In order to increase the profitability of wind turbines, components also have to come down in price – and that includes the sensors. But quality must not suffer as a result. Kübler’s Markus Brunner, Global Industry Manager Wind, explains how smart design is maintaining high standards and maximising profit.
Cost pressures during the construction of wind turbines have grown considerably. In order to increase the profitability of wind turbines, the components have to come down in price. This also applies to the sensors. However Kübler is able to demonstrate that cost pressures on wind turbines and the highest demands that are placed on them do not have to lead to a conflict. The company is developing and manufacturing encoders for a wide range of speed measurement and positioning tasks within wind turbines. Encoders used for speed control carry out their role at various places in the drive train of the turbine. Bearing-free magnetic systems can measure the speed directly at the hub. Measurement of the rotor speed and position is handled by encoders in the slip ring. For quickly rotating generator shafts Kübler offers hollow shaft encoders with an isolated shaft.
How can savings be made with these products, yet at the same time still meeting the high demands of the wind turbine manufacturers?
Approaches to a solution for high-quality, cost-oriented sensors
Kübler answers this question for position and motion sensors with three approaches:
1. Optimising material usage and expenditure by means of Lean Design
Following this concept, Kübler took all the measures necessary to streamline the functionalities of the Sendix 58 multi turn encoder with an optical gear. This family of encoders is employed in pitch systems, either directly on the motor or as a stand-alone encoder including a measuring pinion and mounting bracket. Streamlining means individualisation: the encoder’s functionalities are analysed, to determine which are essential for wind turbines – unnecessary functions are left out. The end result is a portfolio of individually tailored absolute multi turn encoders: included here are the compact Sendix F36, a fully optical encoder with electronic multi turn in a 36 mm size housing, the efficient Sendix F58, also a fully optical encoder with electronic multi turn in the robust 58 housing, as well as the versatile Sendix 58, a fully optical geared multi turn encoder.