Energy Monitor Worldwide
GE Renewable Completes Trials in Automated Blade Finishing Program
GE Renewable Energy, LM Wind Power and GE Research in partnership with the US Department of Energys National Renewable Energy Laboratory launched the Automated Blade Finishing program in 2020, aiming to improve throughput, Environmental Health and Safety and quality in wind turbine blade manufacturing. Blade finishing includes trimming excess material after molding and grinding blade surface to meet quality requirements. The programs vision is to leverage knowledge of advanced composite processing together with sensing, robotics and automation to develop low-cost solutions for wind blade finishing with potential to increase throughput by 30% and improve EHS in factories.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the team moved rapidly from concept to prototype boosted by the capabilities offered at NRELs Composites Manufacturing Education and Technologyfacilities to perform quick proof of concept trials on blade sections. The team was then able to collaborate with engineering, operations and EHS group at a LM Wind Power factory in Grand Forks, North Dakota to perform successful trials on an actual wind turbine blade in production. The process innovations were supplemented with agile program management to pivot as necessary and leverage digital tools to perform virtual validations and reviews with partners. 2021 Global Data Point.