The Timken Company today announced plans to expand production capacity at its Tyger River facility in Union, S.C., to serve the wind energy market. The investment is part of a strategy to strengthen Timken’s position to serve growing global demand for highly engineered large-bore bearings that will help customers harness wind power to meet the energy needs of the future.
Timken expects demand for large-bore bearings used in main-rotor shafts and gear drives in wind turbines to grow rapidly in the coming years as reliance on renewable energy increases. The Tyger River investment will allow the company to serve demand from North American customers and provide expanded capability to produce prototypes in support of new wind-turbine programs.
“This investment exemplifies how we’re reshaping our portfolio to grow and optimize our business from top to bottom,” said James W. Griffith, Timken’s president and chief executive officer. “We stand to achieve greater returns by refocusing existing assets and investing in new capacity to serve our most promising market sectors, which certainly includes wind energy.”
Expansion work at Timken’s Tyger River location will begin in 2009, with production currently slated for 2010. It will be the company’s second wind-related commitment of the past year, following formation of a joint venture with China’s XEMC to build a new main-shaft bearing facility in Xiangtan, Hunan province. Construction of that new facility is scheduled to begin this year.
Timken’s edge in the wind energy market is performance engineering, combining power transmission, friction management and alloy steel expertise to develop and deliver systems offering wind-turbine manufacturers and wind-farm owners improved durability and reliability in the turbines.