Mitsubishi Hitachi powers the province

1 Nov 2014
The StarPhoenix
SCOTT LARSON
Mitsubishi Hitachi powers the province
It has been more than a quarter century since Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Canada Ltd. set up shop in Saskatoon, though the relationship with the province dates back even further.
In 1970, Hitachi made its first sale of a steam turbine generator in the North American market to SaskPower for the Queen Elizabeth Power Station in Saskatoon.
“That started a long and fruitful relationship between the two companies that exists to this day,” said Tom Kishchuk, president and CEO of the Saskatoon operations. “(Now) about 50 per cent of the power that is generated in Saskatchewan is generated by Mitsubishi Hitachi equipment.”
Hitachi opened its Saskatoon facility in 1988 and earlier this year was part of a merger with Mitsubishi.
“We are part of the joint venture of Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems based in Japan and we supply components for the power generation industry to build steam, gas and hydro turbines,” Kishchuk said. “We also provide shop and field services to support the existing fleet of power generation equipment in Canada.”
The merger has been positive for the plant as it has meant access to a broader line of gas and steam turbine equipment, and they now have a sister facility in Savannah, Ga.
“We are a complementary group.”
There is a wide range and size of components, from small bolts to massive projects.
Two-hundred and seventy-five people work at Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Canada in Saskatoon, using technology to tighten the tiniest bolt which might operate the largest power-generating turbine unit. In 1988, the facility employed 25 people.
“We could see some parts in the shop for up to a year if they are very large,” Kishchuk said. “Or on the service side, we may see parts on the shop floor for a few hours.”
The oil and gas sector has ordered some of the largest components the facility has ever built.
“The largest one that we manufactured, we shipped about five years ago,” Kishchuk said. “It was a very large pressure vessel and it weighed about 385 metric tons. It was about six metres in diameter and about 60 metres long.”
It went to Fort McMurray, Alta., on a specialized truck and had to be shipped in February because the roads had to be completely frozen to adhere to weight restrictions.
“It took about eight days and the travel speed was about 15 km/h.”
He said a smaller project is getting a call from a power plant in Saskatchewan or Alberta saying, “we’re taking something apart and have broken a bolt, we need a new one. So we’ll turn that around overnight in those cases.”
In 1988, the facility employed 25 people. Now there are 275 employees working in a number of buildings over 20 acres in the north part of Saskatoon.
General manager Ricardo Silva says the merger earlier this year has brought new ventures to the facility.
“This is a good opportunity to bring other opportunities to Saskatoon,” Silva said.
“And we are still looking for people,” Silva said, adding skilled workers at the facility include machinists, engineers, technologists, welders, fabricators and painters.

About prosperitysaskatchewan

Consultant on Saskatchewan's natural resources.

Posted on November 2, 2014, in economic impact, miscellaneous. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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