Yesterday morning we arrived in Michigan to begin our tour de Midwest. After landing in Detroit and picking up our (American made) rental car, we hit the road, heading west toward Lansing.
Our first stop was Astraeus Wind, a subsidiary of Dowding Industries. Jeff Metts, the company’s president, founded Astraeus in 2007 when he was looking to evolve his manufacturing operations into a new sector. The cutting edge machines he designed promised to make wind components "better, faster, and more efficiently" by cutting manufacturing time and decreasing component weight. However, the new building's completion date posed a challenge: the recession had just begun. Metts had a brand new facility, bold plans to efficiently manufacture four different turbine components, and was ready to employ a significant number of workers from the small community of Eaton Rapids. But, still, due to global economics, Metts ran into a funding wall. Unable to secure investment to get the plant up and running, Metts was forced to downsize.
Metts explains the machines
After weathering the ensuing rough patch, the company eventually secured grant funding to see their expanded plans through. Today, Astraeus is breaking boundaries in the wind manufacturing industry. Their sophisticated advanced machinery cuts manufacturing time from 30 hours to 4 hours. They employ an innovative method to manufacture more precise blades. What’s more, the high skill jobs that they’re creating are among the highest paying in the community. As they continue to add high precision manufacturing equipment to their operations, they will only continue to grow and hire. "This is the future," says Metts. After a tour of the factory, I can only agree.
A high-precision manufacturing machine
- Astraeus, of Dowding Industries
- Location: Eaton Rapids, MI
- Manufacturing since: 1965
- Manufacturing wind components since: 2008
- Number Employed: 180
- Number working in wind: 30
- Markets: Primarily domestic