As of March 1, 2018, the start of our new fiscal year, we became Yaskawa Environmental Energy Division with global responsibility in our selected areas of wind, marine, and turbo/industry applications. For us, this now provides a good foundation to continue focusing on our mission to electrify the world with ultimate efficiency, using the pioneering products that The Switch has created and developed for over a decade.
For the past four years, after being acquired by Yaskawa in July 2014, we have been working closely with the Environmental Energy Department of the Yaskawa System Division in Japan. In our joint development and business activities, we’ve been able to build cross-cultural collaboration and, for example, open the Japanese market for our projects in all of our main segments.
Now as part of Yaskawa Europe as of March 1, this work will continue. We are excited about being able to expand our product range with the state-of-the-art products that already exist in Yaskawa, such as the wide range of low-voltage converters, highlighted by the unique matrix converter U1000. Yaskawa Europe is present in numerous countries throughout Europe, as well as in the Middle East and South Africa. This will open many doors for us and offer us new possibilities with local representation.
We have received funding for a multimillion-euro investment project that enables us to take a leading role in environmentally sustainable energy by extending our Lappeenranta facility to include a test center for advanced drivetrains up to 15 MW. Additionally, we are starting a four-year R&D program that is being supported by Business Finland. The aim is to develop new converters and machines to support our business goals.
These investments and activities support Yaskawa’s goal to gain a stronger European presence as a company. Additionally, combining our capabilities with the R&D resources of Yaskawa Europe will make us a significant player in drivetrain technologies, where we have been experiencing a very strong increase in demand for next-generation products.
For instance, our permanent magnet shaft generators have changed the game in marine for future-proofing operations. Our high-speed motors have transformed the technology used in pulp and paper vacuum pumps. And our permanent magnet generators (PMGs) and full-power converters (FPCs) have become the standard in high-power wind turbines.
All of this has been achieved by concentrated development efforts together with our innovative and visionary customers, who have had the determination and courage to make a change in the world with game-changing technology. In some cases, it’s taken some 15 years to reach the goal – but that shows that there’s still a lot of work to still be done to bring the same shift to drivetrain technology as has taken place in electronics and telecommunications.