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Working with a trusted service partner is critical when looking to extend the life of existing wind turbines. Equally important is ensuring that high-quality, tailor-made service tools are also employed, to ensure that any maintenance works will go the distance.

Wind turbines can have a lifetime of between 20 and 25 years – but to ensure an installation meets this time frame, it is critically important that a reputable operator is engaged to maintain the equipment.

It’s equally important that operators use proper service tools when undertaking this work. Failure to do so can have dire consequences – the most serious of these being the need to replace wind turbines before their expected service life.

This can have a devastating impact on the overall economic viability of a wind development. Altra Motion is a leading multinational designer and manufacturer of innovative products used in the maintenance of wind turbines.

Below we are highlighting some of the tools that are currently being used in Australia – and around the world – by Altra Motion to help developers extend the life of their existing wind turbines.

Disc resurfacing tool

The yaw system in wind turbines has the essential role of orientating the nacelle towards the wind and holding it in position. Performing both stopping and holding functions, the brakes are under constant use and are required to operate reliably.

The condition of the brake disc surface is key to the brake system’s performance – it must be smooth and remain free from damage. Altra Motion has developed a new solution to quickly restore operation – the portable disc resurfacing tool.

This consists of a milling machine that quickly repairs both sides of the disc uptower. The tool is extremely compact and lightweight, allowing it to be easily transported to the top of the wind turbine. The disc resurfacing tool is mounted utilising one of the yaw brake mounting positions.

The yaw brake lifting tool.

Altra Motion’s disc resurfacing tool.

We’ve already touched on the essential function yaw brakes provide in a wind turbine, but what we haven’t discussed is the fact that these brakes are heavy and challenging to maintain in the field.

Recognising this fact, the team at Altra Motion developed a solution to make the maintenance of yaw brakes a simpler process. The result is the yaw brake lifting and installation tool, which allows yaw brakes to be maintained uptower – saving valuable time and money.

Owners who use the yaw brake lifting and installation tool on their developments are cutting service time by up to 50 per cent, which in turn reduces downtime, running costs and technician fatigue.

Yaw noise reduction tool

One of the other challenges associated with yaw brakes is the noise that they create – in fact, brake noise can be a significant contributor to the noise produced by wind turbines.

To help turbine operators, Altra Motion developed a solution that can be applied to the majority of installations, an anti-glazing groove. By cutting a specially-shaped groove into the brake disc it is possible to prevent glazing from occurring in the future.

The groove does not increase brake pad wear significantly, but it does help to remove the build-up of powdered material which contributes to glazing. Over an 18-month period, Altra Motion modified 25 wind turbines belonging to one of their clients, adding the new grooved brake discs on units from several different original equipment manufacturers. Zero noise has been reported since the upgrades were completed.

State-of-the-art turbine solutions

To help optimise service life, Altra Motion’s products are designed and developed through significant R&D, and lengthy field testing.

Altra Motion manufactures products under world-renowned brand names including Svendborg and Stromag brakes. Around the world, they are considered state-of-the-art for all modern medium and large wind turbines.

Altra Motion’s superior quality components are built to handle the stresses of wind turbine applications and are engineered to last for decades.

Altra Motion is proud to be an OEM service partner to Australian wind customers, offering genuine, original spare parts and service. The company unites decades of engineering experience, traditional craftsmanship, and innovation excellence to support a safe, sustainable, and economically viable renewable energy production

This Sponsored Editorial is brought to you by Altra Motion. To watch a video outlining the range of services and equipment available from Altra Motion, head to www.altramotionrenewables.com.au.

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