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U.S. machine tool makers make big push into wind power
The recent surge in U.S. wind energy development projects has prompted two major U.S.-based manufacturers of automated machine tools to make major market development strategic decisions. Ingersoll Machine Tools launched two wind energy industry projects in April. One is the launch of an automated wind blade production demonstrator, which provides wind turbine blade manufacturers with development testing of their production and processing equipment. Another is the MasterWind Lean Manufacturing Center, which integrates these automation technologies into Ingersoll's operations for the production of mechanical components for wind turbines, including hubs, gearboxes, upper and lower plates and engine compartments. According to Ingersoll, the first MasterWind Center will be established at the company's headquarters in Rockford by the end of 2010. Tino Oldani, Chairman and CEO of Ingersoll, said: 'Ingersoll is committed to meeting the new manufacturing needs of the wind power industry and working to help U.S. manufacturing lead the international market.' Benefiting from the Green Industry Development Program, Ingersoll's projects Received $5 million in government funding. The Green Industrial Development Program is part of the Illinois Energy Act, which is overseen by the U.S. Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. MAG Industrial Automation Systems, a supplier of CNC machine tools, has announced the formation of a new renewable energy business unit to design and manufacture automated manufacturing systems for wind turbine components and solar panel cells. Joe Jones, head of MAG's business, noted that MAG is off to a good start in the renewable energy business. In recent years, MAG has focused on the development of composite materials and machine tool automation for wind turbine components, and has introduced a large number of new products to the market based on its own mature technologies and modules. MAG currently enjoys $7 million in funding from the state of Michigan, which will be used to develop carbon fiber turbine blades and design and manufacture the production processing cells for a wind power hub project called Revolutionary.