2KM continues to evolve and develop the equipment supplied to the Wind Blade manufacturing industry. During the first half of 2012 another 25 systems were manufactured for some of the industry’s largest suppliers of wind turbines. Systems supplied include the PolyMix 2000 for the adhesives application, PolyMix 400 to apply fairing compounds for surface finishing and the ResinMix for infusion of the shells or structure.
2KM has evolved the ResinMix machine range to suit the infusion process in the manufacturing of composite wind turbine blades. The new version of the successful system incorporates many new and innovative features aimed at the direct infusion process.
Material Conditioning and Application challenge
The company was approached by a major manufacturer to look at how the epoxy resins used can be conditioned and applied to reduce preparation time and wastage through the use of the traditional “infusion vessel”. The customers’ requirements were for in line degassing coupled with a system to have outputs controllable from 1 to 60 litres per minute.
The standard ResinMix layout utilises inverter controlled, geared AC motors coupled to the metering pumps. Even with cooling fans this traditional layout runs the drive motors too hot at low speeds to give an effective solution. 2KM redesigned the metering system using high precision axial piston pumps directly driven by servo motors. This combination enables the flow rates and ratio to be tightly controlled and speed range to be lengthened. The new format gives the required torque throughout the output range and ensures the correct ratio between the required flow rates.
The next issue to overcome was degassing the high viscosity resin. Traditional process included large storage vessels and batch degassing. Both processes incorporated a preparation time prior to the application. This was manageable with smaller items but with some structures involving over 3000 litres of resin this was not a practical solution.
The solution that 2KM gave was to develop and evolve the VacFlo inline degassing system with a flow through heater. This system takes the resin directly from the IBC or drum and displaces it into a degasing process. The material is heated, to drop the viscosity, and then the stream is broken into small droplets in an evacuation chamber. That way the air is removed from the material which is then transferred using a positive displacement pump to the metering system.
The evolution of the ResinMix range is drawn from our experience of over 37 years in the Reactive Polymer Processing market. 2KM designs, develops and produces systems to meet the evolving commercial and technical requirements of the Wind Blade manufacturing industry.