GE has announced that it has officially opened the phase II of its GE Manufacturing & Technology Center (Gemtec), in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, marking a significant milestone in its eight-decade-long presence in the kingdom.
The company also revealed its expanded capabilities including the ability to manufacture HA and F-class turbines at the facility. GE’s HA turbines are the world's largest and most efficient, leading the industry in output, said a statement from the company.
The opening coincides with the completion and delivery of Gemtec’s first 7F turbine to Saudi Electricity Company’s Waad Al Shamal combined-cycle power plant, it said.
GE’s chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt joined senior officials of the company and partners to inaugurate the second phase of Gemtec, which now joins the ranks of GE’s global gas turbine manufacturing facilities such as in Greenville, South Carolina and Belfort, France, it added.
“Our company has been on the ground in Saudi Arabia for more than 80 years,” said Immelt.
“Gemtec’s expansion and transformation is a significant milestone in our operations here in the kingdom. This facility will serve as a manufacturing, repair and research hub that services a wide market,” he said.
“Our investment of digitally-driven advanced manufacturing capabilities in Gemtec demonstrates our continued commitment to serving as a leading partner for transformational growth in Saudi Arabia,” he added.
Phase II of Gemtec will continue to develop an integrated industrial ecosystem in the kingdom, through local, Saudi-driven manufacturing, services and research and development (R&D). It creates more than 150 high quality jobs for Saudi professionals and draws on more than 300 Saudi suppliers to provide gas turbine parts that are manufactured locally, said a statement.
The expansion also adds 9,000 sq m of manufacturing space to the facility, taking the total area to 26,000 sq m - the size of 100 tennis courts. In addition to the enhanced manufacturing competencies, the facility offers services and repairs for gas turbines, as well as the first balance of plant (BOP) test and inspection services in the region, it said.
The expanded Gemtec also has a dedicated Monitoring & Diagnostics Center - Saudi PowerGen Efficiency Center (SPEC) - for gas and steam turbines, which opened earlier this year.
Another core component of the expansion is construction of a dedicated building for the Hot & Harsh Center of Excellence. Researchers there will study the effects of high temperature, dust, corrosion, erosion, duty cycle, and fuel harshness on the reliability and efficiency of power plants. This facility - expected to be complete by the end of 2016 - will design and prototype gas turbines and auxiliary components for testing, it added.
The announcement also marks the transformation of Gemtec to a ‘Brilliant Factory’, the first of its kind in the region. GE has introduced advanced digital industrial capabilities to Gemtec, including sensor-enabled service centre equipment to provide utilisation and performance data in addition to diagnostics.
Gemtec also utilises real-time monitoring of all utility consumption, and site equipment and infrastructure can be fully controlled and monitored remotely using GE’s brilliant manufacturing suite of services.
“With this expansion, our company can now build any heavy-duty gas turbine we offer right here in Saudi Arabia,” said Steve Bolze, president and CEO of GE Power.
“We’ve have already completed an F turbine at Gemtec, and we look forward to building our world-record-setting HA turbine in the kingdom - for customers in the Kingdom and beyond,” he added.
“Since its opening in 2011, Gemtec has helped build a strong local manufacturing ecosystem that today benefits Saudi small and medium enterprises,” stated Hisham Al Bahkali, GE’s president and CEO for Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.
“Led by Saudi technical talent, the centre’s expansion enables us to serve our customers more efficiently – assuring not only repair services but ‘Made in Saudi’ heavy duty gas turbines with the shortest turnaround time. Our investment in localised manufacturing and research also highlights our commitment to the Saudi Vision 2030 to continue to strengthen the competitiveness of the local economy,” he added.