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GE announced at the Water Environment Federation's 78th Annual Conference and Exhibition that GE Energy’s hydropower operations in Asia recently celebrated the grand opening of a new flagship manufacturing, engineering and service center in Hangzhou, China.
With the new factory, GE is able to expand its capabilities and capacity to manufacture hydro turbines, generators and other hydro components to meet its customers’ needs in China and worldwide.
“GE’s Hangzhou facility is proving itself to be a critical platform in China and Asia,” said Steve Fludder, president and CEO of GE Energy China. “Now that we offer a broader range of hydro equipment, using state-of-the-art technologies and processes, GE enhances the value we bring to our customers.”
GE’s new 43,000 square-meter facility is located at an industrial center 15 kilometers outside Hangzhou, the capital city of Zhejiang Province in southeast China. The previous factory was located in the city’s downtown section of Xiaoshan, Hangzhou, 180 kilometers southeast of Shanghai. GE moved its 558 employees and most of its office equipment into its new facility in late May 2005.
The grand opening ceremony, featuring numerous Chinese dignitaries and GE executives, was part of a two-day series of events to showcase GE’s improved hydropower equipment manufacturing and service capabilities. The activities included a hydro technology symposium, focused on the latest developments in the industry, a dedication ceremony and plant tours.
Zhang Jinming, general manager of Hangzhou Industrial Assets Management Co., Ltd., the Chinese partner for this joint venture, said, “This successful partnership provides a solid foundation for our joint exploration and penetration into the China hydro energy market, which is full of opportunities and potential.”
Key manufacturing and supply chain strategies were implemented to speed up production and delivery schedules, improve quality and reduce operational and equipment storage costs, thus boosting GE’s responsiveness to hydro customers. The Hangzhou facility implements the principles of lean manufacturing and “zero inventory.” For example, in the previous location, GE’s generator bar and pole manufacturing lines were split into different places. In the new factory, the lines have been combined into one. GE has tripled the number of numerically controlled (NC) machines, and incorporates various best practices from its hydro facilities in Canada and Norway. GE now manufactures more core components in-house.
The new plant is already supporting several major contracts, including the three-unit, 550-megawatt Pubugou Francis turbines project and the four-unit, 35-megawatt Xixiayuan Kaplan complete turbines and generators project. “We are fortunate to be a part of the Chinese hydro industry during this time of great growth,” Fludder added. “The new Hangzhou facility extends our long-standing commitment to China with localized manufacturing capability. It is another excellent example of our latest expansions in thermal, wind, gasification, energy services and oil and gas to serve China’s rapidly growing energy needs through our leadership in technology, service and management.”
Developing additional hydropower is a significant part of China's sustainable energy initiative. GE Energy has been active in the hydropower industry in China since 1972.