HOME  |  NEWS  |  BLOGS  |  MESSAGES  |  FEATURES  |  VIDEOS  |  WEBINARS  |  INDUSTRIES  |  FOCUS ON FUNDAMENTALS
  |  REGISTER  |  LOGIN  |  HELP
Blogs
Blog
Fraunhofer to Create Automation Process for Rotor Blade Production
1/24/2013

Manufacturing the rotor blades for wind turbines like this one, from REPower Systems AG, is still mainly a manual process. Now Fraunhofer Institute has embarked on a research project to find a way to leverage automation to cut more than 10 percent of the costs out of the current process. REPower is one of the partners on the project, called BladeMaker.   (Source: REPower Systems AG)
Manufacturing the rotor blades for wind turbines like this one, from REPower Systems AG, is still mainly a manual process. Now Fraunhofer Institute has embarked on a research project to find a way to leverage automation to cut more than 10 percent of the costs out of the current process. REPower is one of the partners on the project, called BladeMaker.
(Source: REPower Systems AG)

Return to Article

View Comments: Oldest First|Newest First|Threaded View
Elizabeth M
User Rank
Blogger
Wind is one of the ways forward for green energy
Elizabeth M   1/24/2013 7:24:31 AM
NO RATINGS
I think this is a very well-intentioned and much-needed effort by Fraunhofer to try to inject automation into the blade-building process. Automation has already cut costs and reduced production times for other industries, and I think if the same can be done for turbine blades it would also help promote the use of turbines as alternative energy sources. Wind is an abundant and plentifull source of energy and more adoption (within reason due to economic impact of turbines) is one of the ways out of traditional energy dependence.

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
More innovation from Fraunhofer
Ann R. Thryft   1/24/2013 11:55:51 AM
NO RATINGS
Fraunhofer sure has its fingers in a lot of R&D pies. This sounds like the clever and innovative stuff they've come up with in materials, as well as other automated manufacturing techniques from composite production for autos, to repair robots, to big 3D printers for car makers. Thanks for reporting this.

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Wind is one of the ways forward for green energy
Charles Murray   1/24/2013 6:28:31 PM
NO RATINGS
This is one of many pieces of the puzzle for renewable energy. Cost reduction -- particularly through elimination of manual labor for big parts like turbine blades -- is going to be important going forward.  

Elizabeth M
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Wind is one of the ways forward for green energy
Elizabeth M   1/25/2013 6:21:39 AM
NO RATINGS
That's very true, Charles, and Fraunhofer seems to have the reputation and the knowhow to make some inroads here. They've also partnered with industry leaders, so hopefully if they put all their heads together they can come up with some good ideas.

apresher
User Rank
Blogger
Rotor Blade Production
apresher   1/25/2013 12:00:20 PM
NO RATINGS
It is very surprising that this process isn't already automated but clearly reducing system cost (and total installed cost) is a must for nearly all renewable energy projects. Good to see work being done on this, an important step toward viability in the future.

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Rotor Blade Production
Charles Murray   1/25/2013 3:00:29 PM
NO RATINGS
I wondered the same thing, Al. Why do you think that this process hadn't been automated earlier? Could it be a size issue?

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Rotor Blade Production
William K.   1/25/2013 5:51:50 PM
NO RATINGS
Size has absolutely been an issue, no doubt about it. The servo system to handle the lenngth of a blade must have high resolution over a 150 foot, or more, length, a width of perhaps 25 feet, and possibly ten feet in the third direction. So just that part of the composite blade building system is a big deal. The other part of the challenge has been the low production rate, which has not been enough to support the investment for a fully automated system. That has been a real impediment.

Partner Zone
More Blogs
Festo is developing small wind turbines for generating power to buildings. The model for the mini wind devices is the seagull wing.
An Israeli design student has created a series of unique pieces of jewelry that can harvest energy from default movements of the body and even use human blood as a way to conduct energy.
If you see a hitchhiker along the road in Canada this summer, it may not be human. That’s because a robot is thumbing its way across our neighbor to the north as part of a collaborative research project by several Canadian universities.
Stanford University researchers have found a way to realize what’s been called the “Holy Grail” of battery-design research -- designing a pure lithium anode for lithium-based batteries. The design has great potential to provide unprecedented efficiency and performance in lithium-based batteries that could substantially drive down the cost of electric vehicles and solve the charging problems associated with smartphones.
Help us recognize engineers who are ahead of the trends and making big moves in the design engineering community.
Design News Webinar Series
7/23/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
7/17/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
6/25/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
5/13/2014 10:00 a.m. California / 1:00 p.m. New York / 6:00 p.m. London
Quick Poll
The Continuing Education Center offers engineers an entirely new way to get the education they need to formulate next-generation solutions.
Sep 8 - 12, Get Ready for the New Internet: IPv6
SEMESTERS: 1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6


Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.
Next Class: September 30 - October 2
Sponsored by Altera
Learn More   |   Login   |   Archived Classes
Twitter Feed
Design News Twitter Feed
Like Us on Facebook

Sponsored Content

Technology Marketplace

Copyright © 2014 UBM Canon, A UBM company, All rights reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service