Wind turbine gearboxes are designed to last 20 years. However, wind operators often experience gearbox failure rates of up to 50% across the lifetime of their fleets. If component fatigue, fretting or wear is caught early enough, an operator can mitigate consequential damage and prevent catastrophic gearbox failure. If the window of prevention is missed, however, the operator can incur costly repairs between $200,000-$500,000 for just the gearbox system. This includes a minimum of two weeks of lost revenue from asset downtime, the cost of the gearbox replacement, and additional crane and labor costs.
The Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers has recognized Sentient Science's Harpal Singh, Ph.D., for his research paper on solid lubricants.
By Josh Fausset, Director of Customer Success at Sentient Science
Authored by Matt Smith, Sentient Science Marketing
Digitalization. Big data. Data analytics. Efficiency.
Wind turbines operate by converting the kinetic energy in wind to mechanical power. The power produced is connected to a power grid which is used to power appliances, homes, industrial buildings, offices, electrical equipment, vehicles, etc.
Main bearings deployed in the field may fail after 6 to 10 years of operation, leading to costly $150,000 to $300,000+ replacements. If an operator experiences multiple main bearing failures in a budget year, that can bleed heavily into profit margins.
Main bearings have high radial load capacities and an advanced tolerance for large misalignment. However, most main bearings still fail prior to their 20-year design life.