Dassault Inmotion Challenges of Wind Turbine Blade Design

At Dassault Systèmes our goal is to simulate any object in 3D and thus be recognized as a 3D company; we believe that 3D is a new medium, like sound and video; it’s an easy-to-understand international language


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  • The virtual world will help make the real world a better place
  • Developed by our Executive Committee, the DS vision enables our customers, our users, to imagine and project themselves into the future
  • It anticipates physical world behavior, through the virtual world, thereby reaching the fusion between the virtual and the physical worlds

In line with our corporate values, we must help customers design and develop products that address the full spectrum of energy, safety, ergonomics and sourcing requirements to work towards a sustainable and cleaner world

CATIA Composites Overview


At Dassault Systèmes our promise goes beyond just a technical solution. The market is in constant evolution, bringing Composites at the center of business. Companies are taking risks. Our Solution is recognized as strategic. In this troubled economic environment, we offer more long-term visibility than smaller actors of the landscape like our competition.

Lastly, as DS is part of a global community of actors working on next generation’s technologies. With a strong R&D capacity, we offer the prospect of strong innovation to accompany our customers through their business transformation.

Within Dassault Systèmes there are 6 major brands. Through these brands an end-user has the optimal solution for their need. Whether the need is product development, stress analysis, or virtual manufacturing. Dassault Systèmes has a solution:

  • CATIA for virtual design
  • DELMIA for digital production & manufacturing
  • ENOVIA for collaborative innovation
  • SIMULIA for realistic simulation
  • SolidWorks for 3D mechanical design
  • 3DVIA for lifelike experience

PLM Solution for Composites


As the demand for wind turbines increase it is essential for technology to support this growth. The need for enhanced performance and stronger wind turbine blades has pushed wind turbine manufacturers to find materials that are strong, durable and can withstand fatigue. Composite materials are a perfect fit for these requirements. Wind turbine blade manufactures also require a solution to design, simulate, and manufacture these Composite structures. Utilizing a PLM strategy such as CATIA Composites will help manufacturers meet the increase in demand for wind turbine blades. CATIA Composites has a complete set of process oriented tools that aid in improving productivity and quality; facilitate innovation and collaboration throughout the Composites process while reducing risks and costs that are linked to the development of Composites wind turbine blades.

This will aid turbine manufacturers to succeed in a competitive environment by reducing cycle time, improving blade durability and optimizing the design and manufacturing process in a single virtual environment. Simulation can also be used to virtually verify the manufacturability and durability avoiding trial and error on the shop floor in an effort to achieve lower failure rates.


Wind Turbine Blade Design


Composites dominate the wind turbine market due to their superior fatigue characteristics, superior stiffness to weight ratio, and their unique ability to fabricate complex geometries. The ability to tailor composites to specific loads and other requirements is among composites greatest strengths, but can also increase the complexity of the design process.

The design and manufacturing of rotorcraft blades and wind turbine blades are similar. To ensure you have a good design and that the blade is durable the stress analyst needs to apply aerodynamic loads. The loads will be the same for both types of blades and will be applied at the base of the blade. The blades will have to be designed with a high level of stiffness to prevent bending.

Most blade failure is due to poor design and manufacturing practices that could be eliminated by adopting many of the best practices developed for composites design and manufacturing used in the aerospace industry.

Long cycle time, difficulty to detect problems upfront, lack of concurrent engineering and process integration …That’s exactly where a PLM solution like CATIA Composites can help, by providing an integrated end-to-end environment that will focus on productivity and quality, to lessen the cycle time, remove risks and ultimately reduce associated costs of composite parts.

Applying Lessons Learned in the Rotorcraft Industry

Lessons learned in the rotorcraft blade industry can be used to dramatically improve the wind turbine design and manufacturing 

Taking these best practices into account, Dassault Systèmes has developed CATIA Composites Design, a Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solution that provides a dramatic improvement over conventional CAD systems by providing a complete end-to-end solution for preliminary design, engineering detailed design, manufacturing detailed design and manufacturing export.

Conceptual Grid Design on Wind Turbine Blade

The first part process usually takes a lot of time and consumes substantial amounts of expensive composite materials and as I stated before most causes of failure are attributed to substandard design and manufacturing practices.

Conceptual Design on a Wind Turbine Blade

CATIA V5 Composites is able to capture the assembly context of a Composites part inside the design environment thanks to the Grid Design.

The grid-based approach enables designers to automate and optimize the preliminary definition of large and complex structures in context of their mating substructures.

Dedicated features are provided to define the preliminary Grid Panel including:

- Geometrical information like the positioning of all mating structural reference elements driving the blade design

- And specification of staggering constraints applied to these reference elements such as clearance, slope rates and drop off strategies

Detailed Design


Powerful ply modification features are then available to tailor the design:

  • Whether by swapping ply edges on-screen to optimize drop-offs and ply shapes
  • Or by rerouting sets of plies along a preferred path.
  • Or Local Drop-off Management also allows to compute local drop-off sections to easily push or pull on the ply boundaries or apply pre-defined patterns with Instant on-screen visualization.

The best practices pioneered in the rotorcraft blade industry substantially improve the analysis process by integrating design with FEA for fast design iterations with full associativity with the zone and ply definition. Bidirectional communications are provided between design and analysis at both the conceptual and detailed design stages. The ability to directly transfer accurate fiber angles and ply thicknesses from the design to the analysis environment improves the simulation accuracy.

The ability to transfer updated design information from analysis back to design enables designers and analysts to work closely together, ensures the analyzed model matches the final structure and prevents the specification of plies and structures that cannot be manufactured.