A $2.5 million Clean Energy Advanced Manufacturing (CEAM) award was granted to Great Lakes Industry Gear LLC, a subsidiary of Jackson, MI-based Great Lakes Industry Inc. (GLI). The award is from the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth (DELEG) and is comprised of a $2 million grant and a $500,000 low cost loan to support GLI's planned expansion into wind turbine gear manufacturing.
Nine small manufacturers were awarded $15 million in grants and $5 million in loans from the state of Michigan through the CEAM program, which is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The program is designed to help Michigan businesses diversify into high-growth, clean-energy industries.
GLI was selected from among 40 applicants representing more than $105 million in proposed projects.
"So Great Lakes Industry is going to convert its existing gear manufacturing operations to meet the growing demand for precision gearboxes needed in large wind turbines. At the moment, there are no known Michigan companies producing these large format gears, and there are only 10 such companies in the entire United States," says Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, in her weekly radio address where she announced these CEAM grants.
"This means that more than 50 percent of these gears have to be imported. So by the state and federal governments partnering with Great Lakes Industry, we can grow a Michigan company, diversify our economy, create jobs and provide a domestic source for wind turbine gearboxes."
Great Lakes Industries manufactures carburized and hardened axle shafts, large diameter ring gears, induction heat treated spur gears, heat treated drive shafts, starter jack shafts, gear and rack sets, custom gear sets, pressed assemblies, welded roller chain sprocket assemblies, shaft assemblies and many other power transmission components.
"GLI has established itself as a world-class manufacturer of gears for the mining, off-road, construction and agricultural equipment markets since 1979," says Lawrence Schultz, president of GLI Gear. "The ability to expand over the next several years into commercial production of utility grade wind turbine gears presents the opportunity for significant growth for GLI, but also the creation of several hundred direct and ancillary manufacturing jobs for Jackson and Michigan. We still have a long way to go to secure the necessary customer commitments and secure financing, but the financial support and endorsement of DELEG is an important milestone from which we intend to establish a position of market leadership in the manufacture of large precision gears for the rapidly growing, utility grade wind turbine industry."