Engineering design
Engineering design

Let PolyTech’s experienced lightning experts be wingmen for your in-house engineers

Engineering design and modelling are among PolyTech’s spearhead skills. As befits a global market leader in lightning protection for modern wind turbines, most of the engineering projects we handle feature a key common denominator: helping the customer’s engineers generate the necessary overview – and the desired peace of mind.

Engineering design and modelling from the world’s leading experts in lightning protection

The need for specialist engineering skills in Lightning Protection System design has increased sharply in recent years.

There are three principal reasons for this:

  1. Wind turbines (and thus turbine blades) are becoming bigger and bigger.
  2. Wind turbines are increasingly being erected on sites with extreme weather conditions.
  3. New blades now contain more current-carrying materials, conductive materials, and sensors.

With regard to the last of these three points, the issue largely has to do with the increasing use of carbon fibre in the blades, along with the fact that new solutions – for de-icing, for instance – have made lightning protection for turbine blades even more complex.

Key questions
PolyTech carries out complete design assignments in the fields of lightning protection and overvoltage protection in line with our customers’ wishes and requirements – and in compliance with the latest standards and guidelines.

Today, many blade manufacturers commission our expertise in the earliest phases of their innovation and development work, which means we are often asked to supply – or contribute to – the answers to key questions such as:

  • What should we pay special attention to as regards lightning?
  • How often will our blades be struck?
  • Which points on a wind turbine are most likely to be struck?
  • How can we minimise the risk?
  • How should we design the components that connect the lightning protection system to the carbon fibre struts in the blades?
  • How should we formulate the test specifications?
  • How do we ensure a robust system and at the same time minimise our total cost?


Documentation for certification
Our expertise in lightning is also often brought into play when manufacturers of generic sub-components for blades and electrical systems wish to have a new product verified with a view to component certification.

In such cases, we provide more than “just” design- and engineering-related sparring, in that we offer to handle all the administrative work linked to a certification process of this kind on behalf of the customer.

International development environment
Following the acquisition of Global Lightning Protection Services A/S (GLPS) in 2018, PolyTech has staked its claim as the market leader in the field of lightning and overvoltage protection of wind turbines.

Bringing engineering design and production together in one and the same has added whole new dimensions to our engineering services, and has opened up unmatched opportunities to validate the development work and innovation as the process progresses – through prototypes and accredited tests, for example.

The core of PolyTech’s engineering services is our international development hub based in Hedehusene, Denmark. It is here that PhDs and PhD-students from all parts of the world share their comprehensive knowledge of physics and the processes that directly and indirectly affect power, dissemination and damage characteristics when a bolt of lightning strikes complex composite structures and electrical systems.

As a key element of PolyTech’s work, we have also maintained a close working relationship with the Copenhagen-based Technical University of Denmark (DTU) for many years. It is from this university that we recruit some of the finest minds in the world with regard to high voltage installations and lightning protection.

What makes up an engineering design project
A typical development project at PolyTech comprises the following phases:

  1. Design
  2. IPR
  3. Conceptual design
  4. Detail design
  5. Prototypes
  6. Test specifications
  7. Testing and verification
  8. System delivery
  9. Continuous optimisations

 

You can use PolyTech as your partner for the entire process, or you can commission our lightning specialists for selected phases, depending on your specific wishes and requirements.

At the same time, you are free to choose whether you would like PolyTech to manufacture the components that are developed. In many cases, you stand to enjoy significant benefits as regards price, time and logistics by having us handle both development and production.

Efficient project management
Based on the scope of the project, we start by putting together a project team featuring the required skills and resources to handle the design brief within the agreed time and budget.

We always conduct projects on the basis of recognised project management methods. This includes, for example, transparent management of the resources and ongoing reporting on the progress of the project.

The biggest lightning laboratory in the world
One of the key benefits of working with PolyTech is the opportunity, in all phases of the project process, to test conceptual design, detail design and prototypes at our own large lightning test laboratory.

This increases the likelihood of a successful final test and subsequent certification.

 

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)
For most manufacturers, the area of Intellectual Property Rights is something of a minefield but here, too, you can be sure of drawing palpable value from your working relationship with PolyTech through three principal parameters:

  • Comprehensive knowledge of the area
  • Active monitoring through a variety of online systems
  • Expertise in reading patents and navigating around potential conflicts.

With PolyTech as your development partner in engineering design and modelling, you can be sure of the greatest possible security. In both the long and the short term.

Latest standards
As a consequence of our recognised specialist knowledge in Lightning Protection System design, PolyTech is currently represented in the body that prepares and updates the prevailing industry standards for wind turbine lightning protection.

We are therefore always up-to-date with both applicable and upcoming standards, and we are fully familiar with the background for the different requirements. This means that we can take a proactive approach in our development work and interpret each and every requirement in the standards as accurately as possible.

At present, we conduct our engineering design on the basis of the international standard IEC 61400-24, 2nd edition (expected to be published as an international standard in March 2019).

Examples of development assignments at PolyTech

  • Development of customised Lightning Protection Systems
  • Protection of carbon fibre structures
  • Optimal integration between carbon fibre structures and lightning protection
  • Calculations of the reaction of electrical components in the event of a lightning strike
  • Simulations
  • Verification of generic sub-components for verification
  • Lightning Protection Coordination (LPC)
  • Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)

 

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