Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has invested £1 million in state of the art manufacturing equipment at one of Scotland's key renewable energy manufacturing sites in the Outer Hebrides.
Imported from Italy, the specialist DAVI Rolls have been installed and form part of a wider £2.9 million project by the development agency to provide steel rolling and welding equipment at Arnish.
The rolling plant will be the core element of an upgraded production line at BiFab, which will be used for the growing offshore wind market and the continued expansion into wave and tidal energy. The installation of the new equipment could lead to more than 75 additional highly skilled jobs at Arnish over the next few years.
Archie MacDonald, HIE Area Manager for Innse Gall, said: "This investment will strengthen the position of both BiFab and the Outer Hebrides in the marine renewables market.
"HIE has invested around £15 million in Arnish over the last 11 years and its future looks promising, even more so since the publication of the National Renewables Infrastructure Plan (NRIP) which positions Arnish as a key location in the sector. We have worked closely with BiFab to ensure that the latest upgrades at Arnish are suitable for the growing marine renewables opportunities on the horizon. The installation of this equipment will ensure the yard at Arnish is primed and ready to take advantage of these opportunities."
BiFab recently completed both the Oyster II wave device and the Hammerfest Strøm tidal device for ScottishPower Renewables. These prototypes were fabricated between BiFab's sites at Arnish and Methil in Fife.
Martin Adams, of BiFab said: "The plant will ensure that BiFab, and therefore the Outer Hebrides, are positioned to benefit from increase in the marine renewables market. The rolls are the foundation of the proposed production sequence and when coupled with the state of the art welding and positioning equipment and dedicated training will ensure the competitiveness and sustainability of the Arnish yard for many years to come"
DAVI-PROMAU is the supplier of the steel rolls. Established in 1960, it is the largest manufacturer in the world of plate and angle roll and automatic rolling systems.
Based in Italy, DAVI rolls are used in the manufacture of heavy-duty components for the energy, aerospace and shipyard industries.