Spanish wind turbine maker Gamesa has partnered with smaller local competitor MTorres in a joint venture to develop an automated blade manufacturing process and to improve blade design while reducing aerodynamic noise. The first prototype is scheduled for early next year, with series production by end-2010. Gamesa already makes its own blades while MTorres has been designing blades for nearly a decade. MTorres is also a Spanish leader in automated industrial processes. The partners expect to pump a combined EUR 100 million into the project. Gamesa's Guillermo Ulacia says the collaboration is part of an effort to sharpen its technological competitive edge and to further improve co-ordination of its integrated manufacturing of nacelles, gearboxes, generators and root joints, while speeding throughput and reducing costs. MTorres' Luis Izco sees the blade joint venture as an entry into "the business of wind power equipment supplies," a move that will particularly "benefit its future competitiveness in the offshore wind farm business.