The global business we are in is all about generating electricity as efficiently as possible without adding to the damage already caused to the planet.
Hi, my name is Dave Thompson and I am the Technical Manager for Bladefence North America. I have been with Bladefence for 10 years and a lot has changed in the wind industry and at Bladefence over that time. I started as a blade repair technician, traveling all over Europe repairing blades. There were 3 of us in the field and 1 Finn running the office side. The growth has been rapid but always sustainable, we never bit off more than we could deliver. When Bladefence expanded into North America and the Canadian operation was expanding, I moved virtual offices to help transfer the lessons we had learnt in Europe to the other side of the Atlantic.
Bladefence has always been about using the latest technology and innovations to be as efficient as possible when working on wind turbines. Whether that is the use of advanced access methods (Bronto’s Skylift MEWP products and recently WP System’s enclosed platform solution for cooler climates) or fast UV curing composite materials from Gurit & Sunrez. The less downtime when the repairs are carried out the more time the turbine can be in production mode generating electricity. It is this philosophy that drives our continuous search for the latest products and solutions. Over the years we have built strong relationships with our suppliers in all areas of our business (Composite materials, access methods, IT solutions). We aim to push the technology and innovation forward with our extensive field experience from the frozen Islands off Norway’s northern coast to the sweltering conditions in the plains of Texas.
The winter period is an ideal time to meet, discuss and research new products. We carry out real-world simulated trials of new products and solutions in our bases in Texas, Ontario and Finland. The results, good and bad, are discussed between all teams and once a solution is agreed, the process is documented, training programs written, and then passed to our experienced sales teams to offer to our customers. This results in reduced maintenance costs and increased production time for their assets.
This winter we have had productive meetings and innovative hands-on demonstrations with major composite suppliers.
In early January, we met with our Sika representative at our Texas facility to discuss laminating process developments when using their new and improved BiResin system. Not only is it a more environmentally friendly epoxy laminating system but the new formulation allows reduced waiting time before applying a vacuum bag. This reduces the time taken to complete the repair and return the turbine back into production.
Late January, we visited Gurit on the Isle of Wight, UK and met their Application Engineers who demonstrated the “game changing” resin application system CDS (Cartridge Dispensing System) which not only reduces the Health and Safety risks to technicians using epoxy resins, but also reduces the chance of incorrectly weighed and then mixed resin and hardener. There were many more benefits which became very clear during the hands-on demonstration. For example, reducing material wastage through only mixing the amount of resin you need and at the time you need it, reduced packaging of the materials and then reducing the H&S risks associated with storing opened 20kg pails in workshop trailers and vans. Combined with their proven and qualified resin system and range of hardeners for different working temperatures, this is a very exciting product not only for blade repairs but reducing our impact on the environment.
The wind industry is constantly progressing, and we aim to be at the forefront with innovative and environmentally positive solutions for our customers and the planet.