacture of thrusters. The next step will be to build auxiliary generating sets in China. Together with our existing sales and service units in key locations in China, we have greater opportunities to serve our customers better and increase our global market share.”
Nearly every vessel has one or more transverse thrusters. They are also widely used in offshore vessels for dynamic positioning. Lips Transverse Thrusters designed for controllable- and fixed-pitch propellers cover a power range from 450 up to 3550 kW, with propeller diameters in the range of 1.2 up to 3.0 m, which caters for virtually every market requirement.
The new factory, which is located about 100 km west of Shanghai, will serve the global shipbuilding market. At the same time it brings thruster manufacture closer to the major shipbuilding areas in East Asia.
The scope of business for Wärtsilä Propulsion (Wuxi) Co Ltd includes manufacture and assembly of marine propulsion products. The factory represents an investment of EUR 6.6 million, and utilises state-of-the-art CNC machining technology. At present it employs 21 people but this will be increased to around 120 employees as production is ramped up.
Wärtsilä’s operations in China
Wärtsilä, which traces its history back to the middle of the nineteenth-century, has been manufacturing marine engines since the early 1940s and propulsion systems since 1986. Wärtsilä became a major supplier of propulsion systems with the acquisition of John Crane Lips in 2002. The manufacture of propulsion systems was extended to China in 2004 when Wärtsilä set up the Wärtsilä-CME Zhenjiang Propeller Co. Ltd joint venture company for propeller manufacture with Zhenjiang CME Co. Ltd (CME), part of the China State Shipbuilding Corp (CSSC).
Wärtsilä also recently announced another joint venture in China, namely Wärtsilä Qiyao Diesel Co Ltd which will manufacture Wärtsilä-designed Wärtsilä Auxpac generating sets for producing electricity on board ships. Production is estimated to start in early summer 2006.
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 had a net sales in China of over EUR 110 million in 2004 and has now altogether over 450 employees in China, including the joint ventures. Wärtsilä also has licence agreements with a number of Chinese engine works building low-speed marine engines.
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