Reliable equipment is needed to decrease turbine costs and downtime. Large amounts of time and resources are often spent on finding methods to reduce the risks of large components failing. Turbine gearboxes are one such example. However, more often than not, it is the small components such as seals and bolts that are central to reliability, performance, and ultimately, profitability. UK-based James Walker has identified at least three options that can help the industry overcome these problems.
Reducing the risks of bolt failure
Some 90 to 95% of all bolted-joint failures are caused by insufficient bolt tension on installation. So to improve reliability and reduce equipment failures, it is essential that correct tension is generated at installation and maintained throughout the life of the bolt. Traditional tightening procedures, such as torque and hydraulic tensioning, measure the effort applied but not the tension generated across the bolted joint. Hence, torques is not an adequate measure of correct bolt tension.
Advanced bolt tension technologies can reduce the risks of bolt failure by accurately measuring tension across bolted joints. The company says its RotaBolt offers accurate installation to within ±5% of the customer’s specified design tension. This reduces the risk of bolts loosening in operation due to factors such as vibration or thermal cycling. Additionally, the tension-control fasteners allow monitoring any loss of tension across the bolt by a simple tactile or visual check requiring no specialist expertise or tools. This technology can reduce the risks of equipment failure while also improving safety and significantly reducing maintenance costs.
Reducing the risks of seal failure
Poor seal performance lets lubricants leak, compromise performance and accelerate equipment failure. As more wind farms are installed in challenging environments, rapid on-site seal replacement with the minimum of disassembly is essential to minimise the loss of energy production. However, retrofitting such components is a vital consideration often absent in seal design.
Seal manufarturers have developed on-site joining technology to fit the wind industry. For example, Walkersele OSJ-2 is an on-site jointed seal concept from James Walker that can replace a typical turbine main shaft seal in less than 30 min without major disassembly. On-site joined seals offer the same integrity, life, and performance as the seal fitted during manufacture by an OEM. Timely seal replacement will help to reduce the risks of equipment failure.
Shaft and blade vibration can cause fatigue and ultimately, the premature failure of turbine components. To improve performance and reduce maintenance requirements, vibration must be minimised or eliminated.
Vibration control reduces the risks of equipment failure. Companies such as James Walker Tiflex have developed vibration attenuation and structural isolators. A range of machinery mounting options, foundation pads, and structural bearings can isolate structures from plant vibration and equipment from structural disturbance. Many years of sound and vibration attenuation engineering experience and state of the art research let’s Tiflex provide tailored solutions to specific turbine, tower resonance, and vibration problems.
“As demand for energy grows, technology in the wind industry must improve equipment reliability”, said Keith Tripp, marketing director of James Walker. “Recent activity has focused upon maintaining the reliability of large components. However, smaller components are also important and should not be overlooked. Investment in technology that reduces the risks of equipment failure will in turn reduce the costs of maintenance and improve the long term reliability of renewable-energy generation.”
James Walter Group
Filed Under: News, Turbines