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Wind Turbine

Surface Finishing for Wind Turbine Components

Before ISF Process Pinion

Before ISF Process Pinion

Wind turbine gearboxes are designed to last over twenty years; however many standard gearboxes experience premature failure. These failures are often a result of gear wear and micropitting due to the high and variables loads in which wind turbines are often operated (strong, intermittent wind gusts and the start-and-stop nature of wind in general). Additionally, maintenance not being performed as scheduled, due to the remote, often difficult to access locations where wind turbines are installed further stresses the wind turbine gear box. These factors result in gearboxes accounting for one of the largest portions of maintenance costs for wind turbines.

After ISF Process Refurbished Pinion

After ISF Process Refurbished Pinion

REM’s ISF®­­­ Process, an isotropic superfinishing process, brings a new standard of efficiency gains, extended component life and reduced part wear to customers in the Wind Turbine market. The ISF Process is capable of polishing parts weighing over 10,000 lbs./4,500 kgs.  The ISF Process offers the potential to finish multiple component features simultaneously (ex. gear flanks and integral bearing races) thereby reducing manufacturing costs.  The improved load carrying capacity of ISF Processed gears can offer increases in operating safety margins and/or design opportunities to increase power input or downsize components.  Lastly, the ISF Process is capable of turning used, damaged Wind Turbine Gears into better than new components via the removal of gear flank surface damage (up to ~0.003″/75 microns depending on available material stock). These refurbished parts outperform non-ISF processed new gears in terms of resistance to wear and contact fatigue. Request REM’s ISF Wind Turbine Gear Repair Selection Guide for detailed guidance on what damage types/gear failure modes are repairable.

Common Wind Turbine Applications for the ISF Process:

  • Planet Gears
  • Planet Gears with Integral Bearing Races
  • Sun Pinions
  • Ring Gears/Annuluses
  • Intermediate Pinions
  • Low Speed Helical Gears
  • High Speed Helical Gears
  • High Speed Pinions
  • Intermediate Assemblies (Intermediate Pinion + High Speed Helical Gear)
  • Hollow Shaft Assemblies (Low Speed Helical Gear + Hollow Shaft Coupling)
  • Double Helical Bull Gears
  • Main Shaft Bearings
  • Slewing Ring Bearings

Component Benefits for Wind Turbine Applications:

  • Reduced Friction/Roughness
  • Increased Efficiency
  • Increased Resistance to Micropitting
  • Increased Resistance to Scuffing
  • Increased Pitting Resistance
  • Increased Resistance to Contact and Bending Fatigue
  • Increased Part Durability/Reduce Wear
  • Reduced Lubricant/System Operating Temperatures
  • Reduced Vibration and Noise
  • Increased Power Density Allowable/Component Load Carrying Capacity
  • Reduced Lubrication Requirements and Cost (anti-wear additives, etc.)
  • Increased Lubricant Lambda Ratio
  • Eliminated Break-in/Run-in Requirement
  • Reduced Warranty Maintenance Costs
  • Increased Maintenance Intervals
  • Potential to Refurbishment Used Gears

Production Benefits for Wind Turbine Applications:

  • Potential to Reduce Manufacturing Steps
  • Potential to Reduce Grinding Surface Finish Requirements
  • Potential to Reduce or Optimize Deburring and Chamfering Operations
  • Improved Component Inspection Capability

Common Wind Turbine Alloys that REM can Assist with:

  • Standard Gear Steels (ex. DIN 34CrNiMo6)
  • Bearing Steels (ex. AISI 52100/DIN 100Cr6)

Common Wind Turbine Component Forming Methods the ISF Process can Improve:

  • Ground (Machined)
  • Turned
  • Honed

Interested in learning more, ready to start a project, or have an application that you don’t see listed here?  Contact us today to see how we can help solve your surface finishing/polishing needs.

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