23 Jul 2024


Yaskawa’s The Switch buys Wärtsilä marine drives business

The Switch, the Finnish specialist in advanced drivetrain technology which is owned by Yaskawa, is buying Wärtsilä’s marine drives business which produces Megawatt-scale drives for marine applications. The deal will give The Switch a stronger foothold in the growing marine drives sector and allow it to offer drivetrain components for marine applications, while Wärtsilä’s Norwegian Electrical and Automation (E&A) business will be able to focus on system-level offerings.

The acquired business encompasses Wärtsilä’s low- and medium-voltage drives for marine applications. It includes the company’s test centre and some of its manufacturing facilities in Stord, Norway. Following the acquisition, The Switch will act as a supply chain partner for Wärtsilä’s E&A business, as well as being able to offer products to other customers. The two company’s marine R&D teams will collaborate closely.

The marine sector is taking off for The Switch as the market shows a growing acceptance of its permanent-magnet drive technology.

“At the moment, the oil and gas market is in a slump,” says Jukka-Pekka Mäkinen, The Switch’s president and CEO. “Yet, we are taking a longer perspective in our views of this market. Now is a good time to engineer future-proof solutions for marine. Once the market picks up, we’ll be ready to implement them.”

The Switch was formed in 2006 as a spin-off of several Finnish companies, including the drives-maker Vacon, and was acquired by Yaskawa in 2014. It has an installed base of more than 11GW of permanent magnet machine and power converter packages, and it focuses on windpower, marine and special industrial applications. It employs around 175 people and achieved sales worth €39.8m in 2015. Its headquarters are in Helsinki, Finland.

Wärtsilä’s marine drive systems are already used in “hundreds” of vessels.