Hempel Introduces Leading Edge Protection Coating for Wind Blades

Hempablade Edge 171 is Hempel’s first LEP coating developed using the company’s in-house rain erosion test (RET) facility. Photo courtesy of Hempel.

Global paints and coatings company Hempel (Lyngby, Denmark) recently announced the launch of Hempablade Edge 171, a new coating for leading edge protection (LEP) on wind turbine rotor blades. 

According to the company, this product offers the highest rain erosion performance data on the market for a liquid LEP, along with some of the lowest dry film thicknesses. As such, Hempablade Edge 171 provides long-term protection against rain erosion, and it reduces time and costs during application.

The leading edge of a wind turbine blade is exposed to extremely high airflow speeds. At these speeds, impact from rain can cause significant coating erosion or even composite damage. 

This loss of performance and need for maintenance makes leading edge erosion one of the wind industry’s most significant maintenance costs and performance challenges. 

In response, Hempablade Edge 171 is designed to help wind turbine operators and applicators overcome these issues by protecting the leading edge from rain erosion,

“Hempablade Edge 171 is one of the simplest LEP solutions on the market to apply, yet able to withstand the toughest environmental conditions,” says Lars Rindom Jensen, head of solutions for wind blades. “It provides exceptional protection against rain erosion and composite damages. This extends the interval between maintenance and repairs, giving operators more uptime and lower maintenance costs.”

Importantly for service providers, Hempablade Edge 171 requires some of the lowest dry film thickness on the market—just 150 microns, or 5.9 mils—and only needs one or two coats to ensure high protection. This increases application speeds, allowing customers to maintain more blades with the resources available.

“Hempablade Edge 171 has been developed as we listened to the industry challenges and requirements,” Jensen says. “Its low thickness reduces LEP consumption, application time, and drying time, so applicators can work faster, whether they are onsite or in the blade production. It also has a wide application window—from 5-35°C—which means applicators can extend the maintenance season and working day. The result is higher productivity and less blade downtime during maintenance.”

The product is also Hempel’s first LEP coating developed using the company’s in-house rain erosion test (RET) facility. Since 2019, Hempel has used this RET facility to optimize the product development and LEP validation process—resulting in a best-in-class liquid LEP offering outstanding rain erosion protection. With the addition of the coating to its portfolio, Hempel now provides a full range of coatings to customers for every part of a wind turbine, from the foundation to the blade tip.

“Hempel is recognized as the industry’s leading coatings supplier,” Jensen explains. “We fully understand the challenges manufacturers, operators, and maintenance companies face and are the only coatings company with an in-house RET facility. During development and validation, we put Hempablade Edge 171 through more than 400 exhaustive tests to ensure it delivers extremely valuable performance and application benefits. We are very proud to offer it to our customers.”

Source: Hempel, www.hempel.com/blades