Hexcel has developed a semi-preg material that it says can reduce shell manufacturing time in the wind blade surface finishing process.

According to the company, HexPly XF increases overall blade manufacturing efficiency by reducing time in the mold by up to two hours and by banishing the surface defects that require rework before painting. Currently, pinholes and other surface defects have to be repaired by hand to achieve the perfectly smooth surface required for painting, Hexcel said.  HexPly XF reportedly includes a new material format as the surface finishing layer, helping eliminate the need for a traditional in-mold gel coating process.

HexPly XF has a non-woven semi-preg construction, comprising an epoxy resin matrix, that can co-cure with standard epoxy infusion systems. The product been used with prepreg blades and is now adapted for infusion processes, Hexcel said.

HexPly XF can be applied by hand or with semi-automated layup equipment and features one self-adhesive, surface finishing side indicated by a removable protective foil. This side of the prepreg is placed against a release agent treated mold surface, and once the material has been positioned, the lay-up of the blade shell structure can start immediately, and the laminate can be infused.

This story uses material from Hexcel, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.