Uwe Tiltmann, Managing Director, COMPOSYST GmBHUwe Tiltmann, Managing Director
Governments and large enterprises are looking to fast-track wind energy innovation to meet the rising power demand while lowering the environmental impact. Reducing the installation and maintenance cost while increasing service life of wind turbines is another top priority for them. To that end, they are exploring higher altitude winds by setting up taller wind turbines with rotor blades spanning 100 meters and reaching up to supersonic speeds at their tips to meet these goals. However, the enormous load at the tip of the blades can damage the infrastructure if swift and proactive remedial measures are not put in place. The need of the hour is to enable a high degree of process standardization and implement efficient solutions that facilitate continuous enhancements in the turbine to meet the changing market needs and environmental conditions.

Enter COMPOSYST GmbH, a German company that produces highly functional wind mill parts and structures using an advanced composite material that facilitates outstanding rotor blade performance at a low cost. COMPOSYST offers such value through its end-to-end consulting services and production support, from concept development to material choice and prototyping through serial production. “With our know-how and experience in wind blade engineering and manufacturing, we guide our clients in every step of the way in developing complex parts and structures with high standards,” says Uwe Tiltmann, Managing Director at COMPOSYST. The parts developed by COMPOSYST are renowned for their lightweight, aerospace quality levels, reduced risk, eco-friendly nature, low emissions, and high level of occupational safety in wind turbine installation and management. But how does COMPOSYST deliver structures that can withstand dynamic wind loads? The leadership at COMPOSYST developed a special infusion technology, VAP® (Vacuum Assisted Process), while working at AIRBUS for more than 20 years. Initially developed for the aerospace domain, VAP® is an established production process that brings high reliability and component quality through lesser waste and reduced risk. Besides, it supports stable and controlled process results, high reproducibility, and the production of complex 3D shapes. Led by individuals who were part of the R&D team that invented VAP®, COMPOSYST uses VAP® to its fullest potential. In fact, COMPOSYST is the only licensee (AIRBUS being the co-inventor and patent holder) for the infusion process through which it ensures swift and error-free high-volume production of large complex components in which many smaller parts are integrated.

As an added value, COMPOSYST educates clients on the intricate details related to the handling and processing of materials during the production process. “We source the right materials, design the right process, train the staff in the techniques and details. Given the huge manual labour and quality requirements involved in producing the parts, our expert workforce and technicians steps up to the occasion with necessary skills, attention to detail and focus to deliver the desired results.

COMPOSYST offers such value through its end-to-end consulting services and production support, from concept development to material choice and prototyping through serial production

It’s a complete package that we give to the customer and the responsibility for the whole lies in our hands,” says Tiltmann.

A few years ago, COMPOSYST played a central role in enabling the process development of a prototype carbon fibre spar cap in VAP® technology together with the German textile company SAERTEX. The enormously large width of the spar cap is touted to be the longest ever produced. The project was completed in collaboration with a wind turbine blade manufacturer in China. The spar cap is designed to reduce the part’s weight and achieve higher stiffness, which is essential for rotor blades of such extreme length. COMPOSYST takes complete responsibility over the process, materials and devices because of which the company has delivered quality carbon spar caps for large rotor blades that are deployed in various parts of the world, including India, China, South Korea, Brazil, the US and Europe.

Beyond the manufacturing of high-quality structures in the wind energy sector, COMPOSYST is also an active player in the elevator business. In a case study, COMPOSYST has developed the LACE elevator car (a Light weight All-Composite Elevator) from the ground up by combining lightweight structures resulting in a prototype, which is one-third of the mass of a typical elevator car built from aluminium, glass, and steel. Enabled with mechanical robustness, the prototype stimulates the creativity of architects and designers alike, paving the way for endless innovation. Based on this prototype, the company has developed MULTI elevator car, which has won accolades for its design. With its ability to move cars both vertically and horizontally, MULTI frees building design from the constraints imposed by conventional elevators. Without any rope mass limiting vertical movement in buildings, MULTI allows people to travel hundreds of storeys without the need for changing elevators.

Focused on developing elevator cars and other structures that are more lightweight and agile than ever before, COMPOSYST is eagerly pursuing 3D printing for improved design, installation and management of parts and structures in the wind turbine facilities. The company is investing heavily in 3D printing and is exploring ways to integrate that with its proprietary VAP® technology to build lighter and stiffer structures. “Our mission is to be a facilitator of clean energy through zero-waste production, cost savings, rapid prototyping and tailor-made structures,” concludes Tiltmann.