By: Steven Bushong
With larger, more powerful turbines coming online, requirements for pitch control are increasing. Experts say the wind-power industry is also beginning to adopt aerospace test technology, the same kind used to vet airplane designs, to simulate loads on wind turbine blades before installation.
Pitch control is a key safety system in turbines. Ray Opie, senior project engineer at Moog, says their customers are looking to refine overall design of turbine for optimized cost and availability. “They want to increase the hours of the day the turbine runs, thereby producing more power and achieving better cost-effectiveness,” he says. “Also, lower costs are making things thinner and more slender, which means the pitch system is more dynamic.”
Opie says the industry is also starting to look at the methodology used elsewhere with reliability assistance. Reliability is especially important in wind turbines. “Like aircrafts, the thing can’t go wrong,” he says. “They must always do what they need to do. There are many tools from other industries to determine reliability in wind.” Electric pitch actuators often consist of a gearbox and either an ac or dc motor. To further optimize reliability, Moog offers the gearbox and motor as a package, instead of having to purchase them separately from different manufacturers. Read More Here