ZF has signed a contract with global wind energy market leader Vestas to supply wind turbine gearboxes. Production is scheduled to begin in early 2012 at the new U.S. facility under construction in Gainesville, Georgia, with the goal of eventually producing 2,000 gearboxes per year for the growing wind power industry. In addition, ZF will add manufacturing test stands for the wind gearbox industry to its substantial experience in providing engineered end-of-line and development test benches.
ZF has been providing service for the wind power industry since 2007, and is currently investing in service centers for wind turbines in Dortmund, Germany and in the United States. “We will leverage our expertise and leadership in designing and building world-class drivelines for the transportation sector to enter the growing and exciting field of alternative energy,” says ZF Group CEO Hans-Georg Härter. “This will diversify our core business and expand our product portfolio.”
ZF aims to achieve annual gearbox sales of more than $200 million. With more than 40,000 turbines in 63 countries, Vestas is the world leader in wind power. The Danish company has been in the wind turbine business since 1979. ZF is investing about $90 million to build the new Gainesville facility, which will employ about 200 workers. “We are delighted that ZF has chosen to enter the wind industry and work with Vestas as gear box supplier,” according to Soren Husted, president of Vestas Nacelles. “ZF’s global position as transmission supplier in the automotive industry and its high quality and productivity standards are fully in line with our manufacturing and sourcing strategy and the cooperation with ZF will strengthen our supply base of gearboxes.”
Last year at its Dortmund/Holzwickede site in Germany, ZF invested $9 million euros establishing a service competence center for wind power. By 2012 various brands and models of wind turbine gearboxes will be serviced and overhauled there. By 2014 ZF Services aims for its worldwide wind energy sales to rise to $50 million euros. ZF is also constructing a loading test rig with a four-megawatt performance capacity. More information is available at www.zf.com.