Machines Now Talk: Saudi Vision 2030 Shines through GEMTEC
Every morning, more than 500 people, mostly Saudi Arabians, enter the doors of the GE Manufacturing and Technology Center (GEMTEC) in a Dammam industrial park, serving 70 industrial customers in 40 countries. All day long, as these employees build, repair and conduct research, they are helping to realize Saudi Vision 2030.
More broadly, across its operations in the fields of oil & gas, power generation, software development and manufacturing, GEMTEC is contributing to the rising tide of goods and services that are “Made in Saudi”, “Repaired in Saudi” and “Innovated in Saudi.” They also are complementing the in-country value creation initiatives of GE’s Saudi partners.
A ‘Brilliant Factory’ expands
The 17,000sqm facility, which opened in 2011, is completing a 9,000sqm addition that will create a space equal to the space covered by 100 tennis courts. This expansion is creating more than 150 high quality jobs for Saudi professionals,
The first 7F heavy duty gas turbine to be completed in Saudi will roll off the GEMTEC production line this year and will go straight to the 1,390 megawatt (MW) Waad Al Shamal combined cycle power plant. Three more 7F turbines will follow, with the four turbines eventually generating enough electricity to power over 500,000 Saudi homes.
This will put GEMTEC on par with GE’s global gas turbine manufacturing facilities – including those in Greenville, South Carolina and Belfort, France – where 7F turbines also are being made.
Producing these turbines in Saudi Arabia is driving demand for high-value industry in the Kingdom, as more than 300 Saudi suppliers – including small and medium enterprises (SMEs) – are providing more than 150 gas turbine parts for these gas turbines.
This production line also has the technological infrastructure to manufacture GE’s heavy-duty 7HA & 9HA gas turbines, the world’s largest and most efficient gas turbines. GE’s 9HA gas turbine lies at the heart of the EDF combined cycle power plant in Bouchain, France, which recently won the Guinness World Record for powering the world’s most efficient combined-cycle power plant based on an achieved efficiency rate of up to 62.22%.
The expansion also provides for a dedicated Monitoring & Diagnostics (M&D) Center for gas and steam turbines named Saudi PowerGen Efficiency Center (SPEC), which opened earlier this year. Real-time monitoring and maintenance is made possible by analyzing big data received from the turbines to help reduce downtime and enhance operational efficiency.
The expansion also houses a Hot & Harsh Technology Center of Excellence research facility that builds on ongoing research at GE-Saudi Technology & Innovation Center (STIC).
Researchers will study the effects of high temperature, dust, corrosion, erosion, duty cycle, and fuel harshness on the reliability and efficiency of power plants. The facility will design and prototype gas turbines and auxiliary components for testing.
Already this research has resulted in six patents, an indication of the innovation GE is helping to fuel in the Kingdom.
In conjunction with the expansion, GE has introduced digital industrial capabilities that have transformed GEMTEC into a “Brilliant Factory.” Using digital software, big data and data analysis running on GE’s Predix operating system for industrial systems, GEMTEC and other Brilliant Factories gain real-time visibility and insights for real-time monitoring and optimization.
Five years of growth
This expansion builds on five years of success at GEMTEC, which opened with a focus on gas turbine service and repair. This gave GE customers in the Kingdom and across the region access to local resources that help improve plant performance, reliability, safety and emissions.
A year later, GEMTEC ventured into manufacturing, intensifying its CNC machining capabilities, coding and analytic services and robotics. This provided important groundwork for the development of GEMTEC’s new heavy duty gas turbine manufacturing facility.
Also in 2012, GEMTEC entered into partnership with Wa’ed (Saudi Aramco Entrepreneurship Center), with a goal of expanding the facility’s local Saudi supply chain. Within two years, 290 Saudi companies were qualified by GE to support the company’s activities in the Kingdom, representing 55% of the center’s suppliers.
Another core activity at the center is training through partnerships. A program with National Power Academy (NPA) in 2015, saw GE provide training to male and female Saudi engineers. Training cooperation with the Saudi Technical & Vocational Training Center (TVTC) resulted in 200 of 250 students who went through the training program getting hired by GE across its businesses in the Kingdom.
GE has over eight decades of partnership in the Kingdom and is committed to supporting innovation and Saudi Vision 2030. It has about 2,000 employees in the Kingdom, 70% of whom are Saudis and 50% of whom are in highly skilled engineering and technology roles.