Dipl.-Ing. Kirsten Tschauder, Deutsche BP AG
Unplanned wind turbine downtime can lead to high financial losses and wind energy market statistics indicate that the average turbine downtime due to unscheduled events is around 270 hours per year. Roughly one third of such losses can be minimised or avoided by considering the special ambient and application conditions that the turbine operates in and choosing the correct lubricant and application method.
In addition, the right choice of lubricants can improve turbine operating performance through extended lubricant life, increased component life, lower operating temperatures and lower noise levels.
Rapid developments in gear box design sets new benchmark
Technological developments in the wind turbine sector have significantly impacted the design of gear boxes over the last 10 years. This in turn has had a major influence on gear box lubrication and the required performance from gear oils. These now need to operate in more highly- loaded and demanding conditions for extended periods to maximise the operating availability of the wind turbine. Some of the main changes in gearbox design are listed below: