A new company, Gearbox Express (GBX), along with state and local public officials, recently celebrated the official grand opening of its new 43,000 ft2 facility in Mukwonago, Wisconsin. The company says it is the only one in North America focused on providing independent, down-tower, wind-gearbox remanufacturing services. They are expected to eventually employee 100 people.
While GBX understands the overall tone of the wind energy industry is considered flat, it is confident that by helping develop the aftermarket infrastructure, they’ll impact job growth and the economy.
“There are more than 26,000 active turbines in the United States and it’s a fact that the gearboxes will need replacing during their lifetime,” said company CEO Bruce Neumiller. “Wind farm owners want their investments to keep running so there’s a tremendous opportunity for us to help protect and manage their assets.”
The three wind-industry vets that started GBX succeeded in attracting millions of dollars of investment capital along with a $3.4 million low interest, revolving loan from the Wisconsin State Energy Program.
“The people at GBX have developed a business model that helps address a critical economic issue by bringing wind turbines back on-line much faster,” said Chris Schoehnerr, Deputy Secretary, Department of Administration for the state of Wisconsin. “A key element of Wisconsin’s past and future success is having driven entrepreneurs with technical manufacturing experience. That creates profitable new businesses and brings jobs to our state.”
The company says its climate-controlled facility offers a highly-flexible, technologically-advanced test stand that “rivals any in the world,” according to Neumiller. GBX technicians remanufacture the gearboxes to the latest revision level and then conduct a rigorous load test on its regenerative test stand. The test stand is a critical component of its business model and was the largest focus for investment. The company says it will keeps an inventory of remanufactured gearboxes in its GBXchange program to allow for immediate swap-outs when they’re being removed from the turbine.
“We are truly gearbox guys,” said Neumiller. “Our careful industry analysis work shows a clear need for an advanced company providing dedicated gearing, bearing, and gearbox expertise. And there is a critical need for one that uses the best equipment and parts.”
Filed Under: Gearboxes, News, O&M