By: Deborah Johnson Wood
Eighteen months ago, Carter Products blazed a new trail in the alternative energy industry by providing the manufacturers of wind turbine blades with its laser pattern projection system and training to produce the blades, some as long as 150 feet, precisely, blade after blade.
And while the privately held company doesn’t discuss its revenues, the growth generated thus far by the alternative energy industry has generated two new laser technician positions to service customer needs.
“The blades are compiled from composite fibers and materials that have to be properly located in 3-D molds and the orientation of the fibers must be exact,” says Vice President Terry Camp. “That’s impossible to do just by eyesight. The lasers guide the assemblers as they place the layers of materials in the molds.”
The laser pattern projection system takes information from a CAD file and, using a single source of laser light deflected by computer-controlled mirrors, it creates arcs or straight lines, any pattern the user needs. Workers can than layer composites precisely and/or use the pattern to set up machinery that will cut out components to exact measurements or three-dimensional shapes.
Camp says the company, located at 2871 Northridge, Grand Rapids, continues to provide laser systems for manufacturers who specialize in processing wood, plastics, stone and textiles.
“Composite layups a new area for us,” he says. “We have no idea how large the alternative energy market might be for us, but it’s been a significant growth area and we’re optimistic about the opportunities.”
Source: Terry Camp, Carter Products
Deborah Johnson Wood is the development news editor for Rapid Growth Media. She can be contacted at [email protected].