Manufacturing expansion in Japan and Mexico

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In response to "continuing brisk market demand, particularly in the US," Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) is expanding manufacturing capability at its two wind turbine production facilities in Japan and at a blade plant in Mexico. Longer term it plans to expand into the European market, says the company's Yoshinori Ueda. The focus for now is firmly on meeting demand in the US where the company has secured orders for 287, 2.4 MW units, Ueda says. The ยด4 billion ($33.68 million) it is investing in its wind turbine production facility in Japan will triple output from the 400 MW, it expects to reach by the end 2008 financial year. Blade production at the VienTek plant in Mexico -- a joint venture between MHI's power system business subsidiary in the US and American company TPI Composites -- will increase from 400 MW to 1200 MW a year. The main focus for the increase in Mitsubishi wind power equipment is its 2.4 MW machines. Some nacelle production capacity in Japan will be for its 1 MW model too. With the exception of a "very small portion," most of the wind turbines assembled at its Nagasaki and Yokohama plants will be shipped to the US market. The rest will be for domestic use. The Nagasaki plant is being refurbished and will exclusively assemble the 2.4 MW turbine, while all production of 1 MW units is being moved to Yokohama, which will soon be able to make both models. The Nagasaki plant will ramp up production to 650 MW a year while annual production at Yokohama will be 600 MW, says Ueda. He adds, that while the blade plant in Mexico will meet demand for the US market, blades for the Japanese market will still be manufactured at MHI's Nagasaki works.

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