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GE breaks ground on multi-modal “brilliant factory” in Welland


August 29, 2016
By Manufacturing AUTOMATION

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Aug. 29, 2016 – GE global executives, Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne, Chrystia Freeland, federal minister of international trade, and other government representatives attended the groundbreaking ceremony of GE’s multi-modal “Brilliant Factory” in Welland, Ont., last Friday.

Describing it as the “first–of-its-kind facility in Canada,” GE said the factory will “combine decades of experience building innovative industrial machines with cutting-edge data science and analytics expertise to enhance efficiency and streamline production.” Roughly 220 jobs are expected to be created, with operations commencing early 2018.

The first phase of the investment is US$165 million.

“Today is a significant day for GE in Canada and for GE’s Distributed Power business. Today, we’re breaking the ground on which we will grow our reciprocating engines business for decades to come,” said Heiner Markhoff, president and CEO of GE Water and Distributed Power Business. “Here, we will run three-dimensional machining simulations for CNC programs, gain real-time analytics to better understand the operating conditions of a machine or a test cell, install lights-out machining, and combine all with advanced Lean manufacturing practices.”

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The facility will initially manufacture GE Power’s reciprocating gas engines, components for compression, mechanical drive, and power generation, and manufacture components for GE transportation diesel engines, said the company in a statement.

GE announced this past June that it had selected Welland as the site location, due to its proximity to the U.S. border, availability of skilled labour and education facilities.

“Export Development Canada’s (EDC) commitment to building global business activities and the outstanding support offered by the Ontario government, Niagara Region, and City strongly influenced our decision to build the factory in Welland,” said Elyse Allan, president and CEO of GE Canada. “I look forward to continuing our outstanding collaboration to create jobs and economic growth.”