Manufacturing giant Siemens announced a huge expansion to their UK factory in Worcester.
The German company is to invest £27M (USD$38M) to build out their existing facility, which originated with their acquisition of a service bureau in 2016. The company says they intend on expanding the number of 3D printers in the facility from 15 to 50 over the next few years.
They say they will add approximately 55 jobs to the plant, to a total of 85. This will be a substantial 3D printing operation.
But it’s not exactly your average 3D print service. They explain:
The new factory will be fully powered by Siemens Digital Enterprise technologies solutions, an end-to-end portfolio comprising software-based systems and automation components which cover every conceivable requirement arising along the industrial value chain and therefore harness the potential of digitalisation.
And that is the value that Siemens brings to 3D printing: manufacturing is not just “printing” an object. There are a number of steps involved in producing quality components and finished pieces. Siemens has considerable expertise in this area, and as you can see from their statement above, they are applying that knowledge to this situation.
Some comment that this is strange considering the current state of affairs in the UK, where they apparently intend on leaving the EU, where Siemens is based. Several companies have already announced they’re relocating their UK offices to points in the rest of the EU to avoid potential future border issues. If and when Brexit occurs, there is a potential for Siemens to incur extra charges on completed parts to cross the EU border, where today there are none from the UK.
So why would Siemens invest? I think there are a few reasons. First, they already have sunk considerable cash into their 2016 acquisition and don’t want to lose it by moving things.
Second, they may believe the plant can service the UK and beyond without regard to the EU. This is especially possible if the UK manages to score a trade deal with other parties.
Finally, the plant is essentially a collection of machines and operating staff in a proper facility. If things came right down to it, Siemens could simply move it all to another location. Moving 3D printers is commonly done and there would be no trouble doing so here.
Meanwhile, the folks in Worcester should be making many production parts for the UK with 3D printing technology.
Via Siemens UK