UK-based Rolls-Royce is planning to invest £44m in its azimuth thruster production plant in Rauma, Finland.
The investment aims to consolidate the company's assembly and test capabilities, as well as modernise operations to enable future growth opportunities.
As part of the new investment, rebuilding of existing facilities, transfer of thruster assembly and testing onto one site from the existing two locations will be carried out.
Scheduled to be completed by 2020, work to transform Rauma will also include installation of a crane that is capable of lifting 200t, and at least six factory acceptance test rigs. Offices and IT systems will also be refurbished, with plans for significant investment in new equipment.
Rolls-Royce marine president Mikael Makinen said: "Our azimuth thrusters are one of our most important products, providing mission critical power and propulsion for some of the largest floating objects on the planet.
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"To be able to make this significant investment in Rauma not only prepares us for future growth in this market, but is a vote of confidence in the capability and expertise of our people."
The Rauma site manufactures several mechanical azimuth thrusters for use on various applications, such as semi-submersible drilling rigs, and drillships, tugs, and offshore vessels.
The site also makes thrusters for specialist vessels, such as icebreakers and polar research ships.
Rolls-Royce Finland managing director Olli Rantanen said: "Since the first azimuth thruster was developed here in Rauma over 50 years ago, these products have become the standard choice for customers demanding very high levels of reliability, power and performance often in extremely challenging environments.
"This investment will allow us to plan for the future, and enable us to efficiently produce our existing range and develop new and larger mechanical thrusters."
Azimuthing thrusters are designed to rotate through 360 degrees and provide propulsion and manoeuvrability without a rudder.
Rolls-Royce's Rauma plant has produced ARC type thrusters, which power icebreakers, including the Finnish vessel Fennica.
The ARC type thrusters can weigh up to 190t and help generate 7.5MW of power.
Image: Rolls-Royce will invest £44m in its azimuth thruster production plant in Rauma, Finland. Photo: courtesy of Rolls-Royce plc.