Aggregate Industries enters £2m Siemens Strategic Partnership
Aggregate Industries and Siemens have announced a landmark strategic partnership that will see over £2m invested in cutting edge technologies to serve the growing construction sector.
The partnership will provide industrial equipment and support, with the objective of helping the business improve productivity, energy consumption and reduce both firms’ environmental impact.
The deal, which lasts until September 2015, will also see Siemens undertake a comprehensive energy and drive train review for 250 of Aggregate Industry’s sites. This is alongside the installation of technologies that will help reduce its energy consumption.
With the UK economy on the rise, its GDP last week surpassing its 2008 pre-recession peak after a period of extended contraction, Aggregate Industries is well-placed to benefit.
Non-seasonally adjusted sales volumes for asphalt, crushed rock and sand & gravel grew by 15 percent in Q1 compared to Q1 last year, all of which appear to be driving renewed growth in the aggregates sector and improving investment sentiment.
As well as the review of UK sites and investment in a portfolio of technologies, Siemens will invest £10,000 to support Aggregate Industries’ apprenticeship programme in a joint venture with Leicestershire’s Stephenson’s College. This investment means apprentices will be trained on the same equipment in the college as that used on Aggregate Industries’ sites.
The partnership signed this month will focus on three core areas: drive train technologies (industrial motors for quarries, asphalt and building materials sites); automation solutions (control room systems); and process instrumentation (for measuring weight, level and flow).
The commercial partnership with Aggregate Industries, will also offer the company scaled rebates on all purchases made with Siemens. Siemens provided a complete turnkey solution, with design, installation, commissioning and validation all overseen by professional project management to maximise the success of the UK-wide programme.
Siemens Industry’s Aggregate and Minerals specialist Robert Thrower said: “This deal provides economies of scale that will deliver significant cost savings to Aggregate Industries. Siemens’ reliability increases overall equipment effectiveness and ensuring consistency of supply means less downtime and more productivity.
“Ultimately there is growing confidence in the economy; the recovery is feeding through the supply chain. We are seeing a boom in construction, led by a housing recovery which is feeding into the aggregate sector and in turn the manufacturing sector. This deal reflects the good news in the wider economy.”
Aggregate Industries, which in 2009 was the first in its sector to achieve the Carbon Trust Standard across all of its UK operations, has maintained a long-standing commitment to reduce its energy consumption. This includes reducing the risk and exposure to unsustainable fossil fuels and reducing embodied CO2 impact of its products. The company is in the midst of an ambitious renewable energy programme to reduce carbon output.
A number of other Siemens businesses are now engaging with Aggregate Industries, including the Wind Turbine and Traffic Management teams. Siemens is already the principal partner on a number of sites including the Glensanda Quarry in Scotland.
Aggregate Industries operates three self-unloading vessels - two with a carrying capacity of 97,000 tonnes and one with 37,000 tonnes.
Gerard Cantwell, from Aggregate Industries, added: “Our technology partnership with Siemens will put us at the cutting edge of the UK minerals market, allowing us to improve our cost base and boost productivity - so we can serve a rapidly recovering economy. We are also investing in the future of young people through our apprenticeship scheme because as a business we’re committed to developing our employees and giving back to those communities we work in – this is a great opportunity to do both at the same time.
“By investing in energy reduction we are killing two birds with one stone - reducing costs and building on our commitment to reduce carbon consumption in a traditionally heavy consumption industry.”
Through continued innovation and investment Aggregate Industries have been certified ‘The Responsible Source’ - offering a diverse portfolio of sustainable solutions to complement their traditional product offering.
Operating across the UK, Channel Islands and Northern Europe, Aggregate Industries is a member of the Holcim Group.
Skanska invests $225m in Houston office project
Skanska is investing US$225m in an office development project, 1550 on the Green in Houston, with construction expected to begin in June and scheduled to be completed in 2024.
The construction contract is worth US$125M, which will be included in the Q2 order bookings. International law firm Norton Rose Fulbright has signed a 15-year lease for about 30 percent of the building.
Located at 1550 Lamar Street, adjacent to Discovery Green, in downtown Houston, Skanska plans to develop and build a 28-floor, 34,800 square meter office tower.
1550 on the Green will be the first part of a three-block master plan by Skanska, which will transform the parcels into a distinguished district known as Discovery West and consist of 3.5 acres of mixed-use development full of restaurants, retail and lush green space. The project will target LEED and WiredScore Platinum certifications.
Since 2009, Skanska has invested a total of US$2.8 billion in commercial and multi-family projects, creating more than 1 million square meters of sustainable and community focused developments in select U.S. markets. Skanska USA had sales of SEK66 billion in 2020 with 7,600 employees in its operations.
Skanska’s flagship London office has set the standard in sustainable workspaces by becoming the first in the UK to achieve WELL Platinum under the new v2 pilot scheme.
The accreditation from the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) was awarded through the v2 pilot, the newest version of the WELL Building Standard. It looks at all building features and management processes – from air and water quality to lighting, acoustics, nutrition, thermal comfort and mental wellbeing. It’s widely recognised as the industry yardstick for measuring how workspaces can contribute to the wellbeing of occupants.
The offices – which span three floors of the newly developed 51 Moorgate – contain floor-to-ceiling windows for extensive natural light, dedicated wellbeing and quiet spaces, as well as stringent air and water quality monitoring, among a range of other features that have helped earn the standard.
The company has also been exploring drone flights for use in industrial environments.
Peter Cater, Development Manager, said it was invited to carry out trials because of its use and knowledge of drone capability. "The trials have benefited everyone involved: sees.ai get to test their equipment and remote use of the drones and we get access to accurate, real-time data on our construction activities which benefits us and our customer, the Defence Infrastructure Organisation."
“Projects like this – at the forefront of innovation – go to show what an exciting industry construction is to be involved in. We are always looking for innovative ways of working, ways to be more sustainable so we can find better solutions for our customers. These trials are just one small part of our digital transformation journey.”