As this blog has mentioned in the past, demand for renewable sources of energy, such as wind power, has spurred the growth of new wind turbine manufacturing businesses.
Consider the example of French-Canadian machining, fabrication and assembly company Marmen Energy, which recently opened a facility in Brandon, South Dakota, a short distance from Sioux Falls. According to an article on Manufacturing.net, the company seeks to manufacture 400 wind towers next year, with each one standing about 250 feet tall.
But Marmen Energy is not relying on robots or assembly lines to create these massive machines. This is more specialized work, and requires the input of trained welders.
"This is all manually done," Pierre-David Paquette, Executive Director of Marmen Energy. "We don't have any robots. There's nothing like using humans to do such a good job. The human implication in the product is constant throughout the different workstations."
The news source explains that the company uses a cold form process that shapes turbine segments with pneumatic power. After welding, the new component is finished with a blast of steel sediment and then painted to protect from corrosion.
"There's only one secret if you want to start a wind tower shop—everything has to be right the first time," Paquette said. "If it's not, each step after will suffer."
Operations of this kind could benefit from a partnership with a CNC machine shop, which can create customized components as needed. Paquette said that his company chose its current location in part because of an eager, trained workforce, which also benefits CNC machining companies.