Sunday , February 18 2018
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Wind Turbine Lubrication

Wind Turbine Lubrication

Wind turbine lubrication is an often overlooked subject by the general public. But, lubrication is not overlooked by the owners of large, industrial wind farms. In order for large wind turbine blades to turn and the whole system to work optimally, creating the maximum amount of electricity, the unit must be well maintained and well lubricated.

 And of course, not all wind turbines or conditions are the same. So different kinds of lubricants must be used for different machinery specs and where the wind turbine will operate.
wind turbine lubrication
Wind turbine lubrication is a must.

For instance, wind turbines in the “Saudi Arabia of Wind” or the Midwest USA will require a separate set of lubricants than those wind turbines at sea off the East coast. Saltiness of the air, moisture, altitude, temperature and many other factors need to be taking into account when selecting wind turbine lubricants.

Canadian wind turbines will require different oils, greases, green or synthetic lubricants than those say in tropical regions. Those wind turbines at sea have different specifications than those on dry land and in dry regions.

Wind Turbine Lubrication Requirements

Although wind turbines work on a simple principle of converting one force in to another, they still require a rather complex set of mechanics to do so. Inside most industrial scale wind turbines (besides the newer ones which may have Teflon parts or are self-lubricating), there are three different lubricants used including greases for bearings and slewing rings, hydraulic circuits and brakes. If you prioritize all of the important operations, then blade bearings are the ones that operate under the most rigorous of stresses.

Below are the major lubrication points of indirect drive wind turbines:

  1. Most of the external and internal threaded connection
  2. Disc brake
  3. Generator bearing
  4. Shaft Connections (Releasable) such as connections of the shrink disc et
  5. Gear boxe
  6. Main shaft bearin
  7. Blade bearings with pitching gears, Azimuth bearings etc

The automatic greasing systems lubricate different types of bearings. Greases for azimuth bearings and blade bearings must have following properties:

  • Good pumpability in the centralized lubricating systems
  • Good compatibility with different varnishes and sealing materials involved
  • Resistance to corrosion
  • Resistance to High temperature and fluctuation in temperature ranges
  • Medium to low speeds
  • Resistance to vibrations caused due to issues like unsteady wind and light-weight design
  • High load resistance

Those who are currently looking for wind turbine jobs or who will be looking in the future will not only have to be well adept and the general mechanics of fixing generators hundreds of feet above the ground (or building them in a factor setting). Wind turbine mechanics will need to be well versed in lubrication, lubrication systems and specifications and overall maintenance to insure optimal performance and minimal downtime.