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From Site Selection magazine, November 2011

Cold Storage

Google’s facility in Finland may signal a cold trend for data centers.
Photo courtesy of Google

oogle is using seawater to keep its servers cool at its recently opened data center in Hamina, Finland. Google purchased a former paper mill from Finnish company Stora Enso in 2009 and converted the 60-year-old facility into a $265-million data center. Industry observers speculate this could launch a data center movement toward frigid locales.

Google says the facility, which became operational in September, is serving users in Europe and across the globe and is one of the company's most advanced and efficient data centers. Its high-tech cooling system, which uses seawater from the Bay of Finland, reduces energy usage and keeps its computers running smoothly. Google says the novel system is the first of its kind in the world.

"Now that we're operational, we have more than 90 people working on site as computer technicians; mechanical, electrical and water (HVAC) engineers; facilities and grounds maintenance staff; catering; and security personnel," Google says in its blog. "Over 90 percent of the staff are Finnish, and a majority already live in the local community. As we build out capacity at the data center, we will continue to hire locally as much as possible."

ABB Launches New Factory in Shanghai

ABB’s marine propulsion system facility makes its debut in Shanghai.
Photos courtesy of ABB

BB has opened a new global manufacturing base in Shanghai featuring Azipod C, the company's advanced green marine propulsion system. Located in the Lingang New Development Zone, the new facility covers 37,000 sq. m. (398,490 sq. ft.) with a current annual output of 60 units. "With this latest move, our total investment in Shanghai amounts to $50 million this year," said Claudio Facchin, chairman and president of ABB North Asia and China.

In China, Azipod C has been installed in a variety of vessels, including the ferry line between Yantai-Dalian, delivering 20- to 30-percent lower fuel consumption.

"China is now one of the world's major shipbuilding countries. The new base will bring us closer to the key shipbuilding markets and enable us to better serve the fast-growing market for high-end vessels as more Chinese shipyards shift their focus in this direction," said Heikki Soljama, global head of ABB's marine and cranes business unit. "We will continue to apply advanced technology and quality management standards in manufacturing to meet the expectations of our customers in China and around the world."

BASF Boosts Capacity In Japan, Taiwan and Bahrain

BASF’s mobile emissions catalysts products target customers in Japan who are required to meet increasingly stringent emissions control regulations. 
Photos courtesy of BASF

ASF is doubling production capacity for its heavy-duty diesel emissions catalysts in Japan. The expansion will be conducted by N.E. Chemcat Corp., a 50-50 joint venture between BASF Group and Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., Ltd., and will expand capacity at the existing N.E. Chemcat Tsukuba plant in Ibaraki, Japan. The project is expected to be completed in early 2013.

"This expansion project will extend our leadership in the Japanese mobile emissions catalysts market," said Akira Okumura, president of N.E. Chemcat Corporation.

Japan is one of the largest manufacturers of heavy-duty diesel vehicles, accounting for approximately 10 percent of global production of on-road and off-road vehicles. This market is expected to continue growing by approximately 5 percent per annum, while catalyst demand in Japan is expected to grow at an even higher rate, driven by increasingly stringent emissions regulations.

"The timing of this investment is a clear indication of our continued commitment to our customers in Japan and our belief in the strength and resilience of the Japanese automotive and heavy-duty diesel markets," said Dr. Lothar Laupichler, BASF's vice president, Mobile Emissions Catalysts, Asia-Pacific.

Elsewhere in Asia, BASF in September started a new production plant for Chemical Mechanical Planarization (CMP) products at its KuanYin site in Taoyuan, Taiwan. The plant is designed for the production of BASF's proprietary CMP slurries for more advanced semiconductor manufacturing (pictured). The new plant will replace the company's existing CMP slurry production plant in Longtan to support the strong growth path for its CMP business.

Also in September, BASF began building a new plant for customer specific antioxidant blends (CSB) in Bahrain, at Bahrain International Investment Park. CSBs are key additives for the production of polymers for the plastics industry. The plant, one of the world's largest CSB plants with an annual capacity of about 16,000 metric tons, will be operational by the end of 2012. The new plant will come in addition to the existing manufacturing agreement for CSBs with Astra Polymer in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Nestlé Investing Around the Globe

Nestlé CEO Paul Bulcke, left, shows Johann Schneider-Ammann, head of the Swiss Federal Department of Economic Affairs, around the new facility in Konolfingen.
Photo courtesy of Nestlé


estlé has opened a new $217-millionproduction unit at its nutrition factory complex in Konolfingen, Switzerland. The event marks the completion of a four-year, $435-million total investment to create a world-leading center of excellence for specialized infant formulas and healthcare nutrition products. The factory complex is located in the canton of Berne in west-central Switzerland. The new unit will produce Nestlé Nutrition probiotic infant formulas for export to more than 80 countries around the world, as well as healthcare nutrition products for the recently established Nestlé Health Science business.

"Our investment in Konolfingen reflects our confidence in not only the quality, but also the creativity of Swiss industry," said Paul Bulcke, CEO of Nestlé"We are committed to Switzerland for the long term. It has been Nestlé's home for the past 145 years and it will continue to be so."

The Konolfingen site also produces infant formula capsules for BabyNes, the premium nutrition system for babies launched by Nestlé in May 2011, for sale exclusively in Switzerland.

Nestlé also has three major expansions planned in Asia:

  • A new $200-million factory under way in Karawang, West Java, Indonesia, is due to begin production of infant cereals and chocolate malt drinks in early 2013.
  • Nestlé will invest more than $106 million in Thailand to increase manufacturing of its products including coffee and ice cream.
    The two year investment will support the expansion of the company's existing factories in Thailand, as well as the construction of a new Nestlé Quality Assurance Center.
  • Nestlé is investing $270 million in a new coffee factory in Vietnam to reinforce its global Nescafé Plan and commitment to the country. The factory, to be located in Dong Nai province and fully operational by 2013, will produce products under the Nescafé brand for both local consumption and export. It will create 200 jobs.

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