Kongsberg Maritime Ltd is going to invest £2 million (approx USD 3.2 million) in the long-term lease of new purpose-built premises in Westhill, Aberdeen. The new building will include a bespoke test tank – the first of its kind in Aberdeen – and the most advanced dynamic positioning simulator on the market.
The relocation, which is due to unprecedented growth in the company over the past two years, will lead to the Offshore Division moving from its current premises in Bridge of Don. The Kongsberg Maritime Training and Simulation Centre, which is currently based in Westhill, will also take up an entire floor at the new property, providing increased capacity to train more individuals.
The building will provide double the existing floor space over three levels, allowing for substantial future expansion. Kongsberg Maritime aims to create 15 new positions following the move, which is scheduled to take place this summer. The Camera Division will remain in the current building in Bridge of Don, which is now being refurbished and improved, providing significant opportunity for future growth and expansion.
David Shand, General Manager Offshore at Kongsberg Maritime says of the move: “We have doubled our workforce in the last 12 months and this is expected to continue to rise in the coming year. As a result, we felt it imperative to find a site which could accommodate the future growth of the organisation. Westpoint 7 will provide us with the required capacity to meet the needs of our forecasted growth during the next five to 10 years. It will also give us the ability to invest further in the development of electronic engineering graduates and apprentices from the Aberdeen area.”
The Kongsberg Maritime Training and Simulation Centre will increase its floor space by 60% providing KONGSBERG with the capacity to train more individuals. The facility has recorded its most successful year to date, with 885 delegates training at the centre in 2011. This was up 254 trainees from the previous year.
“In 2011 we had a 40% increase in the numbers of delegates attending courses at the Training and Simulation Centre,” David continues. “Limited by floor space, we hired additional training rooms out with the current facility to meet demand. The new building will add six training rooms to our current offering. We have also recruited three further training instructors at the training centre, which will allow us to increase the number of scheduled courses on offer.”
Kongsberg Maritime has also invested in the installation of innovative new features and facilities in the new building, many of which are unique to Aberdeen. One such feature is the Advanced Ship Simulator system.
David explains: “The simulator will offer delegates and prospective customers a unique opportunity to experience the most advanced dynamic positioning simulator in the market, with access to qualified trainers with real operational experience of KONGSBERG equipment. Another significant feature, the first of its kind in Aberdeen, is the bespoke test tank which has been installed on the ground floor. The 45m³ tank has been constructed with the surfaces and sides designed to minimise hydro-acoustic interference, resulting in increased accuracy during equipment assessment. Also installed beneath floor level will be a 400 bar pressure test tank which will further enhance our onsite equipment testing capabilities.”
As part of a global KONGSBERG initiative to enhance the client customer support experience, Kongsberg Maritime Ltd will become one of the first KONGSBERG divisions to install a Virtual Collaboration Centre within the customer support department. David continues: “The centre will give our customer support team the ability to instantly communicate with other global KONSGBERG support departments in a virtual environment – a set-up which will result in quicker decisions being made, shared problem-solving of live issues and improved knowledge distribution.”
Creating an inspiring and productive office environment is a priority for Kongsberg Maritime. The facility will include collaborative spaces for working as well as workshop and training facilities equipped to promote individual skills learning and development of employees.
David concludes: “The new premises will launch a new era for us at Kongsberg Maritime Ltd, and we are all incredibly excited to be involved in a project, achievable because of successful performances over the past two years. Our commitment in this new venture is a reflection of our continued desire to invest in our people, our customers and our future.”
(1 British pound = 1.5862 U.S. dollars)
Shipbuilding Tribune Staff, February 20, 2012; Image: kongsberg