A blustery day is a common occurrence here in the UK, so it’s not surprising that this country is considered to be the best location for wind power in Europe and is ranked as the sixth largest producer of wind power in the world! So where are all of these wind turbines coming from, and who’s making all of the parts?
According to the UK Wind Energy Database (UKWED) wind power in the UK currently consists of 635 projects and over 5,500 wind turbines.
So where are all of these wind turbines coming from, and who’s making all of the parts?
Wind turbine parts
When we say ‘wind turbine parts’ we’re not just referring to the huge wind turbine blades that you see in the sky. It is these rotor blades, the tower and the nacelle that make up the basic construction, but there are also a whole variety of other components and inner workings needed; from air intakes and access doors, to covering and protective parts.
The overall weight and cost of each wind turbine is the key to making wind energy competitive with other power sources. This means that the real opportunity today is through manufacturing wind turbine parts from better, low cost materials, through high volume production whilst ensuring reliability is maintained *.
To take advantage of this opportunity the majority of these parts are now formed in plastics but used to be made from materials like steel, aluminium or glass fibre.
Why vacuum formed plastic is used
Vacuum formed plastic is now used for many of these wind turbine parts instead of metal and glass fibre for a number of different reasons:
- Shorter processing times
- Great structural strength
- Flexible design options
- Lower start up tooling costs
- Low material costs
- Light in weight
- Easy to handle and cheaper to transport
Making wind turbine parts from plastic
With vacuum forming now recognised as a solution for making wind turbine parts we are receiving more and more requests from organisations in this industry.
We work in close partnership with the wind turbine manufacturer to ensure that each project runs smoothly and the best results can be achieved. The wind turbine manufacturer design and develop the wind turbine and pass onto us the specifications for each part we need to make. We then work together to make develop and produce plastic parts that suit their exacting needs; in terms of quality, aesthetics, function and cost.
We recently worked with a manufacturer of performance enhanced wind turbines who asked us to mould a large single piece thermoformed Rotor, combining both blades and shroud. This part had some very specific operational requirements and was made to provide an extremely even circumferential material thickness and a high degree of resistance from UV light degradation, due to its extreme exposure to the elements. Find out more about this plastic formed wind turbine part in our wind turbine case study .
Enquire about vacuum formed wind turbine parts
As leading vacuum forming specialists in the UK we have over 30 years of experience, and combine our technical capability with creative design and thermoforming know-how, to produce innovative, quality components economically and on time.
Vacuum forming wind turbine parts is an area of expertise for us so if you’d like to discuss your requirements, or simply want to ask us some questions, then please get in touch with our team on 01482 646464 or contact us.