Fast and accurate electromagnetic simulations can help wind turbine suppliers speed developments in wind-turbine design. The Siemens design team, for example, uses the Opera electromagnetic simulator from the Vector Fields Software product line of Cobham Technical Services to help it develop new generator concepts, and often runs thousands of simulations within a few hours to discover a best design for the application.
The software Opera was selected as a design automation for its speed and efficiency, and its ability to cross-couple with other software used in the overall equipment design.
When designing new generators for wind turbines, engineers typically use the package’s 2D simulations to rapidly find ‘sweet spots’ in the design space. Siemens` wind turbine generators are large machines, with many poles, but the fast execution of Opera 2D simulations, says the company, means designers are free to thoroughly explore new architectural concepts.
Opera’s scripting capability lets designers quickly set up thousands of simulations. Because an individual 2D Opera simulation runs quickly, taking perhaps 10 minutes, and the design team has a computer that can run 80 simulations in parallel, thousands of potential design solutions can be explored and compared within a few hours. The ability to quickly assess so many design variants makes Opera useful part of the design process, enabling a level of optimization that would otherwise not be possible. After this 2D exploration, the team can characterize a best potential design solutions using 3D simulation.
Getting to a best design solution is always a balance between performance and cost. For wind turbines in particular, there are competing design goals such as generator efficiency and power output quality versus the need for compact physical size and the minimization of expensive materials, such as rare-earth permanent magnets. The benefits of using the analysis software for wind turbines are design excellence, combined with speed of development, and to minimize the need to manufacture costly prototypes.
Cobham Technical Services
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