Waukesha Moves To Welland

After months of speculation, GE names Welland, Canada, as location for new Waukesha engine plant.

In September 2015 GE Power announced plans to move the manufacturing location of Waukesha brand gas engines from the city of Waukesha, Wisconsin, to a new facility in Canada. For months, speculation grew as GE remained tight-lipped as to where in Canada the plant would be located.

GE has selected Welland, Ontario, Canada, as the location for its new multi-modal “Brilliant Factory.”

The 450,000 sq.ft (41,806 m2) facility, expected to begin production in early 2018, will initially manufacture GE Power’s reciprocating engines, components for compression, mechanical drive, and power generation, and manufacture components for GE transportation diesel engines.

Construction is expected to begin this summer on 75 acres (30 ha) of land, encompassing the entire city-owned Harry Diffin Industrial Park.

According to GE, this first–of-its-kind facility in Canada will combine decades of experience building industrial machines with cutting-edge data science and analytics expertise to enhance efficiency and streamline production. The facility will create 150 jobs in phase one.

GE said the move to Canada “was the result of the lapse of charter for the US export credit agency – the Export-Import Bank” after the US Congress failed last summer to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank, which serves as the export-financing entity for the US. GE said that financing from an export credit agency is required for it to formally bid for projects.

Welland, located roughly 12 miles (20 km) from the US border and only 40 miles (64 km) from Buffalo, New York, USA, enables GE to take advantage of Canada’s export credit agency, Export Development Canada (EDC), while maintaining quick access to the United States.

The company already has about 6,500 workers in Canada and has used the EDC to support past sales.

Since GE announced the decision, President Barack Obama signed legislation to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank for four more years. Too little too late for the Wisconsin engine plant.

“We are delighted to be building this new facility in Canada,” said Elyse Allan, president and CEO of GE Canada. “The province of Ontario and Niagara Region collaborated throughout the process, providing exceptional service and support in our site location efforts. In particular, they helped us with key requirements such as proximity to the Canada-US border, access to talent, and transportation considerations.”

“Welland offers an excellent solution for the business and provides a collaborative community environment that will attract talented employees,” said Heiner Markhoff, President and CEO of GE Power’s Water and Distributed Power Business. “The new ‘brilliant factory’ we build there will be the foundation on which we grow our reciprocating gas engines business for decades to come.”