▪ Windshaft opens the door for Sidenor Forgings & Castings towards a possible new business line aimed at a high added-value market.
▪ CTC has brought its knowledge on structural integrity so as to ensure that the part will withstand the loads of a wind turbine.
▪ ASK Chemicals completes the list of entities involved in this project, which has passed the proof of concept and could become a driving force in the local economy.
A consortium consisting of Sidenor Forgings & Castings, ASK Chemicals and the CTC technology centre has been able to define and develop a new series of high-performance wind shafts for the market of offshore renewable energies. Windshaft establishes the patterns for the manufacturing of large parts (6 – 8 MW) at a more competitive cost. The industrial implementation of this innovation project, in which CTC has taken part as a technology partner, will enable the steel Company to open a possible new business line aimed at a high added-value market.
Windshaft is subsidized by Sodercan within the framework of the call for the support of cooperation R&D projects in marine renewable energies of the I+C=+C programme. Research is supposed to bring solutions to one of the major challenges currently facing offshore wind energy, that is, cost reduction. The sector’s biggest challenge consists in increasing the size of wind turbines without decreasing the performance of the parts, and at a competitive manufacturing cost.
The knowledge of the CTC technology centre in the field of structural integrity happened to be essential for the project to comply with both requisites. Sidenor Forgings & Castings, on its part, has optimized the required nodular casting parameters in order to remedy the mechanical deficiencies which usually appear in this kind of process. In this case, reaching the required thicknesses in this type of parts is already a challenge in itself.
Moreover, the researchers of the region’s sole technology centre have performed an analysis of the life cycle from the perspective of structural integrity, so as to ensure that the new pattern will withstand the loads of a wind turbine. CTC’s experience in the field of renewable marine energies, more specifically in initiatives related to smart offshore structures, changed the Cantabrian centre into a fundamental technology ally for Windshaft’s development.
CTC’s expertise has been supplemented by a thorough characterization, performed by ASK Chemicals, of the sand and paintings that are necessary for a suitable casting of the part. This cooperative work performed over 27 months provides Sidenor Forgings & Castings with a competitive advantage in order to enter a market where quality is a fundamental factor. To date, a proof of concept has been developed in order to validate the operational ability of the project. The local plant now has sufficient knowledge for entering a highly specialised sector, where high economic benefits can be generated.