Energetx Composites, Holland, Mich., is a high-quality structural composite manufacturer, building components for the wind energy, defense and aerospace industries. It was founded in 2008 to diversify from its sister company, S2 Yachts, an ACMA member since 1999. In January 2012, Energetx employee Bryan Ritterby was mentioned in the Presidential State of the Union Address, drawing attention to small business and the composite manufacturing industry. Kelly Slikkers is the VP of Business Development at Energetx Composites and had a few things to say about the state of the union and the future of the wind industry.
How has your company been affected since the State of the Union Address in January?
Since the State of the Union Address, Energetx has received a significant increase in public exposure, which has been good for our company. It’s our hope that the message from President Obama’s speech will be heard throughout Congress and the nation as a whole, especially as it relates to the importance of the clean energy sector and what it means for job creation and our national security.
How do you feel the passing of the PTC will impact your company and the industry?
Percentage wise we are a 100 percent composite manufacturer. The passage of the production tax credit (PTC) will improve the outlook for both our company and the wind industry. As a result of the short term nature of the PTC, there is hesitancy for companies to invest in the North American market. Being a North American supplier, this will adversely affect our business. We ultimately need a long-term energy policy in place that eliminates the boom and bust cycles that the industry has faced over the last decade.
What do you see driving the industry right now and why?
There are a number of critical areas for wind blade manufacturers and other component manufacturers to focus on in the months and years ahead in order to make wind an even more competitive energy source. We are focused on lowering the cost of energy through our lean manufacturing processes and quality system, which ultimately leads to improved reliability. We’ve made a commitment to make reliable components similar to those demanded by the aerospace and automotive industries, and that’s essential for the long-term sustainability of the wind industry. We are also focused on technology innovation. Energetx is currently working with a variety of partners to develop and integrate new technologies and designs that will improve the lifecycle costs of our products.
Where do you see the most potential for composite growth?
We see a tremendous amount of growth potential within the wind industry as the market continues to evolve over the next several years. We also feel very positive about the aerospace and defense industries due to an increased focus on reducing weight in larger structural components.
As companies continue to develop innovative processing techniques, and materials become more cost competitive, composites will undoubtedly play an increasingly important role in these areas – which will offer great opportunities for composite manufacturing companies around the world.