As wind power becomes an increasingly popular energy source, industry leaders must find ways to optimize the performance of their high-value turbines. These assets contain several key components, including the gearbox. Wind turbine gearboxes can adjust the blade angle and position the nacelle, which holds the generating components, as wind directions change. Discover some common reasons why gearboxes may need work from a machine shop and how to effectively maintain these critical components below.
What Are Some Common Gearbox Issues?
Prolonged exposure to high winds and vibrations can impact gearboxes over time, and as a result, these components typically only last a decade at most. They contain planetary gears that can withstand the elements to some degree, but issues still arise over time.
Scuffs, tiny pits, and cracks in the gears’ surfaces can develop over years of use. Left unaddressed, these issues can lead to broken teeth and bearing failures.
How Can You Optimize Gearbox Performance?
There are several ways companies in the wind industry can extend the life span of their gearboxes and optimize their performance. For one, using a high-quality lubricant can help keep the surfaces in the gearbox protected against corrosion. Look for a synthetic oil with a high viscosity index, which allows it to maintain consistency better despite temperature changes. Additionally, change the oil filter after the first 500 hours of operation and perform a complete oil change within two year-time frames.
At the first sign of damage in the gears, consult with a machine shop that specializes in wind energy machinery. Tiny pits and scuffs don’t have to derail your entire operation. These minor issues can often be addressed with the precision tools and experts found in machine shops before they escalate into major problems, such as bearing problems that cause the entire gearbox to fail.
If you’re seeking a machine shop to service your wind turbine components, turn to R. A. Heller Co. Serving the Cincinnati area, this precision grinding and hard chrome plating shop has been trusted throughout the community since 1946. Find out more about the industries they serve online or call (513) 771-6100 to discuss your business’s needs with one of their experts.