ITM Power has begun a significant expansion of the manufacturing facilities at its Atlas Way site in Sheffield. The expansion includes two new test bays for acceptance testing of HGas Power-to-Gas units and the provision of a new 1MW substation.
The company has recognised the importance of optimising its existing facility to meet production demands of the increasing value of items under contract and in negotiation. In the past six months, we have completed a series of improvements to the production process to meet anticipated demand resulting from the increasing sales quotation pipeline.
ITM Power now has £8.66m of projects under contract and a further £0.81m in the final stages of negotiation, excluding income already recognised in the current financial period. The manufacturing facility, plus the use of a number of accredited local subcontractors, can currently handle a product turnover of approximately £100m per annum. The additional facilities announced today are for the provision of power for the acceptance testing of 1MW units.
New Test Bays
As a result of the company’s production planning, a potential bottle neck of ‘factory acceptance testing’ (FAT) has been identified and is being solved by the provision of two new FAT testing bays. The enclosed external bays allow for three 20ft ISO containers to be simultaneously tested.
New 1MW substation
FAT is an important part of the manufacturing process before products are shipped to site for commissioning. The testing includes periods of operation at full load and it is therefore important that the capacity for this procedure grows in step with product build capacity and increasing orders. Northern Powergrid will install a 1MW transformer, with the option to increase the supply agreement when required.
The company has also identified a site where electrolysers of up to 5MW can be tested, adding further expansion potential. Products above 5MW in capacity would undergo final acceptance testing at the customers’ sites.
Manufacturing and Testing
The standardisation of the ITM Power’s products has enabled the company to streamline its manufacturing. All products are designed in a modular way, allowing multiple units to be assembled simultaneously and providing maximum flexibility to the build schedule. As the company’s manufacturing schedule fills up, it has been important to ensure capacity can match demand. A series of sub-assemblies have been designed and a series of accredited subcontractors have been identified and are increasingly being used as part of the manufacturing process.
As part of our drive to increase productivity, delivery timescales have also been significantly reduced. We have recognised the need to offer shorter lead times to customers and continue to organise the company to meet these needs.
The company is accredited under the three major ISO accreditation standards: ISO 9001 for quality management systems; ISO 14001 for environmental management systems and BS OHSAS 18001 for occupational health and safety management.
Dr. Simon Bourne, CTO, ITM Power, commented, “Increased throughput and decreased lead times are now vital as we plan for the larger demand volumes that we are experiencing and expecting to continue. Contingency plans for expansion beyond the new, enhanced manufacturing capacity are now also in place.”