A global company's intelligent, state-of-the-art factory is on its way to Canada – and it's heading straight for Ontario. GE Power, a General Electric Company division focused on power generation solutions, is set to break ground in Welland, Ontario this year on a multi-modal facility that will feature cutting-edge data science and analytics technology to enhance efficiency and streamline production. This will be the first facility of its kind in Canada.

"We are building digital Internet of things components into a factory that can work on multiple products as economic and market conditions require," says Kim Warburton, VP of Communications and Public Affairs at GE Canada, headquartered in Mississauga. "It's the marrying of all these pieces together – digitization and multi-modal – that's really taking this facility to the next generation of factory."

The move from Wisconsin to Ontario

The new factory, which is expected to open in early 2018, will launch with a production line for GE Power's Waukesha reciprocating gas engines. Currently manufactured in GE's facility in Wisconsin, these high-speed engines are designed to produce cleaner energy while reducing customers' fuel expenses with more efficient power generation.

GE plans to build other products, such as components for locomotive engines, in the Welland facility, says Ms. Warburton.

"It's not a facility that's being built for just one thing," she says. "That's why we call it a 'brilliant' factory."

Ms. Warburton says GE searched across Canada for a potential site for its new facility. Welland stood out as the best choice.

Ontario provides access to a diverse talent pool

"In the Niagara-Welland area, you have a lot of skilled people who bring the different types of skill sets we need," says Ms. Warburton. "It's not all engineers, it's also technologists and various other types of skilled workers. Plus you've got Niagara College in the region, so you also have access to skilled people through this educational facility."

GE plans to hire 150 workers when it opens its new factory in 2018. With Welland's labour force of approximately 200,000 people, the company is confident about finding the right people.

"As we add in more business lines, we expect to employ more people," says Ms. Warburton. "We will start hiring this summer (of 2016)."

Proximity to U.S. is a key selling point

Ms. Warburton says ease of access to markets was also a key factor in GE's decision to set up shop in Welland, which is just 30 minutes away from the U.S. border and boasts a robust transportation infrastructure.

"We wanted to be in close proximity to the U.S. border," says Ms. Warburton. "Welland's location, combined with a really good labour force, made it an ideal location for the new facility."

A one-window approach to site selection

Ontario's collaborative approach was especially useful during GE's site selection process, notes Ms. Warburton.

"The way the ministry did this was to assign one specific person for us to work with," she says. "It was a one-window approach – we always felt like we were working with the province, the region and the municipality and that everyone was providing information, data and insight. It was fantastic."


June 9, 2016

Share on

Feedback: Was this page useful?

Talk to a business consultant

Request a conversation

Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign up now

Newsletter Sign Up

Form is for business purposes.

Back to top