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Hexcel constructs wind energy prepreg facility

Hexcel has begun construction of its prepreg manufacturing plant to serve the North American wind energy industry in Windsor’s Great Western Industrial Park, Colorado, USA.

Foundations have already been laid for the 100 000 ft2 building, and exterior concrete walls were erected earlier this month. Hexcel expects production to begin in the second half of 2009.

Hexcel will produce its HexPly® prepregs at the facility. HexPly are epoxy resin formulations reinforced with glass and carbon fibres. When cured under heat and pressure, they are said to form “exceptionally stiff structures” with high strength to weight ratios making them ideal for large wind turbine blades.

Hexcel of Stamford, Connecticut, USA, selected Windsor as the location for the plant due to the close proximity of Vestas Wind Systems, which will be a major customer for prepregs manufactured at the facility. According to Hexcel, the two companies pioneered the use of prepreg in wind turbine blades over a decade ago and the strong, lightweight materials have been a major contributor in the growth of blades to today’s proportions.

Dave Berges, Hexcel Chairman and CEO, says: “The setting up of our plant in Windsor, Colorado, is another key step in Hexcel’s establishment of global operations to support the fast growing Wind Energy market. Earlier this year we began qualification runs for wind energy materials manufactured at our new facility in Tianjin, China.

 

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