An award-winning Tees engineering firm has sealed a contract to help manufacture a direct drive generator identified as a potential game-changer for the wind turbine market by industry experts.
Tees Components is working in strategic collaboration with Southend-based GreenSpur Renewables, specialists in electromagnetic engineering, to take the new low-cost direct drive permanent magnet generator (PMG) to the booming offshore wind turbine market.
Sharon Lane, the North Skelton firm’s managing director, revealed that winning a contract for such ground-breaking work had created a buzz among the firm’s workforce.
Recently crowned Teesside Business Executive of the Year and shortlisted for Tees Businesswoman of the Year, Sharon said: “Our staff are very excited at being involved in the development of this revolutionary generator concept.
“Working with customers to develop innovative new concepts is something that we like to do. We have the staff, facilities and a variety of skillsets that we bring to the table.”
Andrew Hine, commercial director at GreenSpur, added: “Scaling up short-term production in the UK could create 200 new manufacturing jobs plus a further 70 in the supply chain. If the technology is deployed at the two-to-three gigawatt level, it could lead to the creation of over 3,000 new UK jobs.”
The contract to work on the direct drive generator came as a result of a chance meeting between Sharon and Greenspur director Alex Freeman at the Global Offshore Wind conference and exhibition in Manchester. Tees Components went on to bid for and win the contract to supply and assemble the new generator design.
The firm’s electrical and mechanical engineers are now working in partnership with engineers from Greenspur and ORE Catapult – the UK’s leading technology innovation and research centre for offshore renewable energy – to source materials and produce each precision component as the prototype design is developed.
GreenSpur Renewables has developed the world’s first ferrite-based direct drive permanent magnet generator capable of reliable multi-megawatt generation.
It is a low-cost innovation that replaces scarce and expensive rare earth magnets with cheap and abundant ferrite magnets. The design has been identified as a game-changer by the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult.
Manufacture and assembly of the preproduction 250-kilowatt stage of a onemegawatt unit are well underway in North Skelton, with the project on target for testing scheduled at ORE Catapult early in 2019.
While Tees Components have a long-held reputation for precision machining of large, complex components, less well known is the North Skelton firm’s capability for project management and complete supply.
The long-established company can offer a complete solution to niche, one-off projects, thanks to facilities that include two East Cleveland sites comprising eight acres, various areas of hard standing, assembly workshops, secure storage areas and overhead lifting – in addition to experienced and skilled mechanical and electrical engineers.
With the machining and fabrication facilities at its disposal and a well-resourced procurement team, Tees Components is able to undertake most processes on its own sites and maintain complete control of the project.
The Greenspur contract is just one of a range of projects contributing to an order book that’s currently at an all-time high.
Sharon commented: “We are seeing high demand from all sectors – nuclear, decommissioning, renewables, marine and defence.”
To meet the ongoing demand, the firm has continued to invest in new machining capacity, while it currently has vacancies for experienced CNC setter-operators to support its growth. Tees Components is also inviting applications for a new business administration apprentice and less qualified machinists who have completed an apprenticeship.
For more information about Tees Components, visit their website at teescomponents.co.uk
Rewarding loyal staff
Tees Components recently celebrated its 55th year of operation with an employee recognition event at Hunley Hall Golf Club.
The event included long service awards, while fourth year electrical engineering apprentice Ben Marshall received the Simon Jones-sponsored Apprentice of the Year Award from production manager Steve Horner.
Expert machinist Martin Duddles received the Extra Mile Award for exceeding customers’ requirements, while Emma Glover won the Employees’ Vote Award.