Robert Pears, Renewable Energy Business Development Manager UK & Ireland, ExxonMobil Lubricants and specialties, advise as to how operators can optimise off shore wind turbine performance and reduce unscheduled downtime through lubricant selection and best practice.
To optimise wind turbine performance, advanced lubrication and related services have been developed to help operators increase wind turbine availability and reduce unscheduled downtime. Minimising unscheduled downtime is particularly important for offshore wind farms. In addition to the loss of electrical energy generation, there are high costs associated with replacement parts and labour, and chartering specialist vessels to carry out the maintenance of offshore wind turbines can exceed six-figure sums.
High Performance Synthetic Lubricants
By selecting advanced lubricants, and adopting a proactive approach to maintenance, wind farm operators can significantly improve the productivity of their operators, and reduce costs.
One of the most crucial components of a geared wind turbine is the gearbox. To maximise productivity and reduce unscheduled downtime, the gear oil must offer high levels of performances in several critical areas. The gear oil must have a balanced formulation to provide general production and performance.
Mobilgear SHC XMP 320, with its balanced formulation, exceeds the performance of conventional mineral based oils by extending oil change intervals from 18 months to three years. This fully synthetic gear oil, used in over 30,000 wind turbine gear boxes worldwide, is approved by the majority of the top twelve global wind turbine manufacturers.
Entire Wind Turbine
Wind farm operators should incorporate lubricants across the entire wind turbine, such as the pitch and yaw gears as well as the main pitch and yaw bearings. Mobil SHC Grease 460WT is proving a compelling choice of synthetic grease for the lubrication of these bearings due to its excellent low and high temperature performance, structural stability even in the presence of water and excellent wear protection. It allows consolidation of bearing greases into one product, minimising the risk of re-lubrication with the wrong product and without introducing unnecessary operational risks.
Oil and Equipment Condition monitoring
High performance oil selection should be supported by scheduled maintenance which includes oil analysis. Recruiting oil analysis, employing a test slate to evaluate in service lubricant condition is a widely used maintenance strategy for wind turbines. Maintenance professionals can extend the lives of both the equipment and lubricant by detecting and acting on early warning signs such as oil contamination, cleanliness levels or increasing wear means using routine oil analysis such as ExxonMobil’s Signum service.
By employing technology, advanced synthetic lubricants alongside an effective oil condition monitoring programme, all wind farm operators can reduce costs and maximise wind turbine productivity.
ExxonMobil Industrial Lubricants
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