"The trend is clearly towards ever larger, more powerful wind turbines," says Sebastian Eicke, application engineer in the wind energy team at KEB Automation. This is closely linked to the repowering of existing plants and the expansion of offshore wind farms. But what does this mean for the practical implementation of KEB products in the wind sector?
The manufacturers of wind turbines have special requirements that have to be met. "In the wind sector, robustness plays an important role, as do long maintenance intervals, because the turbines are exposed to a wide variety of environmental conditions," explains Ludger Brohl, product manager for the wind sector. "From very cold to very warm, high vibrations in the nacelle – the drives and brakes have to withstand everything."
Here, he says, the clear keyword is safety. "The pitch drives are a central safety component of the wind turbine. In the event of a power failure, a storm or a fault, they must ensure that the blades reach a safe position - the so-called vane position," explains Brohl. Requirements that Eicke and Brohl's team are familiar with in detail.
"In the Chinese market, we can probably call ourselves - without false modesty - one of the market leaders in pitch converters," says Eicke. KEB is also working from a good market position in the European market. "For turbines around ten megawatts and more, everything is possible." This is underlined by the new COMBIVERT 23P6 pitch inverter, which feels particularly at home in large wind turbines. The pitch drives are also joined by yaw drives for aligning the turbine in the wind direction – the so-called wind tracking. The system is completed by the possible use of KEB's own brakes and motors. The KEB spring-applied brakes COMBISTOP are designed in a version that has been specially optimised for use in wind turbines, enabling universal installation (onshore, nearshore and offshore) and variable attachment or installation on synchronous or asynchronous motors.
90 percent of the power generation plants built in 2020 are based on renewable energies, ten percent on gas and coal energies. The focus here is clearly on China and the USA. Eicke adds: "By 2025, electricity from renewable energies will be the main source of energy. It will end the more than 50-year dominance of coal. We are actively shaping this change with our customers."
Under the title "Ready for High-Power Wind-Turbines" Eicke and his team will show why high power in particular suits KEB products: Wind turbines must operate safely and stably and meet the highest quality requirements. "We also apply these standards to our pitch and yaw systems, such as the very current 23P6 for high outputs," says Eicke. In this webcast, the team shows which possibilities customers gain with KEB - from frequency inverters to brakes: