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BLAEST continues to expand – New blade test hall under construction

BLAEST continues to expand – New blade test hall under construction

A new test hall sized at impressive 5000 m2 is being established with the purpose of testing blades from the Danish wind turbine giant Vestas Wind Systems A/S. The test hall is located at the port of Aalborg, Denmark, just next to BLAEST’s existing test hall and 100 m from the quay side, which allows for efficient transport of blades by road or sea.

In 2014 BLAEST expanded the existing test hall to facilitate the demand for testing of blades longer than 60 m. Since then, the market continued to grow in the never-ending race to reduce the cost of energy produced by wind turbines. The most efficient lever to pull in this race is increased rotor diameter and thereby longer blades. Now, the first +100 m blade is produced, and in 2018 BLAEST decided for a second 25 m expansion of the test hall, which allows for testing of +110 m blades. This expansion is currently under construction and scheduled to be ready for operation in Q3/2019.

The decision to establish the new test hall, equipped with three advanced test rigs, was taken after entering a long-term agreement with Vestas about blade testing. As usual the testing is to be performed by BLAEST personnel working under BLAEST’s full responsibility and following the DANAK accredited test procedures. The extension and the new test hall increase the capacity remarkably, and from beginning of 2020 eight test rigs will be in operation for full-scale testing.  “This is an extraordinary opportunity to manifest our position as the globally leading independent laboratory for full-scale structural blade testing. “It is my pleasure to lead our highly skilled team through the transition and bring BLAEST to the next level for the benefit for our customers”, says Managing Director, Erik Steen Jensen.

The first foundation pile for the new test hall was down 13th June.

“To secure the full operationality of the new test hall as well as the existing test hall simultaneously, we will need to invest in both new equipment and new staff. In many ways the second test hall is a new beginning and it gives us a chance to rethink our methods and equipment, and to implement many of the improvements and refinements our Research & Development team have suggested. This fact is also an important part with a view to strengthening our position in the market and to further develop our methods”, says Technical Manager, Jesper Kann.

The up-scaling of the business also requires more employees. Recruiting of around 10 skilled technicians and engineers already commenced.

In the existing test hall, testing of blades from other customers as well as possible new customers will continue. After extending the hall and reconfiguring the test rigs BLAEST will be well-prepared for testing of any size blades for future onshore and offshore wind turbines.

The extended set-up benefits all parties. It brings more capacity, more knowledge and more flexibility, which will be used to support all customers. In addition, it will ease the maintaining of important confidentiality obligations in respect to keeping one customer’s curious eyes away from other customers’ blades. “We always do our utmost to meet the demands from our customers, and by a flexible and service-minded approach we improve and adapt our methods and facilities accordingly. This fact is not going to change, and we look forward to continue doing business with blade manufacturers from all over the world”, Erik Steen Jensen concludes.