A site move for Siemens Transmission Solutions employees creates opportunity for collaboration with colleagues that delivers real value for customers.
When modern technology combines with a rich engineering heritage a tour de force is created that demonstrates success lies in the power of a strong union and a willingness to collaborate. One such union is Siemens’ power generation and transmission solutions teams who are about to enter a new phase in a decades-long relationship that will result in customer service excellence and full EPC grid connection and power generation capability.
This summer, more than a hundred Siemens Transmission Solutions employees will leave their offices in Hebburn - South Tyneside - to join their power generation colleagues in Newcastle upon Tyne. The move signals a reunification of these two sides of the business, both of which have strong roots in the north-east of England.
Once known as C.A. Parsons and Company (Parsons) and Reyrolle, the companies were recognised as engineering powerhouses in the area. Parsons was founded in Newcastle in 1889 by Charles Algernon Parsons to manufacture his own invention – the steam turbine – and, at the peak of its success in the 1960s, employed more than 7,000 people. Similarly, Alphonse Constant Reyrolle set up his business – Reyrolle - in Hebburn, manufacturing switchgear for power stations and substations around the world. Also a major employer, the company had around 12,000 people in its heyday.
Recognising the opportunity to collaborate and expand both businesses they merged in 1968, before being acquired by Rolls Royce in 1989 and then Siemens in 1998. This year, after over two decades apart, the two businesses will be back under one roof to deliver a true EPC solution that is unparalleled by any other original equipment manufacturer (OEM).
Mark Tiernan, Managing Director, Siemens Transmission Substations, says: “This is a move that will benefit our business, our people and, most importantly, our customers. Our customers having the ability to come to Siemens Energy as a ‘one stop shop’ for all their power solution needs provides the flexibility and skills to deliver optimum value. Also, from a personal perspective, having started my career as an apprentice at a time when the companies were previously merged, it is a real honour to be part of bringing these great organisations together again”.
Co-location focused on customers
The power generation business is expert in designing and building and servicing power plants from relatively small to extremely large, and with the transmissions solutions business using its own skillset for DNO and transmission substation design, a natural crossover for collaboration was already in play.
Steve Clifford, Head of Sales and Tendering for Transmission Solutions, says: “We already work together on various projects, but with everyone on one site it will become easier. We’re currently working together on a transmission grid stability project with high levels of project complexity. It’s purpose is to improve grid stability, in particular inertia within the grid, which has two potential solutions: build on a greenfield site or convert existing power generation sites. Either one of these solutions employs strengths from the power generation and transmission teams so we’re working together to explore the best option. The move will definitely benefit this process.”
With greater and easier access to colleagues, the decision-making process across joint projects will be more efficient and face-to-face meetings will reduce the reliance on lengthy cross-site email trails to improve response time. Ultimately, the key objective in investing in the co-location of power generation and transmission is to create a simplified experience for customers and provide a one-stop shop for genuine EPC end-to-end solutions.
Close collaboration earns a ‘UK first’
At Keadby, in Lincolnshire, Siemens is building what will be the country’s most efficient combined cycle power plant. A collective approach to the power generation and transmission design of the plant means customer – SSE - achieves a UK first with the inclusion of a Siemens 9000HL gas turbine and innovative high-voltage grid connection.
A collaborative approach taken, not just between Siemens teams, but also with the customer resulted in the best outcome for the HV grid connection. Steve Clifford says: “The solution proposed by the client involved complex overhead line modifications with the associated consents and wayleave issues, so we had to come up with an alternative. With our first proposal rejected, we had further discussion and developed a more detailed design to show how our cable solution met the programme and reduced risk. This meant the client was happy to proceed. Close collaboration – and not discounting the first rejected option – meant we delivered the optimum design solution.”
Mark Birley, Project Manager, SSE, says: “Having a complete power generation solution, including the HV Grid Connection, offers advantages for SSE in terms of coordination of works and reduction in delivery risk. Siemens has risen to the challenges presented and offered the ability to achieve this, providing value for both parties in the construction of the Keadby 2 Project.”
Employees and customers to benefit from move
Greater cooperation between the two businesses will undoubtedly enhance customer relations. As a centre of competence in the north east, customers will have improved interaction with Siemens employees and benefit from increased responsiveness.
There will also be significant gains for employees with one site creating one team. The opportunity to develop already successful working relationships will create a cohesive approach to project support in the future, showing Siemens as it is: a true power player in the energy market.