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Automation for Wind Blade Manufacturing

James Sherwood, Matteo Polcari


In the current research, a novel technology that has been proposed for automated fabric placement for the wind industry is investigated virtually using the finite element method and a review of previous works in the field of automation of longfiber composite manufacturing for the manufacture of wind blades that were found to be unviable is shared. The proposed novel technology uses an automated piecewise shifting method for fabric placement and was designed for the manufacture of large wind turbine blades. The mechanical behavior of the fabric is incorporated into the simulation through a user-defined material model that can predict process-induced failure zones and defects such as wrinkling. To demonstrate the application of modeling for the integration of the kinematics of the automation process and the mechanical behavior of the fabric, a simulation of shifting fabric placement is performed using the geometry of a typical wind turbine blade. Application of such a virtual investigation using the proposed approach of considering the mechanical behavior of the fabric could provide a significant design tool to assist in the development of future cost-effective systems for automated fabric deposition for wind blades and thereby avoid the shortcomings of past concepts that were concluded to be unviable.

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