Machine Tool Developer Targets Renewable Energy Businesses

May 5, 2010
MAGs new business unit will focus on automation for solar panels, wind turbines

Machine tool builder MAG Industrial Automation Systems has formed a new business unit to target manufacturers of solar panels and wind turbine components. MAG’s Renewable Energy Business operations are centered in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, and Hebron, Ky., and are headed by Dr. Siegfried Schmalzried in Europe/Asia and Joe Jones in the Americas.

MAG is a holding company for a number of brands of machine tools, including brands such as Cincinnati, Cross Hüller, Fadal, Giddings & Lewis, Hüller Hille, Witzig & Frank, Hessapp, Ex-Cell-O, Honsberg, and Boehringer.

"In recent months, we have secured $30 million in contracts, which represents an approximate 30 percent share of our targeted market, putting us on track for our goal to produce 10 percent of MAG's annual revenue," Jones stated. "While our business unit is new, MAG itself is already firmly established in the renewable energy sector, having quietly built a worldwide leadership position in automated manufacturing systems for solar panels, not to mention composites processing."

MAG says it has supplied more than 30 automated production lines for solar panels worldwide in the past five years, ranging from ranging from semiautomatic modules to complete turnkey factories, and that those systems have reduced manufacturing costs for solar panels to record lows.

"In recent years, we have pivoted our composites and machine tool automation businesses to concentrate on wind turbine components,” Jones explained, “allowing us to bring to market new systems for automated lay-up of composite wind blades, finishing, and root-end drilling, all of them based on proven technologies and modules."

MAG developed composites processing automation technology in the 1980s for aerospace industry, and currently it is sharing a $7-million grant from Michigan to develop a wind-hub machining cell for high-volume manufacturing, and to develop of carbon-fiber turbine blades. "This unique hub machining cell will increase production rates from the current standard of one per day to as many as five per day, cutting machining times from 20-24 hours per part to just over four hours," Jones said.

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