Department of Business Development and Technology

An Evaluation Framework on Additive Manufacturing for Hydraulic Systems in Wind Turbines Focused on System Simplification

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The wind energy industry showed rapid growth in the past decade, pushing designs to the physical limits. In the last few years, the exponential growth of the wind turbine sizes capped, and the performance upgrades are reached with optimization processes. The first wave was on major parts, but with time advancing the “cost out” strategies are pushed to minor components. A major problem is service costs and the continuous search for missing spare parts in the market. The main aim of this study is to identify when is the best entry point for the additive manufacturing (AM) technology by the hydraulic manufacturer wind turbine companies. From the commercial application for expensive prototypes, it has evolved to economical home use applications. The newly available machines allow printing parts with competing precision to machining equivalents. The material selections range from plastics to metals with mechanical properties equally good or better. This project aims to provide a comprehensive review of the implementation of AM for hydraulic systems in wind turbines. Application screening was done by desk research and on AM technologies. Scientific research has been found on the topic for benchmarking, viability, and cost models. It has been found that there are still missing data for the mechanical properties of the available materials. The result of the decision-weighted matrix shows that the business could gain a competitive advantage by the AM implementation in terms of resources savings and productivity. Although from the technological and market perspective it is justified to initiate before further action the business should review its organization viability
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)327-343
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021

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