The team which designed and produced the first wind turbine blade making use of 3-D printed mold has been recognized for a new design that could help in reducing the expense and time of developing new and improved wind technologies. In the last week, Sandia National Laboratories won the Federal Laboratory Consortium for the Technology Transfer’s national Technology Focus Award 2018. This award was presented for the 3-D printed mold design.
According to the winning team, the 3-D printed mold design is expected to help in reducing the time it requires for creating prototypes for wind turbine parts. Earlier, it used to require around sixteen months and now with the new design, it will require approximately three month. For this project, Sandia stated that they have entered into a partnership wind turbine blade manufacturer TPI Composites and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which also included 3-D printing the mold directly from a digital design.
The team while giving demonstration of the project focused on a 13-meter blade. Sandia stated that if a smaller demonstration design is to be applied at the high scale in several industries, then designers can further take more risks with accelerate innovations and experimental designs in wind technologies.
Furthermore, they stated that the wind department has expertise in designing blade; however, their group do not work with additive manufacturing. In addition, the project is expected to act as an opportunity to combine expertise from an industry adviser and two laboratories, which will immediately bring this knowledge in to the private sector.