A sticky solution: IWES tackles the challenges of manufacturing rotor blades with the Variable Glue Applicator

April 4, 2024

© Fraunhofer IWES
Variable applicator head for paste-like media

The longer the rotor blade, the greater the amount of adhesive required to bond the two blade shells together. Rotor blade manufacturers currently require around one tonne of adhesive for a rotor blade that is around 80 metres long, resulting in high costs. The scientists at Fraunhofer IWES have therefore utilised their experience from a decade of research into the manufacture of rotor blades and developed a solution that simplifies and improves the adhesive application process: the Variable Glue Applicator (VGA).

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New rotor blade shape in the BladeMaker demo center

March 28, 2024

© Fraunhofer IWES
Manufacturing of a rotor blade

Thanks to the support of WINDnovation GmbH, scientists now have access to a 13.4 m long mold for rotor blades at the BladeMaker research center for rotor blade production at the Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy Systems IWES in Bremerhaven.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy Systems IWES is now able to produce prototypes of rotor blades with a length of 13.4 m, 31 m and 40 m to meet different requirements and budgets.

The research rotor blade production offers three main use cases:

1) Manufacturing rotor blades with artificial defects (e.g. folds) to study the impact of these imperfections on the structural behavior.

2) Development of automation solutions for rotor blade production.

3) Supporting material suppliers in the market introduction of new materials (e.g. core materials or resin systems).

The Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy Systems IWES makes its facilities available for research blade construction both for commercial R&D activities (contract research) and for publicly funded research projects.

Contact at Fraunhofer IWES: Dr. Steffen Czichon, Head of Department Rotor Blades.

#HM24: Presentation of novel natural fiber-reinforced compounds for processing in high-speed additive manufacturing

Press Release, March 21, 2024

© Fraunhofer LBF
Teams of experts at Fraunhofer LBF have developed innovative natural fiber-reinforced compounds for processing in high-speed additive manufacturing.

Large and heavy components of land vehicles are to be made lighter and more sustainable in the future. This is the aim of the "ECO2-LInE" research project, which is being funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) as part of the Lightweight Construction Technology Transfer Program (TTP LB). Here, metal constructions are partially replaced by lightweight, natural fiber-reinforced plastic components. Experts from the Fraunhofer LBF have developed their own manufacturing process for the compounds in order to be able to produce them with long-term stability and weather resistance. It is a natural fiber-reinforced compound with special properties in terms of hydrophobicity and temperature stability, so that it can not only be processed in the SEAM process, but the components are also suitable for outdoor use.

The research team will be showing more about this at HANNOVER MESSE, Fraunhofer joint stand Hall 2, Stand B24.

DIN SPEC "Quality requirements for composite processes"

Release, October 27, 2023

© Fraunhofer IFAM
Development of the state of the art for composites

Fiber-reinforced plastics or composites are widely used due to their lightweight construction potential, especially in the #automotive, #rail vehicles, #shipbuilding, #aviation and #wind energy sectors. The manufacturing process is demanding. A standardized process for quality assurance within the production and maintenance of composite components is therefore crucial.

The @Fraunhofer IFAM initiated a first step towards increasing composite quality by forming a consortium, which was registered and supported by DIN and developed a set of rules for the "Quality requirements for #fiber composite plastic processes" along the entire composites process chain.

Similar to the established welding and bonding standards, DIN SPEC 35255 also contains the three core elements: the classification of composite components according to safety requirements, the requirements for personnel competence and the safety proof that acting stresses do not exceed maximum bearable stresses.

Further information can be found here

Using deep learning to classify steel materials objectively

Forschung Kompakt / Oktober 4, 2023

© Fraunhofer IWM
Visualization of state qualification. The model recognizes that coarse crystal regions are embedded in a fine matrix. Based on this, the model classifies the material as being in a bainitic state, as this heterogeneity is a unique feature of this state in the data set.

Rolling bearings are installed wherever something is in rotation. The wide range of applications extends from large wind turbines to small electric toothbrushes. These bearings, which consist of steel components, must be carefully selected and tested with regard to their quality and the application in question. The grain size has a crucial effect on the mechanical properties of the steel. Up to now, the size of the microscopic crystallites has been assessed by metallographers by way of visual inspection — a subjective and error-prone method. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials IWM, in collaboration with Schaeffler Technologies AG & Co. KG, have developed a deep learning model that enables objective and automated assessment and determination of the grain size.

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Ten years of BladeMaker: industrialized rotor blade production

Press Release, September 14, 2023

© Fraunhofer IWES
Rotor blade production at the BladeMaker demo center in Bremerhaven

The Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy Systems IWES began its research into automated rotor blade production ten years ago with the launch of the "BladeMaker" project. The subsequent "BladeFactory" project will be completed this October and serves as an important occasion for the project team to look back on the results and identify future trends in rotor blade production together with project partners and guests from the wind energy industry and research. The BladeMaker project was funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) with around 8 million euros, the BladeFactory project with 9 million euros. The final conference took place on Tuesday with around 40 guests at ENIQ on the EUREF campus in Berlin.

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Innovation for offshore wind energy at Fraunhofer IWES: Habeck inaugurates 115m+ rotor blade test rig

Press Release, June 30, 2023

© Hauke Müller
Official inauguration of the new 115m+ rotor blade test rig (from left): Christian Fenselau, Vestas, Prof. Andreas Reuter, Director of Fraunhofer IWES, Robert Habeck, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate ActionProtection, Senator Claudia Schilling, Mayor Andreas Bovenschulte, Hans-Otto Feldhütter, Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft.

The Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action Robert Habeck, the Mayor Andreas Bovenschulte, President of the Senate of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen, and the Senator for Science and Ports of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen, Claudia Schilling, today inaugurated the new 115m+ rotor blade test rig at the Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy Systems IWES in Bremerhaven. The new rotor blade test rig, the only one of its kind in the world, offers extensive testing facilities for rotor blades of over 115 meters. The construction of the test rig was funded by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Action (BMWK) with around 18 million euros and by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the state of Bremen and the European Regional Development Fund ERDF with around five million euros.

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Inauguration ceremony of the "Green Factory Augsburg" and worthy completion of a heartfelt project

Press Release, May 25, 2023

© Fraunhofer IGCV
Guests of honor at the "Green Factory Augsburg" inauguration ceremony (from left to right): Prof. em. Dr.-Ing. Gunther Reinhart (formerly TUM / Fraunhofer IGCV), Prof. Dr.-Ing. Klaus Drechsler (Fraunhofer IGCV), Prof. Dr. Gerhard Kramer (TUM), Prof. Dr. Raoul Klingner (Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft), Hubert Aiwanger (Bavarian StMWi), Eva Weber (City of Augsburg), Dr. Peter Weber (BMW Group), Prof. Dr.-Ing. Wolfram Volk and Prof. Dr.-Ing. Rüdiger Daub (both Fraunhofer IGCV)

The second location of the Fraunhofer IGCV in the Augsburg Innovation Park has now been inaugurated: around 140 guests from politics, industry and science celebrated the inauguration of the "Green Factory Augsburg". Regular research operations have been running there since February 2020. Postponed several times due to coronavirus, the ceremony finally took place on May 24, 2023 - and the main initiator, Prof. Gunther Reinhart, was given a fitting farewell.

Research stays abroad - greetings from far, far away: traveling the world as a visiting scientist

Press Release, January 27, 2023

© Fraunhofer IGCV
Frank Manis: Networking on the subject of carbon recycling at the SAMPE conference in Tokyo.

Research abroad - expanding knowledge and maintaining international contacts:

Fraunhofer IGCV employees regularly conduct research as guests at renowned foreign universities and research institutions. In addition to academic networking, these lifelong contacts can also be very valuable for international project acquisition.

Everyone involved benefits from a stay abroad at international research institutions: the scientists, who network even more closely in their field; the host institution, which obtains specific expertise for a relevant field of research; and the Fraunhofer IGCV, which further expands its international profile and worldwide contacts through cooperation with renowned universities. After these stays could not take place in 2021 due to the pandemic, some doctoral students took the opportunity again in 2022 to spend several months on a research stay for further education and training purposes.

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Additive manufacturing — simulated from start to finish

Press Release, January 2, 2023

© Fraunhofer IWM
Simulation of the formation of a columnar microstructure in a laser melting bath


Additive manufacturing of tools using a laser powder bed fusion process offers a great number of advantages: It is economical, precise and allows for customized solutions. That said, it can be difficult to determine the optimal process parameters, such as the scan speed or power of the laser. For the first time, researchers at Fraunhofer are now simulating the process at the microstructure level in order to identify direct correlations between the workpiece properties and the selected process parameters. To do this, they are combining a number of different simulation methods.

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