As large and complex assets, wind turbines can present considerable challenges when it comes to maintaining their reliability as they age. Working with an experienced and reliable aftermarket partner that uses genuine parts can prolong the life of wind turbines and ensure they continue to deliver clean energy for years to come.
In general, wind turbine generators will have a warranty period of up to 10 years – which means that around the world, many wind turbines are reaching the end of their maintenance period.
While reaching the end of a warranty period can be a cause for concern for asset managers, it doesn’t need to be. In fact, in many ways, it can be an opportunity to assess their condition, consider improvements and extend the service life of an asset (which in turn further reduces its carbon footprint).
Wind turbines operate in particularly harsh environments, which places considerable pressure and stress on the equipment during operation.
For example, strong and unsteady winds and gusts can cause skidding or excessive loads, while ambient moisture can create a corrosive atmosphere and lubricant degradation.
Once the warranty period for a wind turbine expires, maintenance becomes critically important. Major and expensive components start to reach the end of their service life and need to be refurbished or replaced.
Adding to the challenge is the fact that inspection and maintenance activities on wind turbines are particularly laborious and costly, as the defective equipment may be located over one hundred meters above the ground and exposed to changing winds. For offshore wind farms, access becomes an even greater challenge.
Furthermore, the warranty and service contracts can often prevent turbine owners and operators from thoroughly understanding their equipment and how to effectively inspect and maintain it, as these tasks are performed by the contractor appointed under warranty.
As a result, at the end of the warranty period, operators will often find themselves exposed to high maintenance costs and prolonged downtime as service contracts are no longer valid. In these cases, many operators may feel resigned to decommissioning turbines, or at the very least, undergoing expensive reparation operations.
A new lease on life
However, there is an alternative to these costly options. Turbine owners and operators can team up with an OEM Service partner who will offer products that can provide a high-quality, cost-effective solution to obtain genuine spare parts or to upgradethe equipment.
In this way, it is possible to extend the service life of wind turbines, improving the overall performance and reducing maintenance costs.
Altra Industrial Motion provides technically advanced products to satisfy the complex and challenging needs of the wind power industry.
The many brands within Altra Industrial Motion, such as Matrix, Svendborg Brakes, Stromag, Ameridrives, Warner and Twiflex, have extensive experience in engineering and manufacturing integrated solutions for the wind energy sector.
The products provided by Altra Industrial Motion are designed with as few moving parts as possible in order to simplify and reduce maintenance. Also, the components can be customised to address the specific needs of each wind turbine project and improve the overall turbine performance.
In addition, when specialist equipment is necessary, the company is able to design, manufacture, test and supply brand new apparatuses, thanks to in-house facilities and experts.
Choosing Altra Industrial Motion solutions doesn’t just mean purchasing high-quality, customisable components that can be easily maintained – once the genuine spare products are delivered, Altra Industrial Motion provides fundamental support, providing operators with training and guidance on how to perform preventive and responsive maintenance for onshore wind turbines.
In this way, the on-site personnel have the chance to understand their equipment and learn to repair its parts in the event of failure. As with any rapidly adopted technology, wind power presents evolving challenges that need solutions in short time frames.
With the advent of aftermarket wind turbine solutions, asset owners and operators can overcome problematic maintenance procedures, reduce local environmental impact and maximise reliability for wind turbines.
In doing so, wind turbine owners can fulfill the inherent potential within their assets and further enhance the sustainable benefits they offer.
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