TPI Composites has been granted a patent for a mold used in the formation of wind turbine blades. The mold includes a first flange portion and a second perpendicular flange portion, both made up of multiple laminae. Copper wires are embedded within the laminae to conduct heat. The mold does not have any fluid conduits and allows for movement of the flange portions. The patent also covers a method of using the mold to form a portion of a wind turbine blade. GlobalData’s report on TPI Composites gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s company profile on TPI Composites, turbine components 3D Printing was a key innovation area identified from patents. TPI Composites's grant share as of June 2023 was 1%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

Patent granted for a mold for forming wind turbine blades

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: TPI Composites Inc

A recently granted patent (Publication Number: US11685080B2) describes a method for forming a portion of a wind turbine blade within a blade mold. The method involves using a removable mold with a first laterally extending flange portion and a second vertically extending flange portion. The second flange portion is positioned at the leading edge of the base portion of the blade mold and contains a thermal conductor.

To form the blade portion, the heating element in the base portion of the blade mold is activated, transferring heat through the first and second flange portions. A composite material is then placed in contact with either the base portion or the second flange portion. Once the process is complete, the removable mold is removed from the blade mold.

Additional claims in the patent include the movement of the base portion of the blade mold to partially contact the first flange portion, heating the thermal conductor to provide a uniform temperature along the second flange portion, and the use of a thermal conductor that extends from the first flange portion to the second flange portion. The patent also mentions the integration of the first and second flange portions, the use of a copper wire as the thermal conductor, and the ability to move either the first or second flange portion relative to the base portion.

Another method described in the patent involves applying a current to the thermal conductor instead of activating a heating element in the base portion. This method also includes the option of having different temperature zones within the first flange portion.

Overall, this patent presents a method for efficiently forming a portion of a wind turbine blade within a blade mold. By utilizing removable molds with integrated flange portions and thermal conductors, the process allows for effective heat transfer and the use of composite materials. The flexibility of the method, as demonstrated by the various claims, provides options for customization and optimization in blade manufacturing.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.