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MAG gets US$5m to develop better wind turbine blades

MAG Industrial Automation Systems will receive US$5 million to develop composite lay-up technology to produce longer-lasting, lower-cost wind turbine blades.

The US$5m is part of a US$6m matching fund grants from the Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) to Astraeus Wind Energy Inc, MAG, Dowding Machining LLC and Dow Chemical.

US$1m will be used by Dow Chemical together with Oak Ridge National Laboratories (ORNL).

Together the grants will fund development of automated manufacturing technology for wind turbine blade spars using MAG composite lay-up system combined with a lower-cost carbon fiber and resin from Dow Chemical.

"MAG’s collaboration with ORNL and Dow will marry a new carbon fiber and resin with an advanced manufacturing system that will change the economics of making wind blades," says Joe Jones, Executive Vice President of MAG's Renewable Energy Group.

The new material layup system brings integrated manufacturing, with automation and repeatable process control, to wind blade fabrication, historically a manual process that results in blade imperfections and weight variations, leading to higher warranty and replacement costs, MAG says.

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