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Partners complete trials in automated blade finishing programGE Renewable Energy, LM Wind Power and GE Research in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) launched the “Automated Blade Finishing” program in 2020, aiming to improve throughput, Environmental Health and Safety (EHS), and quality in wind turbine blade manufacturing.
 
Blade finishing includes trimming excess material after molding and grinding blade surface to meet quality requirements.
 
The program’s 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.
 
The team moved from concept to prototype boosted by the capabilities offered at NREL’s Composites Manufacturing Education and Technology (CoMET) facilities 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.
 
LM Wind Power is currently progressing the next steps of factory trials and industrialisation, with the target of implementing in LM Wind Power’sNorth American manufacturing facilities in the next product and factory cycle.
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