Fastening solution delivers for offshore wind turbine hatch

27th July 2016
Posted By : Anna Flockett
Fastening solution delivers for offshore wind turbine hatch

Being regularly challenged to provide custom designed fastening solutions for their customers, is bighead Bonding Fasteners. With the standard range of over 400 mild steel and stainless steel ‘bigHeads’ providing efficient and effective discrete fixings, whether they are embedded or surface bonded to composite materials, some applications benefit from a design approach where the characteristic bighead welding fixing is engineered and adapted. 

This is to improve the final design, and enhance the performance or reduce costs; in some cases it has facilitated increased safety.

Siemens demonstrated this engineer-to-engineer process, when the company began to investigate composite materials for nacelles used on its new 6MW offshore wind turbines. In particular a composite maintenance hatch had been designed to replace a steel panel and traditional bolt fixings were used to lock and unlock it.

This required two people to perform the operation, one inside and one outside the nacelle. Clearly ease of access and its related safely were problems to be solved, in addition to reducing maintenance costs. Siemens nacelle suppliers worked with bigHead and to develop a solution.

By surface bonding the 316 marine grade stainless steel bigHead to the outer skin of the nacelle and passing the threaded stud section through its composite structure, the panel is easily secured or removed by a single person from the much safer interior of the structure. The bigHead’s large perforated head allows a generous flow of adhesive to firmly secure it in position and its outer surface includes over-moulded insulation layers that safeguards the nacelle against lightning strikes as well as match its colour.

bigHead developed with its customers by prototyping and extreme testing the solution against the harsh conditions that the offshore wind turbines need to endure until a final design was agreed. Now in its third year of supply, the solution has been thoroughly field proven. Like all bigHead’s produced at its Verwood UK factory, every production batch is tested and documented with completely traceable results as part of the manufacturers ISO 9001:2008 Quality Management System.

bigHead have been manufacturing its brand of discrete bonding fasteners for over 50 years and has applications ranging from carbon fibre panel fixing in specialist and luxury car production to building and construction, railway carriage construction, marine and boatbuilding.

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