The Wind Power Industry is Blown Away by Slewing Drives
August 22, 2016- Reliable and accurate wind turbines are imperative for producing steady electrical power over a long lifetime. A slewing drive is a perfect fit for wind turbines because their flat wafer shape, low weight, and self-locking gearset mount easily in both the yaw and pitch positions. Their reliability data and high Mean Time Between Failures rates make for a well proven gearbox to rotate and position the wind turbine.
Yaw slewing drives accurately track the wind direction so that the turbine output is always maximized. Pitch slewing drives set the optimal blade angle for low and high wind speeds to maintain a steady electrical energy conversion. The shape and all-in-one package make mounting blades very quick and easy. The self-locking gearset, with a high factor of safety, means that no separate expensive braking mechanism is required. Neither the yaw nor pitch will come misaligned due to brake slippage.
Slewing drive sub systems of structure, bearing, rotation, and motion control operate seamlessly with each other to harness maximum yield from the wind turbine by positioning the turbine to the wind and then accurately holding this position. Kinematics manufactures a patented locking mechanism. The drive locks into place once the pitch and yaw positions are set. This ensures that the drive does not take any “hammering” effect from wind, as it does in standard mechanical componentry. This dampens out vibration from the wind which can be harmful to all turbine componentry and structure.
Slewing drives have an extremely low cost of installation and low cost of ownership over time, which is imperative in renewable energy. Performance and reliability are greatly increased by grouping the functions together in one package, while both purchase and operational costs are minimized.
Reliability is of utmost importance in the wind industry. Electrical energy is being output to the grid and is expected to always be available. If anything breaks down in the system, then no power is available. This is detrimental to the owner and operator of the power plant. Slewing drives have been shown through field usage, accelerated life cycle testing, and third party reports to be the most reliable type of drive found for use in this field.
Wind fields must endure extreme conditions of sand, temperature, rain, salt, and wind. Kinematics manufactures a specially designed hourglass worm slewing drive that allows for 5 to 11 times higher wind survivability load than standard drives. All the materials including the metals, rubbers, greases, and finishes are manufactured to survive the extreme field conditions and have models available in various IP ratings.