Nordex USA celebrated the official opening of its flagship wind turbine manufacturing plant in the U.S. Representing a $40 million investment, the 150,000 square-foot plant in Jonesboro, Ark., is optimized for lean flow and reduced lead times for customers, according to the company.
The Nordex plant will build nacelles for 2.5 MW turbines that belong to the company's new Gamma generation. Production began earlier this month, and the first assembled nacelle was on display at the opening. The assembly time for a nacelle is about two weeks, and the Nordex plant has the capacity to produce 300 per year.
Since breaking ground on the plant last September, Nordex has hired 54 employees – about 80% locals – including the first production crew. Job functions range from production assembly, process engineering, supply chain management, facilities management, training, quality assurance, safety, administration and management.
Nordex plans to grow its ranks to nearly 70 in Jonesboro and 175 nationally by the end of this year. The company says it has the potential to create a total of 700 jobs in Jonesboro and 1,000 nationally over the next four years, not including indirect jobs created by suppliers and service providers.
Earlier this year, steel components manufacturer Beckmann Volmer announced it would build a $10 million factory and employ 500 in neighboring Osceola to supply parts to Nordex. Part of Nordex's strategy is to make its supply chain 80% domestic within the next nine months.
The Jonesboro production crew is undergoing practical training. The team spent 10 weeks at Nordex's German factory in Rostock, and their German counterparts have now set up residence in Jonesboro for four months to work with the crew.
Nordex has also built a 10,000 square-foot training academy on site and has a partnership in place with the Arkansas State University to teach mechatronic skills, which combine mechanical and electrical know-how and are specific to wind turbine manufacturing.
SOURCE: Nordex USA