Wausaukee Composites Inc. is opening a new plant in Cuba City, Wis., and boosting production at its main Wausaukee, Wis., facility as it enters the wind-turbine market in a big way.
``We have been actively developing new manufacturing opportunities in this emerging market segment for more than two years. This is our green strategy and a keystone in our overall growth strategy,'' said David Lisle, president and chief executive officer, in a news release.
Lisle said Feb. 13 by telephone that Wausaukee Composites had been exploring prospects with various companies for quite some time, but the North American market has exploded recently.
``We take pride in being in on the development of the wind-turbine industry. It will be major market for us,'' he said.
Lisle cited two reasons for growth in the industry. First, there is more favorable public sentiment for alternative energy like wind. Second, he said there has been a stabilization of the federal tax credit for wind-turbine operators. Lisle said the credit had been passed and repealed three times before taking hold in 2005.
The American Wind Energy Association, a Washington-based trade group, said less than 1 percent of U.S. homes currently use wind power, but the market is growing quickly.
Wausaukee has signed deals with two undisclosed wind-turbine manufacturers to make more than 1,100 nacelle housings in the next three years. Lisle said Wausaukee will also make spinning hubs and nosecone assembles.
Lisle anticipates that the new contracts will generate more than $35 million in sales.
He said the company acquired a 42,000-square-foot facility in Cuba City and turned it into a dedicated facility for the wind-turbine industry. The plant will employ 40 workers in the first year.
In addition, the company is adding 30 workers in Wausaukee to expand wind-turbine capability there.
The company makes composite plastic and fiberglass components for original equipment manufacturers.
Other markets include industrial trucks and tractors, mass transit, medical imaging, commercial furnishings, therapeutic systems, recreation and material handling industries. It is ISO 9001:2000 certified with design, tooling prototype development, manufacturing and assembly services.
Wausaukee has about 500 employees. It also has plants in Gillet, Wis., and Owosso, Mich. The company is a subsidiary of Sintex Industries Ltd. of Kalol, India.