Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Fraunhofer IWES ready for testing XXL rotor blades

A ceremony on Thursday 9th June marked the official opening of the 90 meter test stand for rotor blades at Fraunhofer IWES.

The construction work took one and half years and the new 20,000 square meter facility doubles the existing capacity for testing complete rotor blades. A tiltable mounting block allows full bending of the blade tips, even for very long rotor blades, and also facilitates the mounting process. The new building represents an investment of 11 million euros and will make a key contribution to assuring the quality of rotor blade prototypes.

Long, longer, the longest: the new test stand allows rotor blade testing on a new scale.
Wolfhard Scheer

Engineer at the manway - this is the point where the rotor blade is mounted on the fixing block.
Falko Bürkner, Fraunhofer IWES

A test facility for heavy loads on sandy soil directly at the water’s edge – this was the starting situation for an extraordinary challenge. When the 200 foundation piles were positioned in January 2010 shortly after the first spade of soil was removed, the construction site looked like the excavation works for an ancient temple. A mounting block weighing 1000 metric tons and load transference of up to 500 kN per load point, which is applied to the rotor blade during testing, make this structure necessary.

Fraunhofer IWES has built a unique testing facility at its site in Bremerhaven that allows rotor blade prototypes to be subjected to very realistic loads. The facility was funded by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, the State of Bremen, and the European Fund for Regional Development (EFRD). The rotor blade tests deliver, in accordance with IEC requirements, meaningful statements in just a few months about whether a rotor blade can withstand a service life of 20 years undamaged. Compared to the existing testing hall for 70 meter blades, which has been in operation since 2009 and is already operating at full capacity, the new facility not only provides the space for very long rotor blades to be tested but also features a tiltable mounting block.

As this huge steel block can assume an angle of tilt of up to 20 degrees, the tips of even very large blades can be bent by 30 meters. The block also facilitates the mounting of the rotor blades. With the ability to test rotor blades that are, for example, being designed for large 10 MW wind turbines, Fraunhofer IWES is well equipped for the future: “This 90 meter test facility will certainly see us through the coming years and takes into account the current trend towards large rotor blades“, says Prof. Dr. Andreas Reuter, Director of the Fraunhofer IWES in Bremerhaven. Instead of having large generators, the focus will be on larger rotors. This will allow more hours of operation at full load and this is the reason for the change in emphasis, explains Reuter. The main challenge here is to realize aerodynamic efficiency without notable extra weight and additional costs.

The requirements of industry have been taken into account in the design of the test stand: A steering committee, comprising representatives from industry, have supervised the project from the initial planning stage right through to the operational phase. For example, new combinations of materials and new rotor blade designs can now be tested before they are taken into series production. This work is often also undertaken via publicly funded research projects. “We are developing innovative testing and monitoring methods that demonstrate to customers how rotor blades perform under realistic loads,” explains Dr. Arno van Wingerde, Head of the Competence Center for Rotor Blades at Fraunhofer IWES.

The first test began just a few days after the celebration to mark the start-up of operations. As the new test stand is already in high demand, the next expansion step is not long away: This autumn another mounting block will be installed in the 90 meter testing hall.

Britta Rollert | Fraunhofer-Institut
Further information:

Further reports about: IWES XXL rotor blade rotor blade prototypes test facility wind turbine

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

Im Focus: Radar for navigation support from autonomous flying drones

At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.

Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

International Virtual Reality Conference “IEEE VR 2018” comes to Reutlingen, Germany

08.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Wandering greenhouse gas

16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

'Frequency combs' ID chemicals within the mid-infrared spectral region

16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'

16.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>