Global motor manufacturer, WEG is undergoing a substantial project to expand the size and capabilities of its production facility in Europe. Further to the facility built in 2017, a new investment will see WEG double the size of the manufacturing site in Portugal, hire 100 new employees and create Europe’s most complete testing laboratory for medium voltage (MV) and high voltage (HV) motion drives (electric motors and drives).
WEG Portugal, registered as WEGeuro – Indústria Eléctrica, S.A., has been the heart of the company’s European production of electric motors and MV/HV drives since its inception 20 years ago. Currently split across two sites in Maia and Santo Tirso in Portugal, the facilities manufacture over 10,000 motors annually, deliver to over 50 countries on five continents and employ over 750 people.
Now, WEG is constructing an additional 22,680 sqm factory at the Santo Tirso site to support the manufacture of MV/HV motors and drives, LV electrical panels and the provision of the corresponding servicing activities on shop floor as well as on site. The project will see the transfer of the Maia factory to the new plant in Santo Tirso, centralising all operations to a single site.
The investment will also increase production capacity to IEC 1400 frame size electric motors and equivalent MV/HV drives. This is in addition to specialist flameproof, smoke extraction and marine motors, engineered automation solutions, as well as the range of WEG digital and automation tools such as Motion Fleet Management (MFM).
Among the additions at the new factory is a substantial investment in a new testing laboratory. The space will be suitable for full-load testing to meet the new portfolio of products from WEG and will continue to enable customers to remotely monitor tests in real time. In fact, the facility will be the most complete testing laboratory in Europe for MV/HV motion drives, products and solutions.
“WEG has long believed in the importance of manufacturing products local to the market where they will be sold,” explained António Duarte, managing director of WEG Portugal. “The new investment will significantly improve the site’s manufacturing capabilities, our flexibility and time-to-market, and reinforces our continued commitment to the European market.”
The new factory will also see WEG intensify its use of robotics and automation, with planned incremental investments for the years to come. These technologies include automated guided vehicles (AGVs), six-axis robots, and the creation of an automated vertical warehouse for picking of smaller parts and products.
“Our plans are based on the WEG Manufacturing System (WMS), a programme WEG follows to continually improve the way we manufacture,” continued Duarte. “This philosophy helps us to eliminate waste and achieve the best possible efficiency. In fact, we employ the WMS model throughout our entire business, including our offices. The upcoming investments in Santo Tirso follows this way of thinking and will make us more resilient for decades to come.
The construction of the second factory in Santo Tirso is currently underway and is expected to be fully operational by 2024. The transfer will be initiated during 2023 and will be gradual, ensuring no impact on production or deliveries.