Evaluating 100-m wind blades

Moog Industrial Group will supply a test system to Narec (National Renewable Energy Centre) to evaluate and test wind turbine blades at their new 100 m (328 ft) blade testing facility in Blyth, Northumberland, UK.

Opening this summer, the independent facility will be used by manufacturers of turbine blades to test prototype blade designs and manufacturing processes. The new facility will accommodate blades being designed for larger offshore wind turbines up to 100 m (328 ft) in length and will complement Narec’s existing capability testing blades in the 50-m (164-ft) range.

The new 100-m (328-ft) wind blade test facility will provide an independent and confidential environment to accelerate the development of new wind blade designs before they are taken offshore. It will be the largest facility of its type in the world and expands on Narec’s existing blade testing capability developed over the last five years, serving the global supply chain and industrial research communities.

Stuart Bibb, Market Manager, Moog Test Systems said “Our division within Moog specializes in structural testing for the aerospace industry. Using computer-controlled hydraulic technology, we are able to simulate service loads to ascertain structural strength prior to initial flight testing. For this application in the renewables market, we were able to apply the same experience, technology and skills which, added to our in-depth understanding of Narec’s requirements, allowed us to deliver the right solution.”

Dean Goodwin, Mechanical Lead Engineer, at Narec said “Narec undertakes fatigue testing of wind turbine blades using a hydraulic system to resonate the blade at its natural frequency. Moog’s track record in the aerospace industry provided us with the confidence in their solution for our new world-leading facility.”

Moog will supply and commission a Test Controller and monitoring system to control the Narec Control Resonance Mass (CRM), which is used to excite natural frequencies in the blade structure and hence evaluate the blades resistance to fatigue under representative dynamic loading conditions. The scope of supply will also include a very high flow PLC controlled Hydraulic Power Unit designed to interface with the Narec primary control system.

The power unit, comprising six Moog RKP Radial Piston Pumps, has an installed power of 675 kW, delivering a flow of 1,200 lpm (317 gpm US) at a pressure of 280 bar (4061 psi). A dedicated PLC controls and monitors the performance and health of the unit and a water cooling system maintains the temperature of the hydraulic fluid. High pressure hydraulic fluid is circulated around the facility by a custom designed distribution network.

Stuart Bibb, market manager Moog Test Systems said, “We are delighted to be chosen, after a rigorous technical and commercial selection process, to supply Narec with a Moog turnkey closed-loop control test system.”



  1. We’re seeing these test facilities being built for 100m blades and 15MW drivetrains, but the turbine manufacturers have no existing designs nor any firm future plans for products anywhere near this size. Unfortunately, it seems to me that these facilities will largely go unused for the foreseeable future.

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