Siemens to close Ontario wind turbine blade manufacturing plant
July 18, 2017
By Manufacturing AUTOMATION
Jul. 18, 2017 – Siemens Wind Power Limited, as part of Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, announced today it will close the wind blade manufacturing plant in Tillsonburg, Ont., by early 2018.
The closure will affect 340 employees, and will be conducted in phases through the rest of the calendar year.
The company said the decision to close the plant is a result of “significant changes in the global and regional markets, combined with physical limitations at the existing plant.”
“Today’s market environment requires significantly larger blades, a critical requirement for our business to remain globally competitive. The Tillsonburg factory cannot easily be adapted to manufacture this product portfolio. The significant investments necessary to bring the plant in line with current market requirements would result in costs that could not be competitive in the global markets,” according to a company statement.
As well, Siemens notes that the market in Eastern Canada has experienced a “significant reduction” in the demand for blades in the last year.
“This was a very difficult decision that was taken only after assessing all the options,” said David Hickey, head of the Siemens Gamesa Business in Canada. “We have a great team of employees at the plant who have produced quality work for the last six years, and we sincerely appreciate all their efforts. However, the harsh reality is that, in order to remain competitive, we must constantly evaluate our global manufacturing footprint.”
The plant began commercial operation in 2011 to provide wind blades for projects in Ontario and beyond. Since then, the plant has produced more than 2,500 blades and supported projects in Ontario & Quebec, Canada; U.S.; U.K.; and Sweden.
The company plans to provide affected employees with career counselling, job-placement assistance — including resume preparation — and redeployment where possible, in addition to severance packages.
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