With cable protection manufacturer PMA supplying crucial components
to wind turbines across the globe in 2010, polyamide-based products
are proven to exhibit excellent resistance to seawater.
Confirmed by PMA’s raw material suppliers, based upon the chemical composition as well as a long-term application experience in the toughest conditions, polyamide (or nylon) products have proved to exhibit outstanding mechanical and physical properties over a wide range of application temperatures.
Indeed, the manufacturer has seen a dramatic increase in the popularity of its products, with profits up on last year. This has been attributed to awareness of the benefits of using nylon cable protection, such as its strength and flexibility, but also its resilience against fungal decay, bad weather, rodents – and many more factors which must be considered by engineers and designers in a broad range of industries. Polyamide can therefore be used to make products for both internal and external use, from explosive environments to off-shore platforms and ships worldwide.
PMA’s Tony Hollands says: “Our polyamide products have been subjected to extensive testing to show their suitability for a broad range of application areas. As well as the various accelerated test procedures, such as Xenon Arc UV radiation testing, we’ve also had a long-term weathering test running at our manufacturing facilities for over twenty-five years.
“We recommend the use of PMAFLEX type PCS (specially modified PA12) for outdoor applications because of its excellent all-round environmental characteristics, especially for dynamic applications exposed to high UV radiation.”
Tony adds: “Perhaps the best indication of the suitability of nylon (Polyamide 6 type) for applications exposed to seawater is the fact that it is the material most commonly used for the manufacture of fishing lines and nets.”
Traditional materials, including plastics, are often predisposed to toughening or changes in their innate properties when exposed to high or low temperatures or levels of moisture content, but in order to provide consistent movement and flexibility, most PMA products have been modified to make them immune to climate changes of this kind. Given the difficulty in repairing off-shore turbines, this has led to a rise in the number of off-shore applications using a more reliable polyamide cable protection.
The material’s qualities have also rendered it suitable for photovoltaic and geothermal installations, solar heating, power generation, hydroelectric power stations and energy storage facilities in the form of potential energy, water or air pressure, showing that nylon is fast becoming the preferred choice of cable protection for the power industry.
Over the last 12 months, Swiss company PMA has been active in providing components for the wind industry in particular, producing cable protection for American companies Clipper Windpower Inc. and GE Energy, as well as Vestas Wind Systems of Denmark and Fabricom of Belgium.
Wind has been one of the fastest-growing power sources worldwide for the last twenty years, with an annual average growth rate exceeding 30% and with one newspaper recently predicting that by 2050, offshore wind could provide all our energy needs, PMA looks set to be crucial in the production line assembly.