Power systems supplier Kohler is to make a multi-million-dollar investment over the next five years in its production site in northwest France to meet rapidly increasing demand for generators in the data centre market.
The work at the 42,800m² Brest plant in Brittany will result in expanded manufacturing and logistics facilities and upgraded dock infrastructure to support higher-capacity shipment by sea.
Kohler manufactures around 17,000 generators per year in Brest, with power nodes ranging from 7.5 to 4,500kVA. The investment will allow it to increase the number of large generators it produces per annum, while also introducing a new range of walk-in enclosures.
“The Brest plant provides a one-stop-shop approach to generator supply – from design and manufacture to testing and inspection, all under one roof,” says Jacky Pluchon, Vice President EMEA Power Solutions at Kohler. “The facility has undergone sustained investment recently, and this additional upgrade will boost its capabilities further still. Demand for generators from the data centre market is rising sharply, and this work will ensure that we can continue to meet customer needs on projects all over the world.”
Phase one of the upgrade, to be completed imminently, will result in two of the main docks being significantly enlarged, and new lifting beams put in place. The existing doors to the docks will also be made higher and wider to accommodate larger generator designs.
The more significant phase two, to commence later this year, will expand manufacturing, test, and logistics warehouse floor space to support anticipated growth in key markets. New gantries and cranes will also be installed to enable more streamlined production operations.
The expansion at the site will allow Kohler to introduce a new range of walk-in enclosures to house >4,000kW generators in outdoor environments characterised by extreme high and low temperatures. The business also anticipates recruitment within the production team to support this additional capacity.
“This investment will deliver increased production capacity for large diesel generators and walk-in enclosures, forming a critical part of our financial growth plans,” says Jacky Pluchon. “Factors such as more assembly space, higher ceilings and larger crane capacity will allow us to accommodate growing generator size while enabling us to improve production efficiency, safety and streamline process flow for our team and customers.”