Siemens factory in Hull comes alive with Transformers, whales and dinosaur tails

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 2 Dec 2016

As the first giant wind turbine blades roll off the production line at Hull's Siemens factory. Angus Young takes a tour.

The first thing you notice about the place is the sheer size of everything.

Inside the cavernous Siemens factory, giant blade moulds snake into the distance.

Huge clamping machines which can rotate the blades 360 degrees stand ready for action like Transformer robots.

Two massive enclosed units lit by racks of fluorescent lighting turn out to be equivalent of car bodywork paint shops where a finishing coat is applied.

A sign above each unit says: "Just plug and paint" but I'm sure it's slightly more complicated than that.

Then there are the blades themselves.

Measuring 75 metres long, they cure and sparkle under the factory lights.

"Some people say they look like dinosaur tails, I prefer to compare them to whales," says factory director Jason Speedy.

The first finished blade made its debut yesterday in front of 200 invited guests, including business and energy secretary Greg Clark, and a large gathering of local and national media, including several reporters from specialist renewable energy publications.

If ever there was a moment for putting Hull and the wider Humber as the Energy Eastuary on the map, this was it.

Among the audience were three government ministers, three Hull MPs, a host of international company chief executives and the Lord Mayor.

Siemens chief executive Juergen Maier spoke passionately about what he described as a "historic moment " for the city and the renewable energy sector.

"It's a proud day for all of us who have been involved in this project," he said.

He highlighted the 97 per cent recruitment rate for staff living within a 30-mile radius of Hull ("isn't that fantastic?") as well as the international flavour of this huge £310m investment in the city.

"This is a great example of German and Danish people helping to create 700 jobs in the UK," he said.

Aside from the sci-fi setting of the factory, the other notable feature of the day was the atmosphere around the place.

Production had been largely put on hold for the VIP tours, speeches and photo-opportunities.

But everywhere you went, smiling staff greeted you like an old friend.

Even the walls of the offices feature big images of smiling employees offering an upbeat quote about their new workplace.

Accentuating the positive seems to be one of the ground rules for everyone working there and, on the evidence of yesterday, it's easy to see why.

Interview with energy secretary Greg Clark

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