KRAIBURG LEP: Long-term erosion protection for wind turbine rotor blades

Gummiwerk KRAIBURG develops elastomer-based solution to protect the leading edges of blades


Waldkraiburg, Juni 18th, 2020 – During their operations, the rotor blades of wind turbines are exposed to enormous loads. The leading edges of the blades, in particular, are subjected to a disproportionate degree of stress from raindrops and other particles. The damage caused by erosion results in a loss of performance and entails complex and costly repairs. KRAIBURG LEP (Leading Edge Protection) from Gummiwerk KRAIBURG prevents this erosion damage, and combines the robustness of ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene with the damping effect of the elastomer layer underneath. KRAIBURG LEP is therefore suitable for both onshore and offshore applications.

Very good performance results

To protect the fiber composite structure of rotor blades against damage, in the last few years, a product has been developed which is customized precisely to the requirements of a high technology industry and has been used by well-known manufacturers of wind turbines for many years. The fatigue and rain erosion tests carried out demonstrate the strong performance of KRAIBURG LEP, in which the coating from
Gummiwerk KRAIBURG impressed due to its solid endurance and resistance.

The fatigue test was carried out in both the lead and lag directions, and simulated a period of 20 years. Following the test, the connection between the erosion protection film and the rotor blade did not show any defects. Furthermore, the rain erosion test did not show any significant erosion of the KRAIBURG LEP film after 2,000 hours of UV-B exposure. In an extensive and independent series of tests, the layers of the film were only removed partially and in small steps.

Straightforward application and partial repair with KRAIBURG LEP

The elastomer-based film can be applied directly to the rotor blade as a two-layer system, and can be used in both a controlled production environment and under service conditions in the field. In this respect, two bonding options are available: The application with resin, in which the elastomer layer bonds with the infusion resin at room temperature during the curing process, and the application with adhesive. The use of an appropriate adhesive, which has been developed and tested in cooperation with an adhesive manufacturer, also enables the partial repair of blade protection films.

Lower service and repair costs

The use of KRAIBURG LEP offers significant advantages for the protection of rotor blades and is increasing the efficiency of wind turbines. The robust and UV-resistant material significantly reduces damage to the fiber composite structure of the leading edges of the blade, and provides the possibility for partial repair, known as splicing, in the affected areas. The high load-bearing capacity is particularly beneficial in the maintenance and repair cycles, as the use of KRAIBURG LEP reduces the service and repair costs of the rotor blades.

In view of the worldwide targets set for the reduction of CO2 emissions and the associated increased share of wind energy in renewable energies, with KRAIBURG LEP, Gummiwerk KRAIBURG offers an answer to the requirements of an efficient production and application process for rotor blades and therefore to the global challenges of tomorrow.


Would you like to learn more on KRAIBURG LEP? Contact us today!