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Title:
ELECTROSTATIC ELIMINATION FROM A MOULD
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2014/113970
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
An apparatus for eliminating electrostatic charge from a mould, such as a wind turbine blade mould (2). The apparatus comprises heating wires (4) within the mould for heating a zone of a moulding surface of the mould (2), an electrical power supply circuit (14) connected to the heating wires (4), and an intermediate relay (26) of an electrostatic elimination circuit (16) connected between the heating wires (4) and the electrical power supply circuit (14). The intermediate relay (26) is switchable between a heating mode and a grounding mode selectively so as to and electrically connect the heating wires (4) to the electrical power supply circuit (14) in the heating mode or to electrical earth in the grounding mode. A method of eliminating electrostatic charge from a mould such as a wind turbine blade mould (2) is also disclosed.

Inventors:
WANG XIZHONG (CN)
JIN XINGGANG (CN)
GAO YONGHUI (CN)
SUN LULU (CN)
LU JIALIN (CN)
Application Number:
CN2013/070988
Publication Date:
July 31, 2014
Filing Date:
January 25, 2013
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
SUZHOU RED MAPLE WIND BLADE MOULD CO LTD (CN)
International Classes:
H02H9/00
Domestic Patent References:
WO2009084392A12009-07-09
WO2009084392A12009-07-09
Foreign References:
CN202267725U2012-06-06
CN1577859A2005-02-09
JP2009081926A2009-04-16
CN202267725U2012-06-06
EP2468470A12012-06-27
Other References:
See also references of EP 2949018A4
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BEIJING SUNHOPE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LTD. (Kunxun PlazaZhichun Road 9, Haidian District, Beijing 1, CN)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

1. An apparatus for eliminating electrostatic charge from a mould, the apparatus comprising heating wires within the mould for heating a zone of a moulding surface of the mould, an electrical power supply circuit connected to the heating wires, and an intermediate relay of an electrostatic elimination circuit connected between the heating wires and the electrical power supply circuit, the intermediate relay being switchable between a heating mode and a grounding mode so as selectively electrically to connect the heating wires to the electrical power supply circuit in the heating mode or to electrical earth in the grounding mode.

2. An apparatus according to claim 1 further comprising a diverter switch on an output side of the electrical power supply circuit for switching the intermediate relay between the heating mode and the grounding mode.

3. An apparatus according to claim 1 or claim 2 wherein the relay includes an input live (L) power line and an input neutral (N) power line respectively interconnected by the relay to an output live (L) power line and an output neutral (N) power line which connect to the heating wires.

4. An apparatus according to claim 3 wherein on at least one of the live (L) and neutral (N) power lines, the respective input power line connects to a heating supply relay switch which selectively connects to the respective output power line, and a ground line is connected to the respective output power line and selectively connected to earth (E) by a grounding relay switch, and the heating supply and grounding relay switches are configured so that when the heating supply relay switch is open, the grounding relay switch is closed and vice versa. 5. An apparatus according to claim 3 wherein on both of the live (L) and neutral (N) power lines, the respective input power line connects to a heating supply relay switch which selectively connects to the respective output power line, and a ground line is connected to the respective output power line and selectively connected to earth (E) by a grounding relay switch, and the heating supply and grounding relay switches are configured so that when the heating supply relay switch is open, the grounding relay switch is closed and vice versa.

6. An apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 5 wherein the electrostatic elimination circuit includes an array of a plurality of parallel intermediate relays, each relay being electrically connected to a respective plurality of heating wires for heating a respective zone of the moulding surface.

7. An apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 6 wherein the heating wires are embedded wires from the moulding surface by a distance of from 2mm to 20mm.

8. An apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 7 wherein the mould is a wind turbine blade mould.

9. An apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 8 wherein the electrostatic elimination circuit is located within the periphery of the mould.

10. A method of eliminating electrostatic charge from a mould, the method comprising the steps of: a. providing heating wires within the mould for heating a zone of a moulding surface of the mould, an electrical power supply circuit connected to the heating wires, and an intermediate relay of an electrostatic elimination circuit connected between the heating wires and the electrical power supply circuit, and b. selectively switching the intermediate relay between a heating mode and a grounding mode so as selectively electrically to connect the heating wires to the electrical power supply circuit in the heating mode or to electrical earth in the grounding mode.

11. A method according to claim 10 wherein the intermediate relay is switched between the heating mode and the grounding mode by a diverter switch on an output side of the electrical power supply circuit.

12. A method according to claim 10 or claim 11 wherein the relay includes an input live (L) power line and an input neutral (N) power line respectively interconnected by the relay to an output live (L) power line and an output neutral (N) power line which connect to the heating wires.

13. A method according to claim 12 wherein on at least one of the live (L) and neutral (N) power lines, the respective input power line connects to a heating supply relay switch which is selectively connected to the respective output power line, and a ground line is connected to the respective output power line and is selectively connected to earth (E) by a grounding relay switch, and the heating supply and grounding relay switches are configured so that when the heating supply relay switch is open, the grounding relay switch is closed and vice versa.

14. A method according to claim 12 wherein on both of the live (L) and neutral (N) power lines, the respective input power line connects to a heating supply relay switch which is selectively connected to the respective output power line, and a ground line is connected to the respective output power line and is selectively connected to earth (E) by a grounding relay switch, and the heating supply and grounding relay switches are configured so that when the heating supply relay switch is open, the grounding relay switch is closed and vice versa. 15. A method according to any one of claims 10 to 14 wherein the electrostatic elimination circuit includes an array of a plurality of parallel intermediate relays, each relay being electrically connected to a respective plurality of heating wires for heating a respective zone of the moulding surface.

16. A method according to any one of claims 10 to 15 wherein the heating wires are embedded wires from the moulding surface by a distance of from 2mm to 20mm.

17. A method according to any one of claims 10 to 16 wherein the mould is a wind turbine blade mould.

18. A method according to any one of claims 10 to 17 wherein the electrostatic elimination circuit is located within the periphery of the mould.

19. A method according to any one of claims 10 to 18 wherein the intermediate relay is switched from the heating mode to the grounding mode prior to demoulding the moulded article from the mould.

20. A method of eliminating electrostatic charge from a wind turbine blade mould using the apparatus of any one of claims 1 to 9.

Description:
Electrostatic Elimination from a Mould

Technical Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to an apparatus for, and a method of, eliminating electrostatic charge from a mould, in particular a wind turbine blade mould. The present invention particularly relates to such an apparatus and method which enable the elimination of electrostatic charge from a wind turbine blade mould during the wind blade production process. The apparatus and method have particular application to an electrically heated wind turbine blade mould.

Technical Background of the Invention

With the development of science and technology, wind power as a safe and green renewable energy has developed rapidly. In recent years, the production technology of wind turbine blades has been continuously developed and improved. Current wind turbine blades typically have a length of more than 50 meters and are moulded out of fibre reinforced resin composite material.

Accordingly, exceedingly large moulds are required which have a mould surface corresponding to the dimensions of the wind blade to be moulded. During the moulding process, the resin is cured, and this generally requires the application of heat to the resin to ensure efficient and reliable curing of the resin. The heat is usually provided by electrically heated conductive filaments disposed beneath the moulding surface and coupled to a source of electrical power for selectively heating specific parts of the moulding surface to a desired temperature. A large electric heating zone of the mould occupies a large proportion of the entire wind turbine blade mould.

Large amounts of high-voltage electrostatic energy are generated during the blade demoulding process, and the electrostatic discharge would endanger site personnel safety and cause damage to the electrical components of the heating system. The problem of electrostatic build up in a mould after cure of a composite material also occurs also in moulds without an electrical heating system, for example when the heat for curing is provided by a recirculating hot air oven. Furthermore, the problem of electrostatic build up in a mould also occurs in moulds for moulding articles other than wind blades, and in particular much smaller articles using vacuum assisted resin transfer moulding (VARTM). The problem of electrostatic build up in a mould is more likely when moulding a composite material comprising carbon fibres.

Examples of such problems are: personnel receiving an electric shock on removing consumable vacuum bags or touching the moulded part after demoulding; electrical fuses being blown by an electrical current induced back into the electrical heating system as the parts are demoulded; burning of printed circuit boards and other electronic components within the electronic control system; and an increased frequency of these events when moulding large carbon fibre parts.

Aim of the Invention

In light of the problems with electrostatic charge in moulds, in particular large wind turbine blade moulds as discussed above, the present invention aims effectively to solve the problems of electrostatic discharge, and aims to provide an apparatus for and a method of eliminating high-voltage electrostatic charge during the composite material article production process, in particular the production of a wind turbine blade mould utilizing an electrically heated wind turbine blade mould.

Summary of the Invention

The present invention accordingly provides an apparatus for eliminating electrostatic charge from a mould, the apparatus comprising heating wires within the mould for heating a zone of a moulding surface of the mould, an electrical power supply circuit connected to the heating wires, and an intermediate relay of an electrostatic elimination circuit connected between the heating wires and the electrical power supply circuit, the intermediate relay being switchable between a heating mode and a grounding mode so as selectively electrically to connect the heating wires to the electrical power supply circuit in the heating mode or to electrical earth in the grounding mode.

Preferably, the mould is a wind turbine blade mould.

Optionally, the apparatus further comprises a diverter switch on an output side of the electrical power supply circuit for switching the intermediate relay between the heating mode and the grounding mode.

Optionally, the relay includes an input live (L) power line and an input neutral (N) power line respectively interconnected by the relay to an output live (L) power line and an output neutral (N) power line which connect to the heating wires.

In one preferred embodiment, on at least one of the live (L) and neutral (N) power lines, the respective input power line connects to a heating supply relay switch which selectively connects to the respective output power line, and a ground line is connected to the respective output power line and selectively connected to earth (E) by a grounding relay switch, and the heating supply and grounding relay switches are configured so that when the heating supply relay switch is open, the grounding relay switch is closed and vice versa.

In another preferred embodiment, on both of the live (L) and neutral (N) power lines, the respective input power line connects to a heating supply relay switch which selectively connects to the respective output power line, and a ground line is connected to the respective output power line and selectively connected to earth (E) by a grounding relay switch, and the heating supply and grounding relay switches are configured so that when the heating supply relay switch is open, the grounding relay switch is closed and vice versa. Optionally, the electrostatic elimination circuit includes an array of a plurality of parallel intermediate relays, each relay being electrically connected to a respective plurality of heating wires for heating a respective zone of the moulding surface.

Optionally, the heating wires are embedded wires from the moulding surface by a distance of from 2mm to 20mm.

Optionally, the electrostatic elimination circuit is located within the periphery of the mould.

The present invention further provides a method of eliminating electrostatic charge from a mould, the method comprising the steps of: a. providing heating wires within the mould for heating a zone of a moulding surface of the mould, an electrical power supply circuit connected to the heating wires, and an intermediate relay of an electrostatic elimination circuit connected between the heating wires and the electrical power supply circuit, and

b. selectively switching the intermediate relay between a heating mode and a grounding mode so as selectively electrically to connect the heating wires to the electrical power supply circuit in the heating mode or to electrical earth in the grounding mode.

Preferably, the mould is a wind turbine blade mould.

Optionally, the intermediate relay is switched between the heating mode and the grounding mode by a diverter switch on an output side of the electrical power supply circuit. Optionally, the relay includes an input live (L) power line and an input neutral (N) power line respectively interconnected by the relay to an output live (L) power line and an output neutral (N) power line which connect to the heating wires.

In one preferred embodiment, on at least one of the live (L) and neutral (N) power lines, the respective input power line connects to a heating supply relay switch which is selectively connected to the respective output power line, and a ground line is connected to the respective output power line and is selectively connected to earth (E) by a grounding relay switch, and the heating supply and grounding relay switches are configured so that when the heating supply relay switch is open, the grounding relay switch is closed and vice versa.

In another preferred embodiment, on both of the live (L) and neutral (N) power lines, the respective input power line connects to a heating supply relay switch which is selectively connected to the respective output power line, and a ground line is connected to the respective output power line and is selectively connected to earth (E) by a grounding relay switch, and the heating supply and grounding relay switches are configured so that when the heating supply relay switch is open, the grounding relay switch is closed and vice versa.

Optionally, the electrostatic elimination circuit includes an array of a plurality of parallel intermediate relays, each relay being electrically connected to a respective plurality of heating wires for heating a respective zone of the moulding surface.

Optionally, the heating wires are embedded wires from the moulding surface by a distance of from 2mm to 20mm.

Optionally, the electrostatic elimination circuit is located within the periphery of the mould. Optionally, the intermediate relay is switched from the heating mode to the grounding mode prior to demoulding the moulded article from the mould.

The present invention further provides a method of eliminating electrostatic charge from a wind turbine blade mould using the apparatus of the present invention.

The present invention takes advantage of the existed heating wires, and additionally installs an intermediate relay between the heating wires and the heating electrical control circuit. Moreover, a two-position selection switch is used to control the status of the intermediate relay for the purpose of switching the electrical connection of the heating wires.

The two states of the intermediate relay respectively play two roles:

1) When the mould needs to be heated, the heating wires will be connected to the electrical control circuit and is electrified for heating.

2) When the mould needs to be demoulded, the heating wires will be connected to the grounding line of the electrical power system, so that the high-voltage electrostatic is conducted to the grounding line.

Brief Description of the Drawings

Embodiements of the present invention will now be described by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

Figure 1 is an overall schematic diagram of a heating and electrostatic charge elimination and grounding circuit of a wind turbine blade mould according to an embodiment of the present invention.

Figure 2 is a schematic diagram of an array of intermediate relays in the heating and electrostatic charge elimination and grounding circuit of Figure 1.

Figure 3 is a schematic diagram of an intermediate relay and associated circuitry, the intermediate relay being comprised in the array shown in Figure 2. Detailed Description of the Preferred Embodiment

Referring to Figure 1, the wind turbine blade mould 2 is provided with a plurality of heating wires 4 embedded in the mould beneath the moulding surface. For clarity of illustration only some of the heating wires 4 are shown. The heating wires 4 are separated into a plurality of individual groups, each group being located for heating a particular zone of the wind turbine blade mould 2. The heating wires 4 shown in Figure 1 may be composed in a single group.

The heating wires 4 receive electrical power on a power line 6 of a power circuit. The power line 6 is connected to a heating control box 8 which receives an electrical power supply on line 10. An electrostatic discharge (ESD) line 12 exits the control box 6 and is connected to earth.

The heating wires 4 are preferably located close to the moulding surface of the mould 2 to provide an effective electrostatic leakage path from the moulding surface, for example the embedded wires being from 2mm to 20mm from the moulding surface.

Referring to Figure 2, a power circuit 14 in the heating box 8 includes a +DC power line 18 and a 0 Volt DC power line 24 which are connected to an electrostatic elimination circuit 16. A diverter switch 20 is on the +DC power line 18. The electrostatic elimination circuit 16 is connected to the power lines 18, 24. The electrostatic elimination circuit 16 includes an array of a plurality of parallel intermediate relays 26, designated Rl, R2, R3, .... R18. Of course in other embodiments a larger or smaller number of relays 26 may be employed, and the number is selected based on the mould size and the number of heating zones.

Typically, the electrostatic elimination circuit 16 is located within the periphery of the wind turbine blade mould 2.

When the diverter switch 20 is switched on, relays R1-R18 are energized and enter the heating mode.

Conversely, when the diverter switch 20 is switched off, relays Rl ~ R18 are not energized and enter the electrostatic elimination mode.

Figure 3 shows as an example intermediate relay Rl, and the structure and the function of the other intermediate relays R2 ~ R18 is the same as for relay Rl .

The relay 26 includes an input live (L) power line 30 and an input neutral (N) power line 32 respectively interconnected by the intermediate relay 26 to an output live (L) power line 38 and an output neutral (N) power line 46 which connect to the heating wires 4.

On the live (L) power side, the input line 30 from a portion 28 of the heating control box 8 connects to a first relay switch 36 which in turn selectively connects to the L output line 38, and a ground line 40 is connected to the L output power line 38 and selectively connected to earth (E) by a second relay switch 42. The first and second relay switches 36, 42 are configured so that when the first relay switch 36 is open (as illustrated), the second relay switch 42 is closed, and vice versa.

On the neutral (N) power side, the input line 32 connects to a third relay switch 44 which in turn selectively connects to the N output line 46, and a ground line 48 is connected to the N output line 46 and selectively connected to earth (E) by a fourth relay switch 50. The third and fourth relay switches 44, 50 are configured so that when the first relay switch 44 is open (as illustrated) the fourth relay switch 50 is closed, and vice versa.

When the intermediate relay 26 is energized, the first and third relay switches 36, 44 are switched on, and the second and fourth relay switches 42, 50 are switched off. The L output line 38 and N output line 46 are respectively turned on to power the heating wires 4. In this way, the output power of the heating control box 8 is loaded on to the heating wires 4, and the heating wires 4 in the respective zones of the wind blade mould 2 are selectively energized for heating.

Conversely, when the intermediate relay 26 is not energized, the first and third relay switches 36, 44 are switched off, and the second and fourth relay switches 42, 50 are switched on. The L output line 38 and N output line 46 are connected to earth E by the respective ground lines 40, 48. Therefore the heating wires 4 are directly connected to earth E, so that any high voltage electrostatic charge in the heating wires 4 and in the wind blade mould 2 flows to the earth through the intermediate relay 26, thereby protecting the electrical components of the electrical power and heating systems.

Accordingly the method of the invention switches the heating wires between a heating mode and a grounding mode by using an intermediate relay of an electrostatic elimination circuit between the heating wires and a power supply circuit for the heating wires.

The apparatus of the invention may be assembled by fitting an intermediate relay system to existing heating control system, in particular by adding an intermediate relay between the heating wires and the heating control box.

Although the illustrated embodiment of the present invention employs a wind turbine blade mould, the present invention may be implemented in moulds for moulding other articles of composite material.

The present invention has particular application when the moulded article includes carbon fibres.

Effects and Advantages of the Invention Since electrostatic charge is generated in the article, e.g. a wind turbine blade, production process, particularly during the demoulding process, large amounts of high-voltage electrostatic discharge would endanger site personnel safety and cause damage to the electrical components of the heating system.

By utilizing the method of the present invention, when electrostatic charge is conducted by the heating wires, a full mould surface electrostatic shielding network forms, which helps to conduct electrostatic to the grounding line, and thereby effectively preventing the electrical components against damage. By the method of present invention, mould heating system downtime caused by high-voltage electrostatic charge is reduced from at least once fault per demoulding, prior to the implementation of the invention, to zero faults per demoulding. The present invention can therefore effectively reduce the electrical equipment failure frequency and maintenance cost.