The creation of the flagship tool required Norco and Blade Dynamics to use a Cytect patented ZPREG technology due to the low expansion rate and high turnaround times of the highly structural blade tip. There were also a number of design challenges which Norco had to overcome to produce the tool including the use of carbon fibre as a tooling material. This was overcome by carrying out a detailed thermal and structural analysis to ensure the support frame was efficient to support the tool throughout the rotational cycle of opening and closing yet not distort the mould during high temperature bake cycles.
Norco also required a multi-zone integrated heating system with an external control unit to produce the tool. This resulted in Norco teaming up with Lamina Heat, who provided Norco with their power film technology, enabling Norco to use a controllable heat source exactly where needed for each point of production.
The tool is now CE approved and weighs 1.8 tonnes including frame and hinges.
Commenting on the production of the tool, Managing Director of Norco, Mark Northey, said:
“We are extremely pleased with the tool we have produced for Blade Dynamics. Despite being a relatively complex tool to produce, we have now enabled Blade Dynamics innovative blade tips to be quickly and efficiently manufactured. Norco is thrilled to be able to contribute towards the future of the renewable energy sector.”