AUTOWIND project is a great integrated experimental development and strategic project, whose main objective is the development of a new integrated system for production of wind turbines based on the application of high-power laser technology for longitudinal and circunferencial welding process of the sleeves that make up the different sections of the towers. To meet the requirements of accuracy and repeatability necessary for the implementation of this new welding process, it is necessary to act on previous manufacturing processes of the panned sleeves since their precision adjustment and positioning and their own hardiness, condition the practicality and quality of the subsequent laser welding.

In this regard, currently, the bending and panning process are characterized by being essentially manual, slow and highly dependent on the experience of the operators. Likewise, the current process of welding by submerged arc, requires a high number of passes for the generation of the weld. These critical factors, originate low productivity manufacturing processes, with high fabrication costs associated and low reproducibility.

Therefore, the AUTOWIND project aims to develop highly technological solutions that enable to increase productivity and enhance the structural quality and repeatability of the final product as well as allow profitably manufacture of new shafts larger that the wind market demand, aspect that is not possible with current manufacturing systems. These technologies to develop in AUTOWIND include:

  • Development of a system for measuring and monitoring dimensional virolado process, development of a process control system and development of an expert software system for automatic configuration of the bending machine during the process.
  • Development of a monitoring and control system that allows automating the panned process between ferrules.
  • Taking advantage of accuracy and quality provided by the previous developments, development of a new welding process based on high-power laser technology combined with arc welding processes for the manufacture of wind turbine towers.

AUTOWIND project has been promoted by the main factory manufacturing wind towers of Spain, GESTAMP WIND STEEL GALICIA, which leads the project. GESTAMP WIND STEEL GALICIA direct the integration of the different results and validation of the various technologies developed in the enviroment of the manufacturing industry of wind stems.

The AUTOWIND consortium also has participation of GANOMAGOGA, specialized in the design and engineering for the wind energy sector and heavy boilers, SYSPRO ENGINEERING, specialized in automation engineering, robotics and development of vision systems for different industries and EMTE SYSTEMS.

Given the complexity of the AUTOWIND project, the consortium will be supported AIMEN, leading technology center nationally in laser technologies and characterization of metallic materials and experienced in the field of artificial vision and sensing process. This center will work with companies of AUTOWIND consortium, among other things, on: development of the laser welding process of longitudinal and circumferential ferrules that make wind shafts and in the development of vision systems that allow monitoring and automation bending and panning processes.

This project has been supported by the CDTI, the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, Galician Agency for Innovation (AGI) and the Technology Fund.