Siemens Gamesa’s Danish blade plant celebrates 20-year anniversary

Assensvej's wind blade factory
Brande / 27 June 2022

Time flies when you are busy. On June 27, 2002, the first blade was cast in the newly built blade factory in Assensvej in Aalborg, Denmark. Back then, nobody could have imagined that this would not only be a valuable addition to the local industry, but also would create a success story about how innovation and expert knowledge would cross borders and continents to multiply its impact on the good of our planet.
Corporate Affairs Department
The foundations of what was to become the first blade plant in the world to produce wind turbine blades in one piece was, however, already taking place in a former horse stable a few kilometers away in 1998. The Danish branch of Siemens Gamesa - at that time the Danish wind turbine manufacturer Bonus Energy –decided to investigate ways to develop its own blade technology. They rented the former horse stable, and a blade development department was established with three employees. In1999, the first blade, a B30 blade, was cast and in 2000 the first set of prototype blades produced with the IntegralBlade technology was mounted on a 1.3 MW turbine.
The first recyclable blades were developed in Aalborg
The reason for setting up a blade design department in-house was to transfer the technology to sub-suppliers and buy the blades from them. However, this changed in 2001 when Bonus Energy won the order for 72 units of 2.3 MW wind turbines with 40-meter-long blades for the Danish offshore wind farm, Nysted Havmoellepark, on condition that they could be delivered in the summer of 2003. Time was scarce, and Bonus decided to cast the blades in-house. 150,000 m2 of land was bought at Assensvej in Aalborg and in only six months, an empty field was transformed into a ready-to-operate blade plant!
Pioneering in the veins
The IntegralBlade technology, where the blade is cast in only one piece, was and still is unique. So is the technology behind the Recyclable Blade which was also developed in Aalborg where the first recyclable blades – type B81 – were produced in 2021. The pioneering spirit is a key characteristic of Plant Aalborg. Right from the beginning and up until today, it was the place where innovative ideas are transformed into tangible results. Be it product innovation, work methods, manufacturing equipment or similar, Plant Aalborg takes up the challenge of finding solutions and is used as the primary pilot factory where new technologies or work methods are tested and refined before they are introduced as daily operations in Aalborg or other Siemens Gamesa blade plants across the world.

Many of Siemens Gamesa’s other blade plants also produce blades with the IntegralBlade technology. When they all were starting up , experts from Aalborg readily packed their suitcases and travelled to share their experiences with new colleagues to bring the new blade plants up and running as quickly as possible. Ken Kaser, Head of Offshore Operations, says: “Congratulations to the team at Plant Aalborg! I always enjoy going there. The dedication and can-do attitude of our colleagues there is just a pleasure to be around. We have looked to Plant Aalborg to solve the toughest problems and take the biggest process and technology leaps and as a true team player..”
“What a journey it has been”
Today, more than 1,670 colleagues are working in Aalborg, and 39 of them were also employed back in 2002. Maj-Brit Soerensen from Production Support is one of them and says: “What a journey it has been! I will never forget the day when the first 40 m blade was cast. We were all called out into the production hall to watch the upper mold being lifted, and we could see the cast blade. It was just like a baby being born! It was huge compared to the 30 m blade standing next to it, and we talked about how this was the limit; that blades would never get longer than 40 m!”
Plant Aalborg historic photo in 2004
Many things have changed in 20 years, but some have not. Maj-Brit explains: “Now, just like back in 2002, Siemens Gamesa is striving to constantly improve and grow. And it is not only the management team, employees in all parts of the factory are very engaged, take responsibility and contribute with ideas and suggestions for improvements. As employees, we are listened to and good ideas are implemented if possible, which is a great motivating factor. I am proud to work for Siemens Gamesa, and I know many others are too. We often welcome back former colleagues who for a period worked for other companies and decided to come “home”.

The way Siemens Gamesa’s activities in Aalborg have developed so far mirrors the development of the wind industry as such, and with the current surge in demand for renewable energy, it will be interesting to see what the future will bring. Cheers to more great developments and years in Aalborg.


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