TPI Collaborates on Polymer 3D Printers for Wind Turbine Tooling


TPI Composites has partnered with the University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center (ASCC) and Oak Ridge National Laboratory to utilize what has been dubbed one of the world’s largest polymer 3D printers for the production of wind turbine tooling. 

ASCC’s Composite Center’s Ingersoll MasterPrint is set to provide print modular wind blade tooling at 500 lb per hour, with segments up to 18.3 meters long.

As part of the project, the tooling will also incorporate 3D-printed heating elements using coextruded resistive wire to achieve uniform mold temperatures within 5°C and heating rates of 0.5°C per minute.

TPI will utilize the section of full-scale tooling to fabricate actual composite components from the printed tooling assembly, which will be composed of assembled modules. 

“TPI Composites has a long-standing commitment to developing cutting-edge solutions for the wind energy industry,” says Bill Siwek, president and CEO of TPI Composites. “By leveraging 3D printing technology, we are looking at ways to streamline our tooling process and pave the way for more efficient and cost-effective wind blade production.”

The tooling will be 100% recyclable and could reduce large blade product development cycles and tooling costs.

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