Northwest Renewable News

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New Tualatin plant will make wind turbines October 23, 2009

Filed under: Manufacturing,Oregon,Wind — nwrenewablenews @ 1:09 am
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While other businesses struggle in this economy, Tigard’s Powin corporation may have found a niche market that is thriving — wind power. The company plans to extend its reach into that market.

Powin is building a new 71,000-square-foot plant in Tualatin to manufacture 20-kilwatt wind turbines.

Powin’s owner, Joseph Lu, says the company is currently making some smaller turbines — 3 kilowatt and 10 kilowatt — in its Quality Bending & Fabrication plant on Herman Road in Tualatin.

“But it looks like the market is getting bigger,” Lu said.

The new plant will most likely employ 95 people, and Lu says the company doesn’t plan to shut down its Herman Road facility which currently employs 23 people.

Groundwork on the new plant’s site, on the north side of Tualatin-Sherwood Road at 115th Avenue, began last month. Powin Pacific Properties Project Manager Thomas Falk says they hope to begin construction of the plant “ASAP.”

“We’re just waiting for the final plans to get out of architectural review, and then we’re going to start construction,” Falk said.

The plant will sit on about 7.5 acres, of the 38 acres Powin bought from the Koch family in 2007.

Is the wind turbine a good business to be in right now?

“I hope so,” Lu said.

At its existing Tualatin plant — Quality Bending & Fabrication (QBF) — Powin manufactures a variety of custom parts for equipment manufacturers. The plant also serves as Powin’s U.S. prototyping facility. QBF has been operating since 1988, but Powin bought the plant three years ago.

With its variety of equipment QBF can develop the mold and fixtures needed for new parts development and production. The plant has manufactured parts for companies such as Boeing, Freightliner, Daimler-Chrysler, American La France, Anthro Corp, Warn, Valmont, LSM Dental, Hewlett Packard and Paccar.

Powin at a glance

Powin was founded in 1989 by Joseph Lu, a Chinese-American, who saw unique value in his family ties in China. Using his connections and knowledge of the nuances of Chinese local laws and languages, he arranged to manufacture goods for American distributors. Over time, his abilities grew into a balance of low-cost production and high-value dependability — guaranteeing the quality and services companies rely on. This combination helped build Powin into the $60 million company it is today.

With nine plants in two continents and more than 3,500 workers worldwide, the company says it provides an unparalleled level of manufacturing support for companies all across the United States. More than 2,000 products and parts are produced by Powin on a regular basis, everything from outdoor cookware to exercise equipment.

The company’s headquarters are in Tigard.

By Nick Peterson, The Times


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