Filament-wound poles provide design flexibility | World of Composites

In Turkey, pole manufacturers have combined filament winding, automation, glass and carbon fiber composite materials to expand their product lines. #Internal Manufacturing#Infrastructure#Sustainability
The filament is wound around the pole. Mitaş Composites can wind composite light poles with filaments with a maximum diameter of 12 meters and a diameter of 800 mm. Source | Mita Composites
The Mitaş Group, a manufacturer of steel towers, power distribution poles, transmission poles and substation structures in the energy market, invested in a filament winding production line for the manufacture of composite utility poles. The automated equipment has a monthly manufacturing capacity of 1,000 pieces, making Mitaş one of the first manufacturers of composite poles in Turkey and allowing the group to develop and diversify its existing product range.
Mitaş was established by the Turkish government in 1955 to help the country build energy infrastructure. In the following years, public ownership gradually declined, and in 1990, the fully privatized Mitash began to implement an international expansion strategy. Today, the group operates nine production facilities in four locations in Turkey and Italy and exports to North America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. The Ankara Mitas Poles factory has an annual production capacity of 30,000 metric tons and produces 12 to 50 meters of galvanized steel pipes for transmission and distribution lines, lighting, overhead cable cars, telecommunications, signs, flags and other applications. Beauty and ease of installation are the main customer priorities for the new pole design.
The decision to invest in composite material production facilities was confirmed about three years ago. “Mitaş is essentially a 60-year-old steel company, but for many years it has been looking for alternative materials that can simplify installation and reduce maintenance costs,” explained Sezgin Üstün, Director of Operations at Mitaş Composites Inc.. In North America and Europe, the market trend of lightweight composite rods continues to grow, and we decided to enter the composite market in mid-2016. ”
Mitaş also believes that composite rods are unique in the highly competitive steel rod market. The composite pillar is also aligned with the company’s focus on innovation, which is the path to global business growth.
The original telephone poles were made of wood, but in order to improve performance and durability, concrete, steel and composite utility poles were introduced. Nowadays, steel is the main material because steel rods have higher performance and longer service life than wood, and eliminate the environmental impact of preservatives used to treat wood rods. However, steel rods are still relatively heavy and expensive to transport and install, and are galvanized or coated to improve their corrosion resistance, thereby increasing initial and lifetime maintenance costs.
Application of steel pipe market. The global fiber reinforced plastic (FRP) rod market segmented by end-use industry in 2018. Lucinter
Compared with other pole materials, composite poles have advantages in terms of installation, reliability, maintenance and service life, and are especially cost-effective for places with limited access and places where corrosion is the most important problem. The weight of composite poles is usually 35-50% lighter than wood poles and steel poles, thereby reducing transportation costs and simplifying the installation process. The composite pole can be carried and assembled manually without heavy lifting equipment, so it can save a lot of money for installation in narrow urban spaces, remote areas or difficult terrain without road traffic. The composite rod has a design life of more than 70 years and usually does not require regular maintenance. Their coatings provide UV protection, will not rot or corrode, and are immune to the natural threats that often plague wood poles such as termites and woodpeckers. They are not affected by the salt air and humidity in coastal and humid environments. In coastal and humid environments, steel may need to be recoated regularly and will not leak any chemicals into the environment. Composite poles benefit the hardening strategy of the utility grid by providing greater flexibility under extreme loads generated by bad weather. Due to its high insulation strength, composite poles are also safer for workers and absorb more energy than steel or wood under impact, thereby reducing damage to vehicles in road traffic accidents.
Despite these benefits, according to market research company Lucintel (Dallas, Texas, USA), composite poles currently account for less than 1% of the overall pole market, but its share is expected to rise from 228 million in 2018 The dollar has grown to a compound annual growth rate. By 2024, the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is 5.7%, reaching US$318 million. This will be driven by the growth in demand for infrastructure projects, the replacement of wooden poles, and the performance advantages of composite wooden poles over wood, steel and concrete. Power transmission and distribution currently account for about 71% of the global composite pole market, but the lighting sector (23%) may see a relatively high growth rate driven by the replacement of traditional materials.
Lucintel predicts that due to its suitability for mass production, its ability to be used with a variety of thermosetting resins, and its flexibility to manufacture cylindrical, elliptical and conical electrodes, filament winding will remain the main source of composite electrodes in the next five years. Craft. Pultrusion (limited to the manufacture of poles with constant (or nearly constant) cross-section) is expected to achieve the highest growth due to its higher productivity and lower cost, while centrifugal casting has good aesthetics, so it is limited to Relatively low mechanical properties are required.
Üstün explained: “For conical poles, there are only two production methods for composite materials: filament winding and centrifugal casting.” “We chose filament winding because it uses continuous fibers and can obtain the high rigidity and high rigidity required for poles. Strength. Filament winding also allows us to flexibly manufacture other products (tubes, tubes or other structures), so we are not limited to the rod market. After discussing with suppliers in China, Europe and North America, we chose to cooperate with Autonational, Because they have advanced technology, flexibility and adaptability to future automation.”
Autonational Composites BV (Elst, The Netherlands) was founded in 1977 by two engineers who specialize in designing industrial production lines. Filament winding is a frequently used technology. Five years ago, it was decided to focus on this technology. Today, Autonational has approximately 60 employees and provides filament winding machines, auxiliary processing and test equipment, and integrated production lines and automation solutions for the automotive, aerospace, infrastructure and other markets. According to Harry Fietje, marketing and sales manager, Autonational is seeing a growing demand for automated production lines, which now account for 75% of sales. He said that the demand for quotations for telephone poles is also increasing.
“The design of the Mitaş production line took about three months,” he pointed out. “For us, this is not difficult, but because Mitaş is not familiar with composite materials, we work closely with them on part design and material selection. We have proposed a two-stage method to adapt to their investment plan and estimate the output Will increase.”
The first phase involves providing an integrated production line to allow manual or semi-automatic manufacturing based on two mandrel lengths to reduce the complexity and cost of future automation. In this way, a glass fiber reinforced polyester composite conical pole with a minimum diameter of 100 mm, a maximum diameter of 600 mm, and a length of 12 meters can be manufactured. Carbon fiber reinforced epoxy composite cylindrical electrode with a diameter of up to 600 mm and a length of 6 meters. The production capacity of this production line is 1,000 shots per month. The second phase of the project will address other functional and automation issues.
After two months of construction, Autonational installed and commissioned equipment at the new Mitaş Composites plant in Ankara in April 2018, and conducted machine operation training for Mitaş employees. The 17,750-square-meter factory also has a pultrusion production line and a research and development laboratory.
The production line consists of modular equipment, which can perform filament winding, curing, mandrel extraction, machining and coating. The overhead crane transports the spindles and rods between the machines, is started by the operator, and then runs automatically under the supervision of the machines.
Step 1. Autonational AMD SW 1000 triaxial filament winding machine is suitable for manufacturing conical and cylindrical electrodes up to 12 meters long. Source | Mita Composites
Production begins with the transportation of steel mandrels manufactured by Mitaş to the filament winding machine, where they are cleaned and prepared. (A separate mandrel preparation station can be added in the future to increase production capacity.)
Step 2. Optical fiber delivery tool on Autonational AMD SW 1000 filament winder. Source | Auto Nation
In order to transport the fibers to the winder, Autonational provides two creels/tensioners. The pallet creel is suitable for up to 16 tows and 64 spools, and the fiber tension is 2-20 Newtons, which is suitable for high-volume glass fibers. For higher performance applications of carbon fiber or glass fiber, a dynamic creel with servo-controlled tension can achieve precise fiber tension of 5-50 Newtons. The creel is based on a modular configuration of two sets of four spools and is located on a guide rail connected to the carriage of the filament winder.
Mitaş obtains glass fiber materials from Şişecam (Istanbul, Turkey) and carbon fiber materials from Dow Aksa (Istanbul, Turkey). Turkish suppliers can also provide polyester resin, but the epoxy resin must come from an international company.
Autonational provides equipment for storing, pumping, mixing and metering resin into the winder through resin immersion trays. The fiber is fed from the creel into the resin tray, which is suitable for use with glass and carbon fiber. Each resin has its own fiber guide insert, based on 16 polyester tows and 8 epoxy tows. The resin tray has automatic level measurement and temperature control functions, designed to provide good fiber impregnation and consistent resin fraction.
The impregnated roving is guided to the mandrel by the standard fiber transport tool on the Autonational AMD SW 1000 three-axis single-spindle filament winder. The winding machine uses Siemens Sinumerik 840D CNC controller, which is compatible with most filament winding software. According to the selected program, the winder uses a carriage that moves back and forth along the axis of the mandrel to form a continuous reinforcement layer, placing the resin-impregnated roving on the rotating mandrel. The program defines the direction of the fibers to achieve the required rod strength, flexibility and thickness. The winding operation lasts about 1 hour.
In addition to the three-axis winding machine, Mitaş also used a four-axis machine (Autonational AMD SW 800 RD) to manufacture magnetic poles up to 6 meters long, as well as carbon fiber tubes and complex parts for R&D projects.
Step 4. The machining station is used for drilling, cutting out the inserts and finishing the surface of the rod to prepare the coating. Source | Mita Composites
After the winding is completed, the mandrel and magnetic pole are transported to the input buffer (shuttle table) in front of the electric heating batch furnace. When the required number of spindles is reached, move the shuttle into the oven. The oven has a maximum temperature of 150°C and can accommodate up to four poles with a diameter of 600 mm or 16 poles with a diameter of 100 mm. After curing lasts approximately 8 hours, the reciprocator is moved from the oven back to the cooling zone. After cooling, a hydraulic spindle extractor is used to separate the winding rod from the spindle. The system can handle rod lengths of 6 to 12 meters and mandrel diameters of 100 to 600 mm. The maximum pumping force is 100 kN, and the operation usually takes 20 minutes.
The poles are then transferred to a machining center, which is an improved version of the AMD SW 1000 filament winding machine. The fiber guide of the winding machine is replaced by a milling/saw cutting unit, the cutter head and tailstock are equipped with improved tools, and the turning/milling software is installed in the CNC controller. The device can drill, mill, grind and cut conical and cylindrical rods. The required drilling, cutting and surface finishing operations usually take 1 hour, and then the pole is returned to the AMD SW 1000 filament winding machine for coating. To this end, the fiber transport tool of the winder was replaced with a spray gun, and the resin supply was switched to a colored topcoat, which provides UV protection for the poles. This process takes 1-2 hours, and the coating can be cured in the factory. For automated production, a separate coating station will be added.
Step 5. From left to right are Mitaş Composites “smart” poles, 3 meters carbon fiber flag poles and decorative lighting poles. Several modules are integrated into the smart pole to enable radar, camera, Wi-Fi and other functions. Decorative poles are designed for use in natural areas such as parks and gardens. There are lights (in different colors) inside the pole to illuminate the shaft. Source | Mita Composites
Mitaş started producing filament winding poles in May 2018, and now produces various products, including power distribution poles, antenna poles and decorative lighting poles. The length of the standard fiberglass conical light pole ranges from 12 meters (top inner diameter 120 mm; bottom inner diameter 273 mm) to 4 meters long (top inner diameter 62 mm; bottom inner diameter 102 mm). Poles can provide rods in various colors, opaque or luminous rods, steel or composite bases and access doors. Carbon fiber is used in flagpoles and some sports applications, such as sailing masts.
Üstün pointed out: “We have a lot of flexibility.” “We can produce rods up to 12 meters in diameter at a time from 60 mm to 1,000 mm. We already have a lot of mandrels for standard designs, but if customers need different As a steel producer, we can easily adjust the mandrel internally.”
The poles are mainly installed in Turkey, although a small number of poles have been sent to other countries, including Ukraine and Qatar. So far, for demonstration purposes, customers have requested orders as small as a few hundred poles.
Üstün explained: “The monthly production capacity of the equipment designed by Autonational is 1,000 rods, but we have not yet reached this value.” “So far, since we are in the market development stage, we have produced approximately 1,000 rods. Within two years we have high enough demand, we can increase automation.”
Automation options include adding logistics systems, such as monorails, manipulators, and spindle buffer systems to automatically move spindles and products on the production line, as shown in the video. Tracking and tracking functions can be incorporated into products to record manufacturing variables.
Step 6. Exhibit the Mitaş Composites light pole at the Ankara factory. The red rod is 12 meters high and has a diameter of 120-273 mm. The gray rod is 10 meters high and has a diameter of 120-253 mm. The top fitting is bolted to the rod. The bottom of the red rod is composite material. The gray pole has a steel base plate. A carbon fiber flagpole can be seen on the left side of the red pole. Source | Mita Composites
Autonational’s Fietje said: “Mitas’s production line can work in a similar way, with automated transportation between workstations, and manipulators to move mandrels and telegraph poles to the machine.” “The entire production area can be operated by one operator. Supervise everything and surround it. It is possible to produce a finished rod every 20 minutes instead of every 80 minutes currently possible.”
Üstün stated that the feedback on Mitaş composite poles was very positive: “Customers like their appearance. The lightness of the poles is also very interesting to them, because they can lift a 6-meter pole with just one person. A 6-meter pole. The long fiberglass rod weighs about 15 kg, while the similar steel rod is 35 kg or more.
He said: “The initial cost is higher than steel, so if customers focus on price, they always check the initial cost.” “We convinced them by focusing on the entire life cycle cost and the sustainability of composite rods.”
“The other concern we heard from customers is that composite rods are very brittle and they are worried about vandalism. We have received various responses from customers-they just treat composites as a kind of plastic and need some Time will only be able to convince them. We plan to continue our market development activities by participating in exhibitions, publishing papers and, most importantly, convincing the authorities of the target country.”
The American Composite Manufacturers Association (ACMA, Arlington, Virginia, USA) recently announced a plan to increase confidence in composite rods. Developed by ACMA’s Public Utilities and Communication Structure Committee and released in May, the standard specification for FRP composite utility poles approved by ANSI provides a single reference for electric utilities. Its purpose is to improve the understanding of the differences between composite poles, wooden poles, concrete poles and steel poles, and to explain the manufacture, assembly and correct installation of composite poles.
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Post time: Dec-19-2020
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