MANITOWOC – And the winner of the annual Coolest Thing Made in Wisconsin competition is… the Large Navy Blue Crane manufactured by Broadwind Heavy Fabrications in Manitowoc.
Almost 210,000 votes were cast in multiple rounds of the contest, and around 70,000 votes were cast in the final round, naming ‘Big Blue’, as the 195-foot tall crane became known on social media , the champion.
This is the sixth year of the Coolest Thing competition, sponsored by Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce.
On the last lap, the giant crane faced Caterpillar Global Mining in South Milwaukee for its Cat cable electric shovel, Mercury Marine at Fond du Lac for its Verado V12 600hp outboard motor and Kwik Trip in La Crosse for its glazer donuts. The winner was announced Thursday at the annual WMC Business Day in Pewaukee.
“Wisconsin has a diverse and robust manufacturing industry, as evidenced by the products nominated for this year’s program,” WMC President and CEO Kurt Bauer said in a press release. “We are proud to once again highlight not only the exciting things we make in Wisconsin, but also the rewarding careers available in the industry.”
The competition was launched to recognize the contribution of manufacturers to the state economy. The winner of the contest is announced each October, which is Manufacturing Month.
Nominations were accepted in August and candidates have participated in four rounds of voting in the past two months. Since its inception in 2016, nearly a million votes have been cast to determine Wisconsin’s coolest thing.
“Broadwind is extremely honored to have won the Coolest Thing Made in Wisconsin Award for 2021,” Broadwind President Dan Schueller said in the press release. “We look forward to entering future competitions because we believe that what we manufacture at Manitowoc is essential to Wisconsin and the US economy.
Big Blue was designed, manufactured, machined, painted, assembled and delivered by Broadwind for Konecranes. The 2.7million pound crane was barged to Portsmith, New Hampshire over Memorial Day weekend, with about 6,000 people watching it leave Manitowoc to make its way through the Great Lakes to to the Atlantic Ocean.
Big Blue is expanding heavy-load lifting capacity to all dry docks in the shipyard, according to Brendan Goodwin, head of the lifting and handling department at Portsmouth Shipyard in New Hampshire. It increases the scope of the overhaul and modernization work of the submarines carried out on the site.
Construction of the crane took about a year and was made possible by a $ 3.75 million grant from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s Port Assistance Program. The improvements allowed Konecranes and Broadwind Heavy Fabrications to assemble, test and transfer the crane. More contracts of this type are expected over the next decade.
Do you have a tip, question or comment for Streetwise Manitowoc? Contact reporter Patti Zarling at 920-606-2586 or email [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @PGPattiZarling.