Production at a wind turbine tower manufacturing plant on the Kintyre peninsula has been dramatically doubled in the last few months.
Wind Towers (Scotland) Ltd (WTS) is now experiencing a faster assembly time thanks to its dedicated staff and the ‘Team Scotland’ effect where a variety of public organisations work together to grow Scottish businesses.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service (SMAS) have been working with WTS to gain an intensive understanding of their business needs, and tailored solutions were provided to move the operations forward.
The business is growing through investment from Scottish and Southern Energy plc (SSE) and HIE. WTS commenced tower manufacturing at the Campbeltown site in August 2011 and since then has realigned production and expanded its facilities.
The business has revealed that it is now taking four weeks to move through the production process, rather than the 14 weeks it previously took. Turnover is expected to rise by £4.0m.
WTS is currently working on two significant contracts: one for Vestas, producing towers for Keadby wind farm and the other for Scottish Power Renewables where towers are required for the Beinn anTuirc II wind farm extension. Work will then start on a Siemens contract producing towers for the Bruckana wind farm in County Kildare, Ireland.
Wind Towers Scotland is by far the largest single employer in the Campbeltown area, with a workforce of around 130 and the potential to double its manufacturing capacity.
The company has a commitment to source its growing workforce from the local community in Kintyre and has ambitious plans to invest in the development of local training in the area to develop the necessary skills among local young people.
Managing Director of WTS, Dennis Breugelmans, said: “The support we have received from HIE and SMAS as well as other public agencies has greatly increased our understanding of how our operations run and has ultimately resulted in an increased output. We are now at a stage where we need to invest to expand and secure the future of the site. Wind Towers (Scotland) is well and truly back in business.”
HIE owns ordinary share capital of 19.9% with SSE’s stake being 80.1%.
Margaret McSporran, Senior Business Development Manager at HIE said: “HIE wants our region to be a world leader in the renewable energy sector and we are ambitious for the future of the site. The area’s skills and infrastructure makes for an amazing opportunity for Campbeltown to play its part in the international renewables sector. It is very encouraging to see that outputs are continuing to increase through close mentoring with HIE and SMAS.
“The financial and practical hands-on support from Team Scotland, led by HIE with SMAS and other public sector agencies, has been key to the improvements made at the site. Staff and management at the site are driven and determined to ensure tower manufacturing continues at the plant.”
SMAS provides expert advice, one-to-one support, training and events for manufacturing businesses of all sizes throughout Scotland.
Ian McCormick, SMAS Regional Lead Practitioner said: “This positive result is a great example of what can be achieved in order to move a business forward. The current improvement programme is focusing on creating stability in the manufacturing process and paving the way for investment in a second surface treatment line.
“Not only has SMAS helped WTS to process orders faster – we have also helped to create a better working environment within the facility. They are getting ready to maximise the growing opportunities in the energy industry. They are now a professional business delivering a quality product, on time. Through close mentoring by the SMAS team and the determination of the site leadership team, the factory output has continued to rise without increasing inventory.”
Investments made in developing the infrastructure, combined with the skills of the local workforce and its experience in the marketplace, means the Campbeltown facility is attracting market interest.
Some of the other public agencies which form Team Scotland working to improve the productivity and competitiveness of the businesses are: Skills Development Scotland which is involved in the identification and development of training and Scottish Development International which is working towards increasing exporting activity. Argyll and Bute Council have recently completed a £12M investment in Campbeltown Quay and roads alignment; these works increase the ease of the logistics involved in transportation of towers efficiently.