The rising need for clean energy, obtained from renewable sources, propelled the power industry – in the
past three years more than ever – towards wind generators. The business for the production, installation
and management of wind turbines is booming, and proper solutions are required to optimise all phases of
this technology. Various Cannon Companies are involved in this new business, with innovative and
There is little need to say that the wind generation of energy is a rising field of activity: if you travel, in almost every
country you see rows of tall pillars, placed in the most ventilated spots of the land, that silently and cleanly convert
the energy of wind into power.
An International effort pushes ahead the industry “Already today, wind energy is working in over 70 countries around the
world, saving hundreds of millions of tons of CO emissions and 2 delivering clean, reliable energy. However, for wind energy to meet its full
potential we need ambitious and legally binding emissions reduction targets and expanded carbon market mechanisms to facilitate the
broadest dissemination of wind power. Wind is the leading electricity generation technology that can deliver major emissions reductions in the
critical timeframe up to 2020” said Global Wind Energy Council's (GWEC) Secretary General Steve Sawyer at the
Climate Change Conference held in the Polish city of Poznan in December, 2008. In its recently published 'Wind Energy
Outlook 2008', GWEC set out a scenario under which wind energy could provide 12% of global electricity needs and save
1.5 billion tonnes of CO every year by 2020. This would add 2 up to 10 billion tonnes of CO mitigated by wind power 2
within this time frame. Between COP14 and the COP15 climate change negotiations in December 2009 in
Copenhagen, the Wind Power Works coalition will promote aggressive emissions reductions targets and a rapid
deployment of wind energy around the world.
This intense activity involves wind energy companies, environmentalists and citizen's associations, NGOs and
governments, and practically reflects into a growing construction of wind power plants. New industries are born
around this booming market, wind generators are by now out from the development phase and are becoming a commodity
product. Segmentation of this market is already occurring, and different versions of “wind mills” are available for strong
and weak winds, for on-shore or off-shore positioning, for public companies or private entrepreneurs entering this
lucrative business. Pay-back time of the (still relevant) investments are progressively reducing, making this industrial
venue a target for a wider number of potential investors.
“Around 34 billion euros will be invested globally in the wind energy sector in 2008, and this figure is set to rise to 150 billion by 2020,”
said Arthouros Zervos, GWEC Chairman in Poznan.
Cannon is ahead with viable solutions Cannon followed very close these talks, as they have been
doing for the past decade: their commitment in clean technologies dates since they started eliminating the cleaning
solvents in their Polyurethane processing mixing heads, replacing low pressure mixing technology with high pressure
self cleaning heads, back in the 1970's. Since then, Cannon have been promoting a number of environment-friendly
technologies and, in 1988, decided to invest in the Energy and Ecology field. The acquisition of the BONO Group of
companies – an Italian leader in industrial boilers, special ovens, water and environmental treatment systems - propelled
Cannon in a new, fascinating field of environment-related activities. Their cooperation with the major authorities ruling
the industrial conversion programs dictated by the Montreal Protocol (to cure the “Ozone hole” problem) and by the
Kyoto Protocol (to reduce the Earth's “greenhouse effect” deriving from excessive gaseous emissions) generated a
number of practical effects that have literally changed the manufacturing habits of entire sectors of the industry.
Today Cannon are able to propose several innovative solutions for the wind energy sector, touching sensitive areas such as the
production of blades with Composite materials, the Composite structures – Afros provide the Epoxy resin
infusion systems, Polyurethane foam units and DCPD metering machines.
The giant blades that catch the wind and propel the electric generators are built with a combination of technologies,
mainly by impregnating light mats of glass fiber with bicomponent resins, mainly liquid Polyesters and Epoxies.
These reacting formulations require metering and mixing devices to dispense tons of material into the enormous moulds
where the blades are shaped. Precision, reliability and easy handling characterise the machines supplied by Cannon Afros.
Several models are available, mainly used for the infusion of Epoxies in the glass mats, for moulding light inserts in
Polyurethane foam (which are replacing balsa wood ones) and for moulding special small blades in DCPD (DiCycloPentaDiene)
resins without glass reinforcement.
The Epoxy infusion machines are compact, transportable,fully-electric dosing units equipped with closed-loop control
of output and ratio. This guarantees a continuous control over the injection of these liquid resins in the vacuumised
moulds that contain various layers of glass mat: the operation can last for 2-3 hours, and the flow of material varies
according to the level of filling achieved. A medium-output beginning phase is followed by a progressively reduction of
flow, due to the resistance and friction created in the mould - as well as the wetting of the mass of reinforcement. The
need of filling the most extreme portion of the long blades with the same proportion of resin over the reinforcement
raises the problem of a continuous change of injection rate, thus the necessity of a closed-loop control of the output of
both components: keeping a precise mixing ratio is a fundamental precaution to avoid emissions of non-reacted
chemicals at the end of the process. The most common models of Cannon machines for Epoxies are able to dose
from 5 up to 60 kg/min of resins working in a range of mixing ratios, using a long static mixer attached to a dedicated
Light structural inserts are commonly positioned inside the larger blades, to reinforce their structure without affecting
their weight. Balsa wood has been used for many years, an heritage from the aeronautic industry that used this precious
natural material when lightweight and resistance were demanded. Polyurethane foams can be used as inserts, with
several advantages versus balsa:
• if technically relevant they may be poured in place, copying perfectly the shape of the cavity where they are dispensed
• they adhere to the inner part of the blade, reinforcing its structure better
• they are 100% useable, avoiding high scrap rate of wood.
• they are cheaper than balsa
• they help solving an environmental issue, since balsa wood only comes from endangered rain forests and it is under heavy “attack” for its good mechanical properties.
Cannon Afros high pressure metering units are successfully used since years – for instance in Denmark by TINBY A/S ,
part of the SP-Group – for the production of these large, light inserts.
Cannon Solutions UK have been producing for many years dedicated mould carriers for the use of DiCycloPentaDiene resins in structural applications.
The Finnish customer JUNKKARI OY, Ylihärmä, Finland, is using them successfully for the manufacture of 2 m long
blades that are required by a niche of this market looking for small amounts of power, for instance for domestic or small
Their four metre diameter domestic 2 kW turbine, mounted on a five metre high mast, generates annually between 5 and
12 MW of energy for household and business users. In windy shore locations it can produce up to 15 MW a year. The big
advantages of DCPD are surface quality and structural properties.
The used resin – Telene – has a very good quality surface.
It retains its shape well, lends itself well to moulding into integrated structural parts and withstands the test of time and
difficult weather conditions better than other plastic materials.
In addition, it is self supporting the blade: no glass reinforcement is required, thus the part is simpler to make –
and more economic.
Special DCPD dosing units are manufactured by Cannon Afros, and they perfectly fit with the mould carriers
manufactured by their English sister company.
Backed by a strong local service – assured by Nortec Cannon from Copenhagen, DK, since 1969 in all the Northern
Europe and Baltic Countries – the manufacturer can rely on a single-responsibility source for its manufacturing needs.
Wind blades – Tecnos provide the assembly methods Specialising in large turn-key plants for the automotive
industry, Cannon Tecnos have developed in the past years the capacity to approach difficult manufacturing projects,
involving different materials and processing technologies.
They have recently won a large contract for the automatic assembly line of the fuselage of a modern airplane and are
now studying innovative construction methods for large composite parts. Confidentiality does not allow us to speak
freely about this subject, but at Cannon Tecnos they are glad to discuss them with the interested partners! More news to
come in the future editions of the Cannon News… stay tuned!
Rotors - T.C.S. presses are used for the electric heart of a wind generator Cannon T.C.S. is the Group's Division dealing with
Aluminium Die-casting technology and with large Composite presses.
Their efforts in the past ten years have concentrated in the design and manufacture of dedicated plants for the vertical
injection of Aluminium in electric motors. The rotors produced with their equipment show high efficiency (due to
perfect filling of cavities without air entrapments) and fast production rate, due to the special design of their automatic
Their cooperation with the world leading manufacturers of large electric motors has brought recently to the supply of
huge presses for the large rotors used in high-power wind generators, those producing above 2 MW of current. Installed
in the North Sea, in Poland and in China, these huge electric generators – produced by Siemens and ABB – work in harsh
off-shore environment where their installation and maintenance are a crucial factor – and cost. The reliability of
these rotating turbines is therefore a major concern and demand for high-quality large electric rotors is increasing.
T.C.S. welcomes inquiries for the special plants designed for the vertical injection of aluminium in the rotors which
produce electricity from wind.