Wind energy is a converted form of solar energy. A wind energy system transforms the kinetic energy of the wind into mechanical or electrical energy that can be harnessed for practical use. Mechanical energy is most commonly used for pumping water in rural or remote locations. Wind electric turbines are used to generate electricity.
Turbine systems include a rotor, or blades which convert the wind's energy into rotational shaft energy; a tower to support the rotor and drive train; a nacelle including a gearbox and a generator; and electronic equipments such as controls, electrical cables, ground support equipments, and interconnection equipments.
When the rotor rotates, the load on the main shaft is very heavy. It runs with approximate 22 revolutions per minute but generator has to go a lot faster. It cannot use the turning force to increase the number of revolutions and that is why wind turbine uses gear to increase the speed.
Wind turbines vary in sizes and according to their size and function they use a variety of different type of gears for easy and comfortable working.
Helical gears - Are used to minimize noise and power losses.
Worm gears - Are used to drive the toothed wheel rim on the yaw bearing of the turbine.
Bevel gears - Used to redirect the shaft from the horizontal gas turbine engine to the vertical rotor.
Pinion gears - Are used for accuracy evaluation and for grind temper testing.
It is important to monitor the different components of the offshore wind turbines to limit and avoid damage and downtime. Gearbox should be closely monitored by measuring the noise level, visually monitoring, by measuring its vibration and by analysing the oil serving as lubrication during service checks
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