GE aims to optimise production of offshore wind turbines with 3D printing

The Haliade-X turbine in Rotterdam. Image by: Twitter @GErenewables.

September 16 (Renewables Now) - General Electric (NYSE:GE) is partnering with the Fraunhofer Institute for Casting, Composite and Processing Technology (Fraunhofer IGCV) and industrial 3D printing company voxeljet AG (NASDAQ:VJET) to develop the world’s largest 3D printer for offshore wind applications.

The technology will speed up and optimise the production of casting components of GE’s Haliade-X offshore turbine, the company said today.

The Advance Casting Cell (ACC) 3D printer will be capable of printing molds for key components of the turbine nacelle up to 9.5 metres (31.2 ft) in diameter and over 60 tonnes in weight. It will allow large turbine parts to be produced near offshore wind projects, leading to lower transportation costs and bringing environmental benefits and reduced carbon footprint, GE explained.

"This unprecedented production technology will be a game changer for production efficiency allowing localized manufacturing in high cost countries, a key benefit for our customers looking to maximize the local economic development benefits of offshore wind,” said Juan Pablo Cilia, senior additive design engineer at GE Renewable Energy.

The project is expected to kick off in the current quarter. The partners look to start initial printer trials during the first quarter of 2022.

The printer development is supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.

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Plamena has been a UK-focused reporter for many years. As part of the Renewables Now team she is taking a keen interest in policy moves.

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