Guest blog by AWEA Communications Editor Carl Levesque
A business diversification initiative into the wind power arena by Ingersoll Machine Tools, supported by a $5 million grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), will result in the creation and retention of some 150 jobs in Rockford, Ill.
The company announced a major diversification in its activities with the introduction of two product lines specifically designed for the wind industry. The $5 million grant was awarded through the Green Industry Business Development Program, a component of Illinois’s State Energy Plan that is administered by the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and funded by ARRA.
Announcing the news at Ingersoll’s Rockford headquarters was Illinois Governor Pat Quinn (D). “We must invest in green projects that create jobs, improve the environment and further our long-term energy goals,” said Quinn. “This important funding will create and retain more than 150 green jobs in the Rockford area and marks another step forward as we continue the fight to strengthen our economy and move Illinois forward.”
Ingersoll is launching the production of a “Wind Blade Demonstrator,” which is used for automating blade production. In addition, in a separate initiative, the company is creating a “Lean Manufacturing Center” that will allow for large wind turbine mechanical components—hubs, nacelles, etc.—to be worked on. The facility will cater especially to those turbines with high rated capacities (i.e., even 5 MW and greater), President and CEO Tino Oldani told Wind Energy Weekly.
The company had already begun producing wind power components “marginally,” allowing it to “understand what you need to do to be the best,” said Oldani.
With the Wind Blade Demonstrator, Ingersoll looks to transfer to the wind industry its proprietary technology and experience in supplying composite manufacturing systems for the aviation industry, the company said.