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When the manufacturer of wind turbines for a large Wind Farm in New South Wales noticed yaw noise coming from two of their turbines, they went straight to brake manufacturer and service partner Altra Motion for a quick and effective solution.

The 134MW Wind Farm in New South Wales recently became fully operational and provides renewable electricity for the development’s three corporate partners.

During the construction and commissioning of the large number of wind turbines that make up the project, the turbine’s manufacturer noticed yaw noise coming from two of the turbines on site. Yaw noise can be created by the contact between the yaw brake pads and the disc during nacelle adjustment into the wind.

The wind turbine OEM reached out directly to Altra Motion Australia to address the yaw noise issue and reduce the noise from the project site.

Altra Motion brand Svendborg Brakes initially supplied the brakes on the turbines, and the team were only too happy to head out to the site to diagnose what was going on.

Altra Motion sent its NSW service team to the site, led by NSW Service Manager Craig Kelly and NSW Service Technician Michal Duraj. Craig and Michal met with the turbine manufacturer and their service partner, with all parties working collaboratively to rectify the issue.

During the initial site visit, Craig and Michal gathered a great deal of data to identify what was happening on the turbines – this included detail from the visual inspection to data from a logger.

They also ran through a detailed set of diagnostic tests to comprehensively understand what was happening with the turbine and the brake pads. This process allowed for the elimination of a range of possible causes for the noise and to clearly and concisely diagnose what the actual issue was.

“We have a data logger that measures all pressures and flows for a piece of equipment, which we can then check against our operating manuals to assess what is and isn’t working within tolerance.

“These tests allowed us to eliminate potential causes for the noise, so we moved to pressure tests at the power unit itself, initialising each test on each brake. Each turbine has five yaw brakes, and we tested and took data from each brake to fully understand why we were experiencing yaw noise.”

After performing these tests and gathering this information, Craig and Michal met virtually with their international team members at Svendborg Brakes to review the findings and decide on the best course of action. Following this, the team prepared a detailed set of recommendations for the client to minimise the yaw noise.

Craig, Michal and the turbine manufacturer and service partner teams then met to review the report and discuss the recommendations. Representatives from Altra Motion brand Svendborg Brakes also attended this meeting, ensuring that the client had access to the factory representatives to get to the heart of the issue and understand the best course of action to rectify it.

Resolving the issue

The core finding from all the diagnostic testing and data logging was that the yaw noise was primarily because, through the course of operating the wind turbines, the brake pads and yaw disc surface had become glazed.

“In effect, we’ve got glazing, and it’s creating friction between two shiny services going against each other and creating noise and vibration,” said Craig.

“Our recommendation was to remove the originally specified brake pads, which has been done, and replace them with new, genuine Svendborg brake pads. These have been ordered and are on their way to the wind farm.”

Following the detailed assessment on-site, analysis of what was causing the issue and subsequent rectification of the problem, the response from the client has been overwhelmingly positive.

“This job has been a reminder that being methodical in process, using the correct tools and starting with the basics in diagnostic testing is the best – and only – way to get to the bottom of any issues that may arise with machinery as complex as wind turbines,” said Craig.

“After our initial meeting with the service partner and OEM, they said to us, ‘Why didn’t we get you guys out in the first place?'” said Michal.

Pleasingly, this is the start of an ongoing relationship between the wind turbine manufacturer, Altra Motion Australia, the original equipment manufacturer and service partner.

“We have several additional suggestions that have been made to the manufacturer which will continue to enhance the operation of their machinery, and we’re looking forward to continuing to work with them in the future,” said Craig.

This sponsored article was brought to you by Altra Motion. For more information about Altra Motion-Svendborg Brakes and their genuine spare parts and service capabilities, head to www.altramotionaustralia.com

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