Why gearboxes and couplings are essential components of wind power

Love them or loathe them, we can’t ignore the power of wind turbines. What some might consider a ‘blot on the landscape’, others regard as a modern requisite of saving our planet from an otherwise inevitable demise.

But how do wind turbines work? What components are essential to help these slow-moving mechanisms rotate?

Gearboxes and couplings

Fact: There isn’t an industry that does not use gearboxes and couplings in some shape and for, including the wind power sector.

For a wind turbine to work efficiently the gearbox, coupling, generator and converter all need to interact smoothly to ensure the system runs reliably.

A wind turbine essentially works the opposite to a fan. Whilst a fan relies on electricity to make wind, a turbine relies on the wind to make electricity.

But how?

Wind turbines operate on an extremely simple procedure. In basic terms, the energy of the wind turns the three large propeller-like blades of the turbine around the rotor. The rotor is connected to the shaft. The shaft then spins a generator which produces electricity. The National Grid then transmits the power around the country.

Wind turbines and gearboxes

In previous blogs we’ve talked about Spaggiari and Sirem gearboxes, Kimera, Heynau and Liming gearboxes and how such gearboxes are used in diverse applications and industries.

In wind turbines, the gearbox is the central component of the drive train. Put simply, a gearbox drives the generator by converting the low speed of the rotor shaft into a high revolution.

Wind turbines and couplings

In connecting parts of machinery, couplings are an essential component of virtually every industrial machine, including wind turbines. For wind energy to be successfully generated, a reliable connection between the gearbox and generator is paramount. As well as transmitting the torque, the coupling protects connected components against travelling leakage currents and overload.

With all the components in working order, most wind turbines function at a speed of 4 – 5 metres per second. Their maximum power is approximately 15 metres per second.

Rotor blades

Of course without rotor blades, wind turbines could not operate. While most turbines have three blades, they can also work with one or two blades. Blades are made of fibreglass polyester or wood-epoxy. The blades are typically 30 and 40 metres in diameter. Generally speaking, the longer the blades, the greater the output of energy.

Being one of the UK’s leading specialists in industrial parts, including couplings and gearboxes, YB Components can help you source the correct unit for your machine, including wind turbines. If you want us to source a specialist part for any piece of machinery or industry, get in touch with YB Components.