Materials Solutions – a Siemens business, which officially opens today (12 December), sees a £27m investment to create a new state-of-the-art additive manufacturing (AM) factory, taking a traditionally experimental laboratory process and turning it into an industrial practice.
The business is a pioneer in the use of Selective Laser Melting (SLM) technology for the manufacture of high-performance metal parts. Materials Solutions supplies to a wide range of sectors including oil and gas, power generation, aerospace, automotive, tooling and process industries and motor sport.
It will also support existing Siemens customers injecting additive manufacturing technology into power generation. This fiscal year, the business will use AM technology to manufacture combustion components for the Siemens designed SGT5-9000HL combined cycle gas turbine which will be used for the first time by SSE at Keadby 2 in Lincolnshire.
In a move away from traditional AM processes, the new factory will adopt an industrial approach including post-processing and certification, housing multiple machines across a shop floor.
As well as using the manufacturing quality and production techniques, a digital approach is embedded into the site, to create a modern digital factory and to provide an end-to-end service to its wide-ranging customer base. This is expected to give better control over lead-time, quality and cost throughout the development of the product before delivery to the customer.
The investment has allowed Materials Solutions to increase its footprint to 4,700m2 to enable the growth of the business, which currently has 19 machines to more than 50 as well as increasing its post-processing capabilities. In the past year, the number of employees at the factory has risen from 29 to 44 with a plan to employ up to 25 more as part of the expansion.
Juergen Maier, chief executive officer, Siemens plc said: “Additive manufacturing is a technology that will be at the cutting edge of this exciting new fourth industrial revolution. Our new facility is an example of the Industrial Strategy in action and aligns perfectly with the principles of Made Smarter – outlining how additive manufacturing is a key part of raising productivity and creating a new industry with lots of opportunity for high value, well paid jobs.
“The fourth industrial revolution will be much more about smaller agile and very high value technology companies like this and less about the mega factories of the third revolution. But there will be lots of such high-tech companies and we hope this investment will be key to the creation of a globally leading ecosystem for additive manufacturing, here in Worcester and beyond.’’
Greg Clark, secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy added: “From trains to wind turbines, Siemens’ new factory in the West Midlands will support the development of components for a range of industries and is further proof of our world leading advanced manufacturing capabilities. Siemens’ investment and opening of its 15th UK factory shows the company’s commitment and belief in the skills and talent of the UK.
“Our modern Industrial Strategy, including the Made Smarter programme, is forging our future by driving investment in tomorrow’s technologies and processes, providing high skilled jobs and boosting our economy.”