Wind energy enhanced with Helios Resins

HELIOS traditionally holds a strong market position in the composite segment, more specifically the segment of DCPD unsaturated polyester resins.

Recognized high standards have made our gelcoat and topcoat products widely applicable for the production of composites in several industries, e.g. wind power, transportation, sanitary equipment, marine, engineering and filament winding. With an extra focus on the wind power industry and its specific requirements, HELIOS’s products excel at making composites lightweight, strong and durable, while meeting high standards for fire safety and weathering resistance.

Entering the wind power market

Wind is globally used as a sustainable and renewable source of electric power. In the European Union, 15% of its power demand is reportedly provided by wind power, with the exception of Denmark where the number is significantly higher and amounts to 48%. In the recent years, Europe has annually invested approximately 20 billion euros in wind power production. The production of large parts required to build wind power plant constructions has importantly influenced R&D activities in the resin and composite segments. Suppliers have sought to offer the industry excellent, durable, and light-weight materials combined with advanced technological solutions.

To boost development activities and the market position with new, better, and optimized products, Helios Resins established close cooperation with Slovenian client Elan in 2018. As Elan has very advanced wind power and marine divisions, HELIOS offered them the development of high-quality products within these segments. Together we have created a portfolio of products needed for a well-controlled production of high-quality nacelles – housing for power generators, gearboxes, and other vital parts. The project (ADCOMP4MWI) was co-funded by the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology of the Republic of Slovenia and supported by the European Regional Development Fund.

Long-term cooperation with Elan

We have been using HELIOS’s resins, gelcoats and topcoats for many years now. Our long-term cooperation is the result of extremely high-quality materials, competitive prices, as well as other advantages – such as great responsiveness, proximity, adaptability to individual needs, professionalism, and highly trained staff,” stated Igor Zupan, R&D Director of the Elan Composites Division. The joint new project only intensified the cooperation. The goal of the project was to develop various advanced composites for use in both the marine and wind divisions. Mr. Zupan added: “We can say that the project is a success in its entirety. During the project, HELIOS has successfully followed the requirements of our international end customers of vessels and wind plants, as well as our needs. The results of the project are fully developed and serially reusable advanced materials, which provide us and HELIOS with the necessary competitive advantage in the demanding international market of composite products.”

Setting of wind power division coatings

The development and production of HELIOS’s thermoset resins for composites is located in the Preska plant in Slovenia. After highly demanding testing at HELIOS and Elan, we were ready to enter the market with the set of new products. Applicable to the wind power industry, Helios Resins has developed: Colgel GC 610, a gelcoat with increased UV-light durability; Colpoly 7200 AI-LV, a DCPD unsaturated polyester resin for advanced vacuum-infusion application exhibiting low viscosity as well as long gel-times with excellent mechanical properties; and fire retardant coating products, namely the Colgel TC 639 FR topcoat and the Colgel GC 647 FR gelcoat.

High-quality custom-made products

HELIOS’s products were developed to provide people and the economy with sustainable electricity from abundant renewable sources. Brands such as Colpoly, Colvinyl and Colgel are synonyms for high quality, and are in many cases custom-made products, i.e. unsaturated polyester resins, vinyl ester resins, and gelcoats, topcoats, and pigment concentrates.

Additionally, we addressed working conditions related to the production of large composite parts. To minimize Elan workers’ exposure to styrene vapours, large composite parts are being produced by the vacuum infusion process that has been mastered by Elan. During this process, resins developed for this specific application process are introduced into a laminate covered by a vacuum bag, consequently effectively eliminating the occupational exposure to vapours.

Elan, a Slovenian company founded in 1945, is a global manufacturer of sports equipment, leisure equipment and technologically advanced composites exporting to more than 60 countries worldwide. Their products are distinguished by innovation, advanced technologies, and advanced design. In 2010, Elan developed a wind power division, which has ever since become the second biggest division within the Group.