AEMT - Association of Electrical and Mechanical Trades

16 June 2017
Sulzer’s Falkirk Service Center celebrates 40 years of engineering excellence
Sulzer is an engineering business of world renown, specializing in the maintenance and repair of rotating equipment. Such expertise has seen the business provide a wide range of service solutions to industries ranging from mining to marine and rail to environmental. This knowledge is represented by Sulzer Service Centers, facilities of excellence that span across the world to service the most challenging projects. One of particular note is the Falkirk Service Center in Scotland, which this year celebrates 40 years of success while helping young engineers to achieve their aspirations.

The Falkirk Service Center (originally operated by Falkirk Electrical Winders, then Dowding & Mills) has and continues to provide a vast range of specialized services and skills for all electrical and mechanical rotating equipment; servicing the Oil & Gas, Hydro/Power, Petrochem and most general engineering industries imaginable during its 40 years of operation. Falkirk has always coupled first-class engineering expertise with state-of-the-art facilities, ensuring that reliability, quality and service are always to the expected standard.

Derek Colborn, Service Center Manager at Falkirk, has been at the facility ever since its opening: ‘Since I have been here the continuous development of the center has been obvious. Compared to when the center first opened, we now support a wider range of sectors and provide solutions to more specialist applications. What has remained consistent, however, has been a drive towards innovation. That drive has ensured that Falkirk has been supplying the utmost service throughout its 40-year history, and will continue to do so in future.’

The story of Falkirk is also one of opportunity, as the majority of its employees joined the company through the Sulzer apprentice scheme. Throughout its operations in Falkirk, Sulzer has given great thought to the future, which has presented many local opportunities for young people to develop their engineering talent. Today, the situation is no different.

Marc Stuart, Assistant General Manager at Falkirk elaborates: “I myself joined Sulzer as an apprentice, so it is something that is very much at the forefront of our approach here. We offer a 4 year Higher National Certificate (HNC) which is supported by an initial 6 month course to gain a Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) Level 3. We have developed this apprenticeship over the years as we have responded to market changes, which has kept training relevant towards tackling the engineering challenges of today. Its success is apparent when you consider that most of our management and supervisory teams have come through the Sulzer apprentice scheme, so there is a real chance of career progression for aspiring engineers.”

Sulzer enacts a structured policy of reinvestment across all of the service centers it operates, and Falkirk is no exception. On-going investment includes a new HV test cell which is due to be up and running later this year- with such upgrades giving engineers on-site access to the most modern equipment.

A notable project recently completed by the Falkirk Service Center was the refurbishment of the generator at Lochay hydropower station in the Scottish Highlands. This was a particularly specialist application to service, relying on the expert knowledge and prior experience of Sulzer engineers. Sulzer was able to carry out the work with minimal disturbance to the stunning natural surroundings, despite the logistical challenges of accessing the area.

The future for Falkirk is one of growth, as Marc explains: “At Falkirk, we aim to facilitate sustainable growth which boils down to our responsibility to pass 40 years of valuable engineering skills to the next generation. Our apprentice scheme is devised to be in line with the skills required to enable a successful career in engineering, so we can ensure that our quality is consistent and that we can continue to tackle the most demanding projects of the future. “

While 40 years of engineering excellence is a great achievement, Sulzer’s Falkirk Service Center is already looking forward to the next milestone, whether that be the next big project or anniversary. 

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16 June 2017
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