Nordex has filed a patent for a system that lifts wind turbine rotor blades. The system includes a sling that supports the blade at a specific position to maintain its aerodynamic profile. A leading edge protector is also included, which is designed to reduce deformation of the blade at the leading edge. The protector is constructed with layers and a core material, with the thickness of the core material increasing towards the front portion. GlobalData’s report on Nordex gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s company profile on Nordex, Aerial inspection drones was a key innovation area identified from patents. Nordex's grant share as of September 2023 was 66%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

The patent filed is for a system to lift wind turbine rotor blades

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: Nordex SE

A recently filed patent (Publication Number: US20230257234A1) describes a system for lifting wind turbine rotor blades. The system includes a lifting device with a sling that supports the rotor blade at a longitudinal position where it has an aerodynamic profile, a leading edge, a trailing edge, and a profile chord connecting the leading and trailing edges. A leading edge protector is placed between the rotor blade and the sling, designed as a sandwich construction with an inner top layer, an outer top layer, and a core material. The thickness of the core material increases from the free end of the lower leg of the protector towards the front portion, reducing deformation of the rotor blade at the leading edge.

The leading edge protector is shaped to extend over a defined area of the rotor blade's outer surface and is in contact with the entire defined area. It can also have an upper leg as an integral part of the sandwich construction, placed above the rotor blade. The thickness of the core material increases from the upper leg's free end towards the front portion. The system ensures that the thickness of the core material, in combination with the shell thickness of the rotor blade, is not less than the maximum thickness of the shell structure in the region covered by the leading edge protector.

The lower leg of the protector can be at least twice as long as the upper leg or have the same length. The protector includes two parallel lateral boundaries on the outer top layer along the lower leg, with the sling arranged between them. It can also have lugs extending from its lateral sides. The inner top layer of the protector includes a cover layer of a soft, elastic material, and either the inner or outer top layer can be made of a fiber-reinforced composite material with reinforcing fibers arranged at various angles. The core material can be made of balsa wood.

The lower leg of the protector extends up to the chord position of the rotor blade where the aerodynamic profile has a maximum thickness. The lifting device includes a longitudinal beam, at least one cross-beam attached to the longitudinal beam, and a release mechanism. The sling is connected to the cross-beam, and the release mechanism can open the sling or disconnect it from the cross-beam.

Overall, this patented system provides a specialized solution for lifting wind turbine rotor blades, ensuring minimal deformation and damage to the leading edge during the lifting process.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.