Siemens to seize market share in UK smart cities

Posted on 27 Oct 2011 by The Manufacturer

Siemens has launched a new building technologies division for infrastructure and cities, topping out a major new London headquarters and following £4 million investment in its Wythenshawe manufacturing facility.

Major of London, Boris Johnson yesterday presided over a topping out ceremony for a £30m building in London designed to house Siemens new Infrastructure and Cities business.

Yesterday’s ceremony revealed the new name for the centre – previously referred to as The Pavilion. The new HQ will now be known as The Crystal.
Siemens strategic move into city infrastructure follows its principle of identifying ‘megatrends’ in social development. Urbanisation and the need for smart infrastructure and mobility throughout urban centres – both in residential and commercial areas – is the driving force.

A spokesperson from Siemens yesterday assured TM that the new boost behind cities and infrastructure products is unrelated to the company’s recent decision to pull out of the nuclear supply chain. “This is not a business designed to fill a gap,” she said.

At an exclusive tour of the low and medium voltage manufacturing facilities at Siemens Wythenshawe-based site TM learnt that £4m has been poured into equipment and training at this premises since 2008 in order to support Siemens bid for market share in what it sees as a market with huge potential.
The investment has primarily been spent on a new paint plant at the Wythenshawe facility, which also houses the Siemens owned Electrium business.

Other investments have been made in a new OEE system, material handling equipment, production planning technology and staff training. According to Rob Kelsall, factory manager at Wythenshawe, around £400,000 has also been spent on securing the site – putting up perimeter fencing and installing CCTV – in response to problems at the site with the theft of the copper used in its products. Metal theft is now said to cost UK industry an estimated £1bn per year.

Historically Wythenshawe has primarily manufactured consumer units for low and medium voltage distribution. Siemens holds more than a 50% market share in residential fuse boxes.

Growth of the business has focused on diversification of markets and products rather than growth of this market share and around £80,000 has been spent on new laboratory facilities on site to enable better product development. Wythenshaew, preciously administered by the Electrium business, has recently adopted the Siemens Product Lifecycle Management System.

Key among the new products being manufactured at Wythenshawe is the Sivacon 4 distribution board. This will form part of a Sivacon product range.
Sivacon 4 is designed for use in commercial buildings and can be integrated into a complete Siemens offering for sustainable building management. Sivacon 4 has had to be specially adapted from the original German design in order to meet high UK standards for electrical product safety such as compartmentalisation of circuit breakers.

Another new area for Wythenshawe is the manufacture of control systems for solar photovoltaic energy production. Siemens claims over 68,000 residential installations of PV have been recorded in the last 12 months, often for council owner properties. In September – one month after the launch of it control unit for PV conversion of DC to AC current – it recorded 15,000 installation in one month.

Siemens low and medium voltage division is managed across three UK sites; Cannock, Hindley, Green and Wythenshawe.
Wythenshawe is the only manufacturing facility. It employs around 200 people.