SPX expands to fabricate large, high-voltage power transformers

Source: SPX Corporation

SPX Corporation (SPW) today announced plans to expand its Waukesha Electric Systems’ manufacturing facility in Waukesha, Wisconsin with an investment of approximately $70 million. The resulting building and infrastructure enhancements will increase the size of the facility by approximately 50 percent and extend the company’s ability to manufacture large, high-voltage power transformers that are utilized by electric utilities, independent power producers and independent transmission operators. 

“For four decades, Waukesha Electric Systems has specialized in building high-quality medium power transformers utilized by utilities and independent power producers throughout North America. We are now taking steps to strategically expand Waukesha’s manufacturing capacity and increase its ability to produce large power units for the North American power grid,” said SPX Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Christopher J. Kearney. 

“In addition to better positioning Waukesha Electric Systems to address America’s aging energy infrastructure, this expansion effort will help support America’s economic recovery by investing in U.S. jobs. The project is expected to create as many as 250 construction, engineering and skilled manufacturing jobs in Waukesha, Wisconsin and the surrounding community over time,” Kearney added. 

Large power transformers are used to connect electricity generators to the power grid and transmit this electricity to consumers. Strong demand is expected for these transformers due to their advantages in facilitating the transmission of renewable energy from wind farms and solar power generation facilities to distant load centers, and their high efficiency, which makes them a favored choice for replacing aging, less efficient transformers. 

“The expansion of our Waukesha, Wisconsin facility will enable us to offer the broadest array of power transformers of any domestic manufacturer in business today,” said Tom Brockley, President, Waukesha Electric Systems. “Once completed, Waukesha Electric Systems will be one of a very limited group of domestic-based transformer companies able to produce units with these types of ratings (above 150 MVA), and the only one with 40 years of proven experience in the U.S. transformer market.” 

Approximately $70 million is expected to be invested in the Waukesha Electric Systems facility expansion. SPX’s investment is expected to be offset by government funding totaling approximately $25 million. This support includes a federal tax credit of $12 million awarded to SPX as part of the $2.3 billion Recovery Act Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credits announced in January by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Obama Administration. The city of Waukesha is also expected to provide $9 million of tax increment financing to support this project. “This government support is critical for the project,” Brockley added. 

The Waukesha Electric Systems’ facility in Waukesha, Wisconsin is 292,000 square feet and this expansion will add 140,000 square feet. Work on the facility is expected to commence in the second quarter of 2010 and be completed by the fourth quarter of 2011. Waukesha Electric Systems currently employs more than 500 people at that location and over 800 nationwide. 
Waukesha Electric Systems, Inc., a business unit of SPX’s Industrial Products and Services segment, is one of the largest manufacturers of power transformers in the United States. Waukesha Electric Systems is also a valued supplier of complete transformer service solutions, comprehensive maintenance training, and transformer, load tap changer and oil circuit breaker components.

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