- Published: 15 February 2021 15 February 2021
Hexcel has announced its latest HexPly XF surface technology which is able to reduce shell manufacturing time within the wind blade surface finishing process. HexPly XF increases overall blade manufacturing efficiency by reducing time in the mold by up to two hours and by banishing surface defects that require rework before painting.
HexPly XF surface technology introduces a new material format as the surface finishing layer, eliminating the need for a traditional in-mold gel coating process. HexPly XF for infused rotor blades, is a lightweight non-woven semi-preg construction, comprising an epoxy resin matrix, that co-cures with standard epoxy infusion systems.
Supplied in roll form, HexPly XF can be applied by hand or with semi-automated layup equipment. It features one self-adhesive, surface finishing side - indicated by a removable protective foil. This side of the prepreg is placed against a release agent treated mold surface. Once the material has been positioned, the lay-up of the blade shell structure can start immediately, and the laminate can be infused.
HexPly XF material is less than half the weight of a typical gel coat per square meter. Additionally, the consistent areal weight and thickness of the prepreg film provide a completely uniform surface coating and there is no need to handle or mix liquid chemicals as in the gel coat process. The material has a shelf life of six weeks at ambient temperature.