Big blades, big innovations
In the process of designing its G128 wind turbine blade and the INNOBLADE segmented blade technology that simplifies its transport (see “Modular design eases big wind blade build,” under “Editor’s Picks,” at top right), Gamesa (Vizcaya, Spain) has introduced several innovative auxiliary technologies that reduce cost and simplify processing, particularly in the context of blade delivery and installation. They incude the following:
MultiSmart Control System — Similar to a large mainsail on a sailboat, large blades generate greater power but also greater loads. The G128 features an independent variable pitch control system, which monitors data from strain sensors built into the blade laminate and adjusts each blade’s pitch in real time for optimized power output and minimized vibration. It provides up to 30 percent load reduction, alleviating the need for larger blade hub attachments and drive system components.
FlexiFit Crane — Gamesa’s proprietary compact, add-on crane, which couples to the nacelle, enables onsite assembly and servicing of structures without use of external structures or equipment. This eliminates the need to rent massive external cranes.
Fibramatic Automated Layup — Gamesa won the 2011 JEC Innovation Award in the Wind Energy category with partner MTorres (Pamplona, Spain), for the world’s first automated blade manufacturing process, featuring an automated gantry-type dry tape laying machine, automated infusion and automated assembly.
Fiber-reinforced plastic (FRP) replacing coated steel in more reinforced-concrete applications.
Spirit AeroSystems actualizes Airbus’ intelligent design for the A350’s center fuselage and front wing spar in Kinston, N.C.
The structural properties of composite materials are derived primarily from the fiber reinforcement. Fiber types, their manufacture, their uses and the end-market applications in which they find most use are described.