The following is excerpted from a post on Process Control Today about the unique modular rotor brake package developed by Stromag, an Altra Industrial Motion company

UNNA, Germany — A global demand for clean energy has caused the offshore wind sector to grow exponentially. Regional and international climate policy is pushing OEMs to build larger wind turbines to deliver increased power output to meet green energy targets. This means new turbine designs that require innovative power transmission systems to meet increased duty requirements.

For a new 10MW wind turbine design, one OEM relied on Stromag to develop a modular rotor brake package that could exert the required 190 kN brake force.

Offshore wind turbines have grown from a curiosity to a large energy resource over the past 30 years. In 1991, the first offshore wind farm began operation off the coast of Denmark, offering a total output of up to 4.95 MW .

From relatively humble beginnings, the necessity to reduce the carbon footprint of the energy sector has caused the offshore wind market to expand. In 2017, 4,331 MW of new offshore wind power was installed globally, representing a 95-percent increase compared to 2016 . Offshore wind power has made a rapid transition to a major source of energy.

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This rapid transition has been achieved through technological development. Many of the most powerful wind turbines in operation today boast outputs of up to 12 MW. This growth in power output has been a driving factor in wind turbine designs.

A larger rotor can harness the wind more effectively to generate electricity. Meeting this new design criteria presents a challenge to an OEM’s supply chain however, as critical assemblies will require redevelopment to meet the increased duty requirements.

Rotor brakes are a good example, as a wind turbine rotor of increased size and more advanced design will need an improved braking system compared to a smaller model. OEM’s must therefore work with highly capable Tier 1 suppliers to ensure such brakes – and other critical assemblies – are accommodated in the initial design phase, so that they can be easily integrated and meet challenging application requirements.

Stromag, a leading designer and manufacturer of rotor and yaw brakes for wind turbines, was approached by a leading turbine OEM to meet the rotor braking requirements of a new 10MW turbine design. Stromag is a brand of Altra Renewable Energy, a family of leading providers of power transmission solutions to the green energy sector. The massive turbine featured a rotor diameter of over 160 m, offering the capability to power around 6,000 average homes.

Rotor brakes carry out a number of vital roles in an offshore wind turbine. Foremost, they limit the rotor from entering overspeed during high winds via dynamic braking. Overspeed can adversely affect critical components in the wind turbine as it exceeds its design parameters, so a reliable rotor brake system is paramount in ensuring efficient long-term turbine operation. Rotor brakes can also be applied to aid in maintenance or repair work, so reliable parking brake functionality is also important.

To view the entire post, click HERE.