Kohler’s big investment in France
By Mike Brezonick21 July 2021
Kohler, which earlier this year announced a major expansion of its generator set manufacturing facility in the U.S., is now planning to do the same thing offshore. The company announced it will 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 center market.
The work at the 42,800 m² (460,695 sq. ft.) Brest plant in Brittany will result in expanded manufacturing and logistics facilities and upgraded dock infrastructure to support higher-capacity shipment by sea.
Kohler said it manufactures around 17,000 generators per year in Brest, with power nodes ranging from 7.5 to 4500 kVA. The investment will allow it to increase the number of large generators it produces per year, 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,” said 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 center 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 shortly, 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, Kohler said.
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 manufacture its new range of walk-in enclosures to house generators up to 4000 kW in outdoor environments characterized 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,” said 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.”
Founded in 1966 as SDMO Industries, Kohler Power Systems EMEA is part of the Kohler group, a global manufacturer of power generation systems. Kohler acquired SDMO in 2005.