Innovative design and production concept to increase the lightweight construction potential in steel construction – SmartWeld
|Total funding:||540,000 EUR|
|Partners:||Fraunhofer IWES; Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM), Berlin (project coordination); Institute of Steel Construction (IfS), Leibniz University Hannover; Test Center Support Structures, Leibniz University Hannover; Jörss - Blunck - Ordemann GmbH, Hamburg; Salzgitter Mannesmann Forschung GmbH, Duisburg|
|Associated Partners:||DNV GL Energy|
|Term:||05/2021 – 04/2024
- Lightweight structures can be employed in the foundations of offshore wind turbines to save considerable amounts of steel and thereby reduce CO2 emissions.
- However, the production of these structures is currently not economically viable, particularly due to the high proportion of manual work involved in the welding.
- In the SmartWeld project, the project partners are developing automated design and production concepts with the aim of tapping the potential for saving CO2.
- Fraunhofer IWES is responsible in a subproject for the recording and data processing of the digitalized production processes among other tasks.
At present, massive monopiles, for which up to 2,000 metric tons (t) of steel are required depending on the size of the respective turbine, remain the standard choice for the foundation structures for offshore wind turbines. Jacket constructions with a lattice structure represent a considerably lighter alternative. However, the production of these lightweight structures is currently not economically viable, particularly due to the high proportion of manual work involved in the welding, which is why they are scarcely used.
In the SmartWeld project, the project partners have set themselves the goal of using innovative and digital design and production concepts to highlight the potential of lightweight construction with consistent digitalization of the production chain in order to push resource efficiency on the one hand and develop competitive production strategies on the other. For this reason, the entire product development and testing process is taken into consideration in the project – starting from the design in the context of structural lightweight construction and the welding production process via component testing as well as the transfer of the results to the industry through demonstrators suitable for series production. The scientists expect a possible CO2 savings potential of more than 100,000 t for a wind farm containing 100 turbines.
Fraunhofer IWES is responsible in a subproject for the recording and data processing of the digitalized production processes among other tasks. A digital twin is to be employed to allow economically viable and resource-saving production. In this context, the identification of fatigue in the weld seams is of particular importance.