Rolls-Royce plans a $13.9 million investment in its Power Systems business unit for the addition of a new research and development building and multi-phase expansion of its MTU power generation manufacturing facility in Mankato, Minnesota.
The main portion of the Mankato expansion will be the addition of 28,000-sq-ft to the facility's existing assembly hall, allowing for additional assembly lines, enhanced product testing capabilities and the creation of 20 new manufacturing positions.
By expanding one of the existing assembly lines to accommodate the production of high-power MTU gas generator sets, capacity at the plant is expected to increase by an estimated 25%. This will mark the first time these gas generator sets have been produced in the US, company officials said.
"Our MTU plant in Mankato has played a decisive role in our encouraging growth in the Americas. We intend to continue on this successful course by working hard to emerge from the crisis stronger than before. More consistently than before, we are pursuing our strategy of evolving from an engine manufacturer to a provider of sustainable solutions," said Andreas Schell, CEO of Rolls-Royce Power Systems. "This investment in our Mankato plant will help us to meet the growing demand for energy in the Americas with locally manufactured products. Mankato will thus become an even more important part of our worldwide production network in the future," Schell continued.
According to company officials, “the project is a result of growth in the market, 2019 was a record year for the Mankato facility, and demand for increased product offerings resulting in the need for updated facilities, equipment and processes to safely handle customer requirements. It is also part of the ongoing journey of Power Systems towards the development of sustainable solutions.”
A final benefit of the expansion project is that it will allow for improved logistics services and safety enhancements to the site. With the added space, logistics will be separated from assembly operations, and oversized doors will be added to better facilitate lifting and rigging operations. The traffic routes and parking for the site will also be modified to separate truck traffic from employee parking.
"Rolls-Royce has made significant investments in the gas systems business in terms of both products and people," said Carsten Schrick, Director for Gas Sales in the Americas. "We have seen an uptick in gas systems projects as a result and we expect that trend to continue, especially as our MTU systems can increasingly run on a variety of gases and offer fuel flexibility. When these systems are available from our plant in Mankato, we will be able to deliver them with shorter lead times to our customers in the Americas, which will be a great benefit for our customers."