The rapid expansion of the wind power generation market, fueled by both private and government initiatives, requires a similarly rapid increase in the production of wind turbine components. This is particularly true in the manufacture of turbine blades, which continue to grow in both demand and size.
To maintain or increase output efficiency, larger blades must meet the divergent need of also being lighter in weight. Therefore, fiberglass and epoxy-based composites have replaced aluminum and steel as primary manufacturing materials.
Larger blades also require increased precision in the production process.
To help increase accuracy and production speed, Carter Products introduced their CPS 3-D laser alignment system.
“Historically, the hand measurement of materials and layup of composites has been extraordinarily time-intensive. We have documented reductions of 50% in labor hours using our alignment systems,” says Peter Perez, President of Carter Products. “With turbine blades being backordered for 1-2 years, this additional automation will really help eliminate that bottleneck.”
Carter’s initial project was with a large manufacturer with plants in the U.S., Mexico and China. Due to the proprietary nature of their production process, the company has asked not to be identified.
“Our customer has experienced exponential growth in their turbine blade business,” says Perez. “We are helping them meet current demands, and we’re growing right along with them. Obviously, the environmental initiatives proposed by the new administration in Washington will help continue that strong growth trend. It’s particularly gratifying to achieve both business and societal goals at the same time.”
At the WINDPOWER 2009 show being held at McCormick Place in Chicago, May 5-7, Carter will introduce the next generation of their laser alignment system. Now designated the LP-HFD, the improvements on this proven technology include more sophisticated projection capabilities and software. It is also available with a green laser output which is more visible in many manufacturing environments. Finally, the LP-HFD is smaller and lighter than previous models.
Visit Carter at booth #5443 at the show.
For blade production, the Carter laser alignment systems provide an interface to industry-standard CAD design software. Layout and production information is extracted from the CAD program and projected to the work area. The system combines contour templating and computer control to increase accuracy; reducing cycle times, labor costs and rework.
For large components such as turbine blades, multiple units are linked to project across the entire production area, but are tied to a single control. The system then provides sequential layup guidelines for both longitudinal and latitudinal sheet material placement as well as alignment of reinforcements and bracing if required.
The powerful Laser Projection Manager (LPM) software is able to process all graphical data exported to the laser interface. It visualizes the relationships between position, projection height and object rotation to ensure the greatest projection accuracy at any point in the working field. Additionally, for special production requirements which are not contained in the original CAD program, “teaching” the system is fast and easy.
Finally, Carter laser alignment systems will also work with CNC machining centers to guide final milling and trimming of the finished blade or other component.
Carter Products has an extensive background in the engineering and manufacture of goods and systems to enhance productivity, at both the industrial and consumer levels. In addition to the CPS and LP-HFD, they offer a full range of guide line lasers. Other industrial products include the innovative Carter Flip-Pod® vacuum part holddown system for CNC manufacturing, inspection lighting for quality control, precision calibration instruments for industrial widebelt sanding applications, and much more.
Carter also markets hundreds of products for the woodworking craftsman/hobbyist market and a broad range of other commercial applications in the wood, stone, solid surface and composites markets. The industries they serve are even more numerous; lumber, furniture, cabinetry, countertops, boating, recreational vehicles and many others.
For more information contact:
Carter Products Company, Inc.
2871 Northridge Dr.NW,
For additional information contact:
Mr. Kip Walworth
Carter Products Co. Inc.
2871 Northridge Dr. NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49544