KMT Robotic Solutions, Inc. (KMT-RS) and Stiles Machinery Inc. announced the sale of a wind turbine blade root end cut and drill system to Energetx Composites LLC of Holland, Mich. The order was the result of these three Michigan businesses diversifying to include wind energy in their expertise and working together to engineer a manufacturing solution for root end processing. This “Michigan triple play” will maximize the effect of this capital investment on the state, according to KMT-RS. The project is made possible by funding provided by the Bureau of Energy Systems, Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
Energetx Composites was launched in the summer of 2008 to focus on the manufacture of wind turbine blades, building on the expertise developed as boat builder S2 Yachts. A new facility is planned for the production of utility-scale blades that measure 150 feet and beyond in length. There are plans to employ up to 750 people in this facility over the next five years.
Energetx contracted with Stiles Machinery, another Michigan company, to act as its project manager, focused on assembling the equipment required for this new facility. “Many companies are unaware of the breadth of equipment that Stiles represents,” says Stephan Waltman, vice president of marketing for Stiles. “We provide machinery and services within the wood industry, plastics, metals, composites, and more. We are extremely pleased to help Energetx in their endeavor to grow this industry and offer new employment opportunities in Michigan.”
Stiles is headquartered in Grand Rapids, Mich., and recommends, supplies, and supports production solutions. Stiles began focusing on the emerging composites industry, particularly wind energy and aerospace, in late 2007. Since then the company has integrated a broad range of industrial machining solutions.
KMT Robotic Solutions of Auburn Hills, Mich., built on its expertise of trimming composite parts for the boat, bath, and truck industries, expanding into wind energy in 2007. KMT-RS provides robotic automation for the processing of wind turbine blade root ends. The solution provided to Energetx is based on KMT-RS’s RoboTrim WT-2000 Root Cut and Drill system. This system will use drilling process technology that is said to be 25 percent faster than previously available, as well as patent-pending KMT-RS technology designed to quickly locate the blade, minimizing the set-up time.
“It is a thrill and an honor for our team to work with two other Michigan companies to meet robotic automation needs and bring jobs to the state,” says Kevin McManus, president and CEO of KMT Robotic Solutions. “Diversifying the Michigan manufacturing base and creating contributions to local economies is important work and this project is a win-win-win for Michigan manufacturing.”