Michigan makes push for wind-turbine component manufacturing

As Michigan has begun the process of reemphasizing its manufacturing base with a focus beyond the automotive sector, two local companies are in the process of launching a wind-turbine component manufacturing venture that could advance the industry’s technology.

The venture is being led by MAG Industrial Automation Systems L.L.C. and Dowding Machining Inc., with the aim of designing and manufacturing machine tools that would produce wind-turbine components at a reduced time and cost, along with producing wind turbine blades made from carbon fiber.

According to a report in Crain’s Detroit Business, MAG Industrial and Dowding Machining are seeking to be among the first to apply highly sophisticated automotive-style manufacturing processes and advanced materials to wind-turbine components manufacturing.

“The strategic goal is to drive the cost of wind energy down to the same level as carbon (based fuel),” said Roger Cope, president of MAG’s strategic business development group, in an interview with Crain’s Detroit Business. “And right now, they’re very far apart.”

One of the chief challenges is to secure financing, which is highly problematic in this economy. Cope says about $135 million is needed to fund a plant that is equipped with specially designed machine tooling.

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