An enormous crane and somewhat donut are among the many finalists in ‘Coolest Factor Made in Wisconsin’ contest | WUWM 89.7 FM

Voting wraps up late Thursday morning for this yr’s Coolest Factor Made in Wisconsin annual contest, which is sponsored by a state manufacturing group.

WUWM took a better take a look at two of the 4 finalists for this yr’s award, together with a crane maker in Manitowoc.

Fifteen years in the past, the Broadwind Company began making wind turbine towers at its manufacturing facility alongside the Manitowoc River, simply west of the town’s downtown. A unit there known as Broadwind Heavy Fabrications has entered into the Coolest Factor contest an enormous crane that the corporate and a Manitowoc neighbor, Konecranes, constructed to service U.S. Navy submarines in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

The 140 ton crane is known as that as a result of it may well carry that a lot weight. The crane itself weighs almost 1,400 tons or 2.7 million kilos.

Konecranes engineered the product, then Broadwind took over with the steel fabrication course of: bending, forming, slicing, welding and portray metal plates into segments so giant that Broadwind needed to minimize off the top of its manufacturing facility to get a number of the merchandise out. They have been assembled at Konecranes earlier than being shipped by barge.

Broadwind Heavy Fabrications

The 140 ton crane on the check/meeting pad on the Konecranes Manitowoc website.

The work at Broadwind entails each small and huge know-how.

Contained in the manufacturing facility, an organization worker used a handheld grinder on a chunk of steel. Firm President Dan Schueller stated it is a necessary a part of the method.

”Any time you chop steel, you find yourself having a pointy edge. And what we do with grinders is assist take that sharp edge off, to make it possible for not solely no one will get damage, however that the half is conforming,” Schueller stated.

Schueller stated that conforming is actually essential when it comes time to weld two elements collectively.


Chuck Quirmbach

The blue machine at Broadwind is known as a horizontal boring mill.

About 40 yards away is a a lot taller participant within the fabrication course of.

A blue machine about two tales excessive is called a horizontal boring mill. Schueller stated it’s important for what’s generally known as machining the steel.

“What we’re really doing with this machining middle is drilling and boring the holes and bores of the connection factors for the crane,” he stated.


Chuck Quirmbach

Left to proper: Broadwind’s Brett Hartman and Dan Schueller, outdoors the corporate’s manufacturing facility in Manitowoc.

There are crane producers scattered all through the Japanese U.S. and in different industrialized nations.

However Broadwind Enterprise Growth Director Brett Hartman stated one purpose the 140 ton Navy crane is cool is that his agency is on land that used to deal with the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Firm.

“We function from an outdated facility that used to construct submarines throughout World Warfare II. Now, we’re constructing a crane that providers submarines, and we’re doing it from a small city in Wisconsin. This one went to the East Coast. However they’ll ship just about over the world. So it exhibits the attain of a small city and small firm and the type of impression you may have,” Hartman stated.

Broadwind is now serving to construct a crane for the U.S. Military Corps of Engineers. The agency hopes for extra Navy contracts and to construct cranes for different makes use of.

Schueller stated Broadwind, with about 200 staff in Manitowoc, can proceed to compete, thanks partly to its wind vitality expertise.

“By making wind tower sections, we’re outfitted to make very giant weldments [a unit formed by welding together an assembly of pieces] and constructions. That is the place we compete the most effective in, and that is what our area of interest is, going ahead,” Schueller stated.

Different finalists on this yr’s Coolest Factor Made in Wisconsin contest embody Caterpillar, for an enormous mining shovel primarily made in South Milwaukee, and Mercury Marine, for an outboard engine made in Fond du Lac. Neither firm made a spokesperson obtainable for this story.


Chuck Quirmbach

Glazer donuts, as seen at a Milwaukee-area Kwik Journey.

The fourth finalist is the Kwik Journey comfort shops, for its Glazer donut described by firm Vice President Steve Loehr. “What makes this distinctive is we make it in our personal bakery in La Crosse, Wisconsin, contemporary on daily basis. And we ship it to each one in all our shops, on daily basis,” Loehr stated.

With greater than 780 Kwik Journey shops throughout three Higher Midwest states, Loehr stated the corporate sells about a million of the sugar-glazed donuts each week.

One thing on which to chew, as voting continues at, and the winner of this yr’s Coolest Factor contest is introduced Thursday afternoon at a Wisconsin Producers and Commerce convention in Pewaukee.

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