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igus® Ltd.

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Northampton, NN4 7PW

01604 677240

igus® in maintenance platforms for wind turbines

Technical data

  • What was required? Components that contributed to an increase in service time; goal: double service time.
  • Requirements: low maintenance and vibration, long service life, corrosion-free, resistant to high temperatures and UV
  • Industry: wind turbines
  • Success for the customer: increase in service times from 80 to 100 days to 200 days per year.

The maintenance platform: The Brandenburg start-up company WP Systems GmbH developed the mobile maintenance platform "terra" system for the rotor blades of wind turbines. Repair and inspection work is now possible at any time, no matter whether rain, snow, sun or wind. The completely closed platform with perfect illumination allows safe work, also at night.  Flexible cables for movement, energy chains and various plain bearing solutions by the motions plastics specialist igus are also on board.

Maintenance platform, equipped with igus® motion plastics®  

The problem

The rotor blades of wind turbines that consist of glass-fibre reinforced plastic are normally practically maintenance-free for 20 years. Strong outer influences, however, lead to them requiring maintenance more often. Wear due to abrasion or bird strike as well as a high degree of mechanical stress caused by strong, irregular pressure at circumferential speeds of up to 300km/h are the consequences.  
 
Due to the high humidity, the quality of repairs of the rotors also varies, so that an infrared heating always ensures perfect temperatures in the maintenance chamber.
 
Damages occur, that on average happen every two years (per plant). Wind and weather impede access to the rotor blades, and professional relaminating of the rotor blades is practically impossible. Service teams onshore spend 80 to 100 days on inspection and repair work; offshore, this number is a lot lower.

The solution

igus products ensure a smooth operation despite unfavourable environmental conditions. chainflex cables in the form of steering, signal and bus cables are used which withstand vibrations, UV exposure and differences in temperature without problems. In addition, a chainflex special cable ensures the entire power supply on board. The low weight was decisive, which was due to a supporting braid made of lightweight aramid. With minimum weight, the occurring tensile forces on the cable are safely absorbed.
 
Many of the cables are routed by igus energy chains. The largest energy chain - a special edition from the modular system - has a Reverse Bend Radius and guides the cables in the rotary axis of the maintenance platform. Furthermore, the igus bearing technology in the form of iglidur plain bearings,, drylin linear guides and liners ensures the mechanical movability of many platform elements. They are maintenance-free, corrosion-free, lubrication-free and lighter than their metal counterpart. Liners ensure a reduction in friction during linear movements.

Products used