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Queensland Minister commemorates successful completion of upgrade project at Alstom Grid’s Rocklea factory


The Honourable Jan Jarratt MP, Queensland Minister for Tourism, Manufacturing and Small Business, visited Alstom Grid’s historic Rocklea factory on the morning of Wednesday 6th July, 2011 to celebrate the successful completion of a $15 million upgrade project. Alstom Grid’s Rocklea factory is Australia’s leading power transfomer manufacturing unit with more than 60 years of experience in manufacturing electrical transmission equipment.

The Minister joined senior Alstom executives to address all employees at the 60 years old facility and unveil a commemorative plaque celebrating the successful completion of the development.

“From 2009 to 2011, Alstom invested $15 million into modernising the factory with a focus on improving safety, productivity and quality,” said Chris Raine, CEO of Alstom in Australia.

With an annual local spend of around $25 million, the Rocklea Transformer factory is an important part of the community. In addition to the 300 people we employ at the Rocklea facility, our local supply chain accounts for around 100 indirect jobs locally,” he said.

Today, Alstom employs over 1000 people across Australia and New Zealand, of which Alstom Grid employs approximately 300 employees at the Rocklea Transformer Factory.

Details of the upgrade project

A significant proportion of the $15 million investment went into factory equipment to modernise production while building in worker safety at the Rocklea site, which celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2009.

Gantry cranes and an air-skating system driven by manpower and forklifts used for moving transformers and other large size components have been replaced by an air-cushion mobility system. This system has the advantage of being safer to operate and heavy loads can be manoeuvred with greater accuracy and precision.

Other improvements to the Rocklea transformer factory include the installation of replacement vapour phase plants that have resulted in production savings and an improvement in quality. Equipment trolleys have been replaced facilitating the movement of transformers and cooler banks from the workshops to the factory loading area and reducing safety risks to workers. Various plant, such as vertical winding machines and test transformers, have also been replaced and upgraded.

A key safety enhancement included the development of a new entry and exit point for large transformers. After 60 years of loading large transformers within the factory precinct by gantry crane onto trucks, a new ramp has recently been constructed approximately 100 metres to the east of the main gate. Not only does this improve accessibility for transport companies and thereby the factory’s workflow and productivity, but it removes a potential safety hazard to a less trafficked area

Alstom Grid’s Transformer business

Alstom Grid has 13 transformer factories and at present the Rocklea transformer business ranks third in Alstom’s overall transformer order intake. A healthy recent contract list, including customers such as TransGrid, TRUenergy, Queensland Rail and Powerlink, is testament to the success of the business’ strategic focus on the large size transformer market and to the effectiveness of the major factory upgrade.

The factory can boast of an Australian first with a contract from Powerlink, owner and operator of Queensland’s high voltage electricity network for a 1500MVA auto-transformer; the largest built in Australia to date.

Rocklea factory key dates

• 1948 English Electric factory opened
• 1949 1st transformer manufactured
• 1953 1st Oil Circuit Breaker manufactured
• 1957 New bays 7 and 8
• 1967 New Bays 1, 2 and 3
• 1968 1st Vacuum Circuit breaker made
• 1968 EE & GEC merge
• 1988 1st Georg Core cutting line
• 1989 GEC and ALSTHOM merge
• 1994 1st Vapour Phase Oven installed
• 1998 GEC ALSTHOM becomes ALSTOM
• 2004 AREVA acquires ALSTOM T&D
• 2002 High Voltage Test area expanded
• 2004 Service Business launched
• 2006 Isolation of winding bay
• 2009 Launch of factory upgrade project
• 2009 Service Business opens switchgear maintenance workshop
• 2009 Rocklea site celebrates its 60th anniversary
• 2010 Alstom acquires Areva T&D’s Transmission business
• 2011 Hon. Jan Jarratt MP commemorates the successful completion of the Rocklea factory upgrade project

About Alstom

Alstom is a global leader in the world of power generation, power transmission and rail infrastructure and sets the benchmark for innovative and environmentally friendly technologies. Alstom builds the fastest train and the highest capacity automated metro in the world, provides turnkey integrated power plant solutions and associated services for a wide variety of energy sources, including hydro, nuclear, gas, coal and wind, and it offers a wide range of solutions for power transmission, with a focus on smart grids. The Group employs 93,500 people in around 100 countries, and had sales of AUD 28.4 billion in 2010/11.

In Australia, Alstom employs over 1000 people in its transmission, power generation and transport activities. Present in the country for over 100 years, the group is responsible for major equipment generating 25% of Australia’s electricity and for providing Network Energy Management solutions to manage over 90% of the country’s electricity transmission.

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