Tool design speeds wind blade tip production

Written by: Caroline Hayes | Published:
The finished Blade Dynamics wing tip.

GRP and composite moulding specialists, Norco Composites has produced a tool for wind energy technology company, Blade Dynamics.

The Poole-based company has collaborated with Blade Dynamics and MouldCAM to create a rotor blade tip tool. It enables a fast and efficient turnaround of blade tips for Blade Dynamics' next generation 6MW offshore rotor assembly.

A Cytect-patented ZPREG technology was used. It was chosen for it low expansion rate. Design challenges included the use of carbon fibre as a tooling material. This was overcome by carrying out a detailed thermal and structural analysis to ensure the support frame was efficient to support the tool throughout the rotational cycle of opening and closing, yet did not distort the mould during high temperature bake cycles.

A multi-zone integrated heating system with an external control unit was needed to produce the tool. Norco teamed up with Lamina Heat, which provided power film technology, enabling a controllable heat source to be used exactly where needed for each point of production.

The tool is now CE-approved and weighs 1.8 tonnes including frame and hinges.

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