As a part of the project, Wärtsilä will invest EUR83m ($95.9m) in modern testing and production technology for the hub. The total investment in the Smart Technology Hub will be in the region of EUR200m, consisting of office and factory buildings, logistics and infrastructure, the technology company said in a press release.
"Constant renewal is in Wärtsilä's DNA," president ceo Jaakko Eskola. "This company was established in 1834 as a sawmill in the village of Värtsilä in Tohmajärvi, and now it is the global leader in smart technology and complete lifecycle solutions for the marine and energy markets. The Vaasa Smart Technology Hub represents another generational shift for us – it will bring Wärtsilä's expertise into a whole new realm."
The Smart Technology Hub is the latest tangible step in Wärtsilä's Smart Marine and Smart Energy visions. The hub will be unique in its field, enabling more agile, more efficient testing and product development of solutions for the maritime, oil and gas industries, as well as new energy systems.
"The Smart Technology Hub will become an important part of Wärtsilä's worldwide network of centres of expertise," said director of R&D and engineering Hannu Mäntymaa. "By sharing what we have learned in our various units, we will be able to provide our customers with even better products and services. We will develop processes at the Vaasa Smart Technology Hub, which we will be able to deploy in other locations."
The Smart Technology Hub will invite other operators in the sectors and researchers to collaborate. The vision is to create a partners' campus where research and product development take place together with Wärtsilä's customers and suppliers, start-ups in the sector and universities.
"Amazing ideas do not just appear out of thin air," stated Wärtsilä Finland md Vesa Riihimäki. "By bringing together experts from different walks of life – both from business and from the university world – we will build an inspiring environment for new creativity."
Planning of the Smart Technology Hub is well underway, and the new centre will open its doors in Vaskiluoto in 2020. The Vaasa region is already the leading energy technology cluster in the Nordic region, and the developing area of Vaskiluoto will further reinforce the region's significance and potential as a global trendsetter. Wärtsilä is the largest private-sector employer in Vaasa with around 3,000 personnel, and the Vaasa unit is Wärtsilä's largest location. Wärtsilä has approximately 400 employees in Turku and almost 500 in Helsinki.
The Group's transformation into a technology services company has necessitated property investments in smart technology, new working methods and sustainable development throughout the organisation. Alongside the Smart Technology Hub, the most visible renewal projects have included the new business premises in Runsor, Vaasa, and the Wärtsilä Helsinki Campus in Salmisaari, Helsinki, due for completion in the late autumn. The value of these investments is just under EUR20m.