Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Yaskawa Ups Investment in The Switch

April 12, 2018

  • The Switch has delivered over 1,000 rugged Power Drives for the past 10 years to hundreds of vessels operating around the world (Photo: The Switch)
  • The Switch has received orders for 35 permanent magnet shaft generators through WE Tech, which cut costs when powering onboard electric networks (Photo: The Switch)

Yaskawa Corporation is making a multimillion-euro investment to strengthen the R&D capabilities of The Switch and purchase new equipment at the company’s factory in Lappeenranta, Finland.

The investment will enable drive train testing of up to 15 MW. The Switch will now become Yaskawa European’s Environmental Energy Division, leading the Japanese company’s global business in the marine, wind and turbo/industry segments.

This latest investment provides The Switch with the capability to test high-power machines, which is essential to execute marine projects the company is currently planning with customers. The new center in Finland will take a key role in a chain of other high-power drive train test centers that includes state-of-the-art facilities in Stord, Norway, and Vaasa, Finland.

The Switch produces a portfolio of technology enabling shipowners and operators to both optimize energy consumption and generate energy in a sustainable manner. During the past 10 years, the firm has delivered over 1,000 Power Drives to hundreds of vessels, alongside 35 permanent magnet shaft generators to next-generation ships that are future-proofing operations.

With the new investment, The Switch will expand its network of R&D talent within its existing sites in Lappeenranta, Vaasa and Helsinki, Finland, as well as in Norway, China and Japan. This will ensure that the company has the expertise needed to develop the products and platforms to reach the long-term goals of the corporation.

“For our customers, this investment strengthens the fact that we are a viable partner with sufficient capabilities to invest in the future,” comments Jukka-Pekka Mäkinen, President and CEO of The Switch. “To strongly focus on the development of our products, we need to have the resources and facilities to do so. This significant investment now provides us with the financial support needed to step up to the challenge.”

The new testing center will be one of the few in the world with the capacity to test advanced electrical drive trains up to 15 MW – an essential development for a firm focused on delivering the most high-powered, efficient technology to its global customer base.

With the move to create the Environmental Energy Division, Yaskawa EU (YEU) has formed the third of its business divisions, alongside Drives Motion Control and Robotics. The company will now strengthen its direct sales force in Europe, as well as work in closer cooperation with Yaskawa’s System Engineering Division in Japan.

“This new role is an important signal from our owner that we have earned the trust to further explore opportunities in the rapidly maturing business of environmental energy,” says Mäkinen. “We now have a solid platform from which to exploit the potential in our business and kick off our journey as the Environmental Energy Division. And it will undoubtedly create more opportunities for Yaskawa to become an undisputed leader in this growing business area.”

“With our new responsibilities,” he concludes, “we’re ready to head up the mission within Yaskawa to help make the BIG switch to environmental energy – with the choice to consume less energy as well as to produce energy in the most sustainable manner.”

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