ABB Robotics – Painting wind turbine rotor blades

Enercon has installed two ABB robots in its new paint facilities in Aurich for painting rotor blades. This is the first installation of its kind, able to complete the entire finishing process on large dimension rotor components.

Finishing consists of two layers: The first layer is the gel coat. . The ABB robots provides the exact amount of gel coat for the required thickness: Depending on the amount of stress on a particular area, thicknesses may vary between 0.3 mm where loads are light and 0.6 mm along the leading edge or so-called nose (part of
blade in first contact with wind) where loads are particularly high. The second layer is an environmentally
friendly water-based varnish. Colour schemes ranging from plain grey to diagonal red-white-red-grey stripes are
fully automatically coordinated without having to stop the facility in-between.
Paint and finishing robots require extremely sophisticated control systems. An even coat can only be obtained with smooth-flowing motions. This is achieved by using seven axis paint robots. The electronic control system not only coordinates the robots seven axes but at the same time monitors all the other technical parameters such as temperature, viscosity, spray pressure and the correct paint dosage, explains Torsten Link, ENERCONs expert for blade finishing.

Enercon manufacture the world’s largest turbine blades with rotor diameters of over 125 meters. The paint protects the blades against the weather conditions which they are exposed to throughout their lifetime. The new robots have resulted in improved production capacity and deliver consistently high quality rotor blades.

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