This week’s WINDPOWER 2019 has showcased one of its largest exhibits in five years to accommodate record levels of development and business in the industry. The American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) annual event — and the largest in North America — returned to Houston, a powerhouse for the energy sector.
“We’re here in Houston, Energy Capital of the World, to showcase what makes wind power America’s most competitive source of new electricity generation and to set the table for business deals that will keep U.S. energy workers busy for years to come,” said AWEA CEO, Tom Kiernan.
According to event organizers, this year’s theme “WIND+” reflects a growing network of partners and allies working together for a cleaner and stronger U.S. energy economy.
Here are just some of the product highlights from the show floor.
Blade inspections without zero downtime
WindCom’s Chronos is a high-speed, wind-turbine blade inspection process — without stopping the turbines. This means zero loss of revenue for the wind owner. How it works: One tech collects high-resolution blade images at four different angles. The images are then classified by damage type using Watson-developed AI software and validated by a WindCom engineer, prior to being uploaded to a Chronos’ report application.
The process is quick, convenient, cost-effective, and accurate. Cracks, on a blade, that are otherwise invisible are captured during the operation. It’s also safer and less costly than conventional inspection methods.
Turbine tower dent repairs
BARR Field Services offers dent repairs for turbine towers. The company’s unique patented tool is built onsite to fit the exact requirements of a damaged tower. An X-and-Y graph is placed around the dent for measurement and a laser is used for accuracy — so the tool pushes the precise spot during reparation.
Gradually, it pushes out the dent, using a monitoring system that measures the ram coming out and PSI going up to avoid additional damage and ensure a successful dent repair.
Better bearing care
AMSOIL offers a new Main Bearing Grease (MBG) and Main Bearing Flush (MBF). MGB is a unique combination of synthetic PAO base oils, lithium complex thickeners, and carefully chosen additives that help prevent wear, rust, and hardening. It works well in large, slow-speed bearings with high loads.
MBF is a low-viscosity oil designed for flushing used grease from wind-turbine main bearings. Its natural solvency helps remove old thickeners and base oils, while its low viscosity assists with removing particles. Note, MBF should be sued with industry-approved main baring grease-change procedures that expressly require the use of low-viscosity oil.
An electric torque tool redesign
HYTORC has redesigned its electric torque tool with expanded functionality, greater durability, and intuitive usability. The result: The LITHIUM SERIES II Electric Torque Tool, which offers strength and portability in industrial bolting jobs.
This lightweight 36-volt battery powered tool has a capacity of up to 5000 ft-lbs and is compatible with conventional sockets, the HYTORC Washer, and the HYTORC Nut.
What’s more is that the LITHIUM SERIES II Tool was developed with TorcSense Technology, a new, award-winning method of direct torque measurement and closed-loop control that provides more repeatable bolting performance. The LITHIUM SERIES II Tool also contains advanced data acquisition and bolting features that set the standard for the next generation of bolting.
Mini desiccant breathers
HYDAC’s new BDLP desiccant breathers are specifically designed for large mobile machines, such as wind turbine. The breathers prevent dirt and water vapor from entering a gearbox or hydraulic system, improving the overall life of the equipment.
The optional check valves also increase the overall service life of the unit.
• 2-micron Filter
• 3/4-inch NPT male fitting
• All models are rated for 5 SCFM at 1 psig
• Optional check valves
Timken imagined a better way to transmit torque between a turbine’s gearbox and generator while protecting attached components from overload and stray currents. Next-generation Lovejoy couplings — bolted to an AeroTorque WindTC torque control — are now available for 2-MW+ turbines.
The couplings integrate directly with the generator hub, include an anti-flail feature, and use a composite fiberglass spacer for weight and cost efficiency.
A standard torque limiter offers protection against peak loads, primarily protecting the coupling from damage during torque spikes, while an AeroTorque-enabled coupling provides added advantages — reducing peak torque by up to 40% and torque oscillations up to 70% to extend gearbox life.