Direct resin infusion system to speed up wind turbine rotor blade manufacturing
Cannon’s new direct infusion system for polyurethane and epoxy resin systems leverages their established DX and DXI series of resin mixing machine technology with real-time data management which automatically adapts dosing to ensure the required flow rate at constant mix ratio. (Photo: Cannon Group)
Cannon Afros, a company of Cannon Group, Italy and market leader in high-performance dosing and mixing equipment, has developed an innovative direct infusion system for faster processing of epoxy and polyurethane (PU) resin systems for the manufacturing of wind turbine rotor blades.
Rotor blades are typically made of fiberglass reinforced resin through vacuum infusion technology. They are the most important components in terms of performance when wind turbine manufacturers and power generation operators explore ways to reduce the levelized cost of electricity (LCoE).
“Benefitting from its long experience of designing and constructing infusion resin mixing machines and auxiliary equipment for degassing resins and hardeners, Cannon Afros focused on improving the cost-efficiency of this particular manufacturing process. Now, Cannon offers rotor blade manufacturers a novel direct infusion system to automatize and provide accurate higher volume dosing to accelerate vacuum infusion for a repeatable, and reliable production process that reduces waste and, in addition avoids volatile organic compounds, thereby improving operator safety.”Dario Pigliafreddo, Key Account Manager at Cannon Afros
According to company press release, Cannon’s new direct infusion system leverages their established DX and DXI series of resin mixing machine technology with real-time data management which automatically adapts dosing to ensure the required flow rate at constant mix ratio. The system allows for several independent pressurized infusion lines along which peristaltic valves control, extremely precisely, the right amount of resin mix at the optimum pressure at each infusion gate. This, combined with the possibility of adding an automatic and self-adjusting vacuum bagging infusion unit, controls the resin flow required to complete the infusion process and help reduce cycle time.
Since the new process is closed and sealed, there is a much lower exothermic risk during curing and no exposure to air and humidity to contaminate the resin systems, and importantly, a drastic reduction in exposure to VOCs for operational safety.
Cannon has observed a significant improvement in mould filling time depending on various parameters such as the resin system used, fibre volume content, number of infusion points, level of automatization and blade geometry.
Cannon Afros also designs and manufactures dosing and mixing machines for pultrusion and auxiliary equipment to produce shear webs, spar caps, shells, and roots for rotor blades.