Wind energy start-up see bring future in keeping turbines running

MUKWONAGO, WI (May 1, 2012) – Gearbox Express (GBX), along with state and local public officials, celebrated the official grand opening of its new 43,000 square-foot facility in Mukwonago, Wisconsin, today. Gearbox Express is the only company in North America that is 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, they're confident that by helping develop the aftermarket infrastructure, they'll impact both 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 Bruce Neumiller, CEO of Gearbox Express. "The 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."

Gearbox Express's climate-controlled facility offers a highly-flexible, technologically-advanced test stand that "rivals any in the world," according to Neumiller. Gearbox Express 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. GBX also keeps an inventory of remanufactured gearboxes in its GBXchange program to allow for immediate swap-outs of gearboxes when they're being removed from the turbine.

"We are truly gearbox guys," said CEO Bruce 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 very best equipment and parts. That is where Gearbox Express comes in."

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