6/20/2011 5:00:00 PM | Sustainable Solutions for Wind Energy
| Hans Landin
It’s estimated that nearly 40,000MW of installed turbines will reach the end of their warranty periods this year in the U.S. alone. Some say operations and maintenance costs for wind-power assets will double or triple original industry expectations. Add to this the escalating problem of non-Timken main-shaft and gearbox bearings failing well short of their 20-year design life and one can easily see that reliable and cost-effective wind-turbine bearing repair and refurbishment is a necessity now.
Wind farm owners and operators who visited the 2011 AWEA WindPower show told us that they’re looking for both a root cause analysis to explain these early failures and a technical solution to help improve turbine productivity and lower their overall costs for operations and maintenance. We have both. Trade show visitors responded favorably to the full range of new products and support services we introduced at the show and our solutions that are designed to help keep equipment running longer and with increased efficiency.
One of the technical solutions most discussed was our new, revolutionary wear-resistant bearings. They are designed to significantly reduce life-limiting wear and help achieve up to 3.5 times more life in low lambda conditions, a condition common in most main shafts. In gearboxes, our wear-resistant bearings also can provide 15 percent less operating torque and up to two times more life under debris conditions.
Other wind-energy upgrade solutions showcased at the 2011 WindPower show include:
• Timken® UltraWind P1 (polyurethane) Seal is a new seal designed with abrasion resistance and service life for use in ultra-large-bore, wind-energy bearings.
• Main-Shaft Repair and Reconditioning Services including disassembly, cleaning, inspection and repair/replacement of shaft, housing and bearing.
• Timken’s Online Intelligence System (OIS), a breakthrough condition monitoring/data collection and reporting system specifically designed for low-speed turbine applications. The Timken OIS analyzes vibration, high-definition shock pulses and analog/digital inputs to identify main-shaft bearing and gearbox problems before they develop into life-limiting conditions.
• New Timken High-Capacity Cylindrical Roller Bearings, which offer increased load-carrying capacity and longer service life than the full-caged cylindrical roller bearings commonly used in planetary gearboxes.
• Timken® Steel which differentiates us as the only premium bearing manufacturer that also makes super-clean, high-alloy bearing steel.
We are working hard to provide you the consistent, dependable wind-turbine performance you need. At this year’s WindPower show, we also announced our involvement in building an $11.8 million Wind Energy Research and Development Center -- a first for the United States -- with Stark State College in Canton, Ohio, and other Ohio-based entities. The center will span 18,000 square feet and provide vital knowledge for the development of power-transmission component technologies to the industry while training current and future technicians in a complete range of services aimed at wind-turbine manufacturers and operators. Ultimately, it will help us to create better, more reliable and cost-effective designs for you.
Perhaps it was customer-focused advances such as these that led one investment analyst who visited WindPower 2011 to note that the Timken booth was extremely busy at the show. “The mark of a high level of customer activity is that the people the analysts want to see are too busy with other customers, and that is the way it was with Timken all day on Tuesday," he reported. "Hans Landin, the head of the wind turbine bearing operation for Timken, was booked all day.”
If you visited us at WindPower, I thank you and look forward to helping you find ways to increase your wind-turbine uptime -- either at the OE level or from an aftermarket perspective. And if you weren’t able to attend the show, I hope this brief overview helps you feel like you were there.
Give us a call and let us show you what we can do for you.