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Title: Planetary Load Sharing in Three-Point- Mounted Wind Turbine Gearboxes: Preprint

Abstract

Wind turbine gearboxes do not achieve their expected design life. The cost of gearbox replacements and rebuilds and the downtime associated with these failures increase the cost of wind energy. In 2007, the U.S. Department of Energy established the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) Gearbox Reliability Collaborative (GRC). Its goals are to understand the root causes of premature gearbox failures and improve their reliability. To date, the GRC has focused on a 750-kW drivetrain with a three-stage, three-point-mounted gearbox. A nonproprietary version of the gearbox containing CRBs with C3 clearances in the planetary stage was customized. Two of these gearboxes, GB1 and GB2, were manufactured and then tested in the National Wind Technology Center's 2.5-MW dynamometer and in the field. Major GRC findings include the detrimental effect of rotor moments on planetary load sharing and predicted fatigue, and the risk of bearing sliding in low-torque conditions for three-point configuration drivetrains. Based on the knowledge gained from testing and analysis of the original design, the GRC gearbox was redesigned to improve its load-sharing characteristics and predicted fatigue. This new gearbox is named GB3. As shown in Figure 1, its key improvement is the incorporation of preloaded TRBs that support the planetmore » carrier and planets. Roller loads can be optimized and bearing life maximized with a small preload [4]. These preloaded bearings, along with interference-fitted planet pins, improve alignments and load-sharing characteristics. A semi-integrated planet bearing design also increases capacity and eliminates outer race fretting. Romax Technology, with Powertrain Engineers and the Timken Company (Timken), completed the redesign. Timken manufactured and instrumented the planet gears and bearings. Brad Foote Gearing manufactured the other gearing and assembled the gearbox.« less

Authors:
 [1]; ORCiD logo [1]
  1. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)
OSTI Identifier:
1393789
Report Number(s):
NREL/CP-5000-68221
DOE Contract Number:
AC36-08GO28308
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: Presented at the 2017 American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) International Design Engineering Technical Conference (IDETC), 6-9 August 2017, Cleveland, Ohio
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
17 WIND ENERGY; wind turbine; gearboxes; gearbox; wind energy; Gearbox Reliability Collaborative; GRC; NREL

Citation Formats

Guo, Yi, and Keller, Jonathan A. Planetary Load Sharing in Three-Point- Mounted Wind Turbine Gearboxes: Preprint. United States: N. p., 2017. Web.
Guo, Yi, & Keller, Jonathan A. Planetary Load Sharing in Three-Point- Mounted Wind Turbine Gearboxes: Preprint. United States.
Guo, Yi, and Keller, Jonathan A. 2017. "Planetary Load Sharing in Three-Point- Mounted Wind Turbine Gearboxes: Preprint". United States. doi:. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1393789.
@article{osti_1393789,
title = {Planetary Load Sharing in Three-Point- Mounted Wind Turbine Gearboxes: Preprint},
author = {Guo, Yi and Keller, Jonathan A},
abstractNote = {Wind turbine gearboxes do not achieve their expected design life. The cost of gearbox replacements and rebuilds and the downtime associated with these failures increase the cost of wind energy. In 2007, the U.S. Department of Energy established the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) Gearbox Reliability Collaborative (GRC). Its goals are to understand the root causes of premature gearbox failures and improve their reliability. To date, the GRC has focused on a 750-kW drivetrain with a three-stage, three-point-mounted gearbox. A nonproprietary version of the gearbox containing CRBs with C3 clearances in the planetary stage was customized. Two of these gearboxes, GB1 and GB2, were manufactured and then tested in the National Wind Technology Center's 2.5-MW dynamometer and in the field. Major GRC findings include the detrimental effect of rotor moments on planetary load sharing and predicted fatigue, and the risk of bearing sliding in low-torque conditions for three-point configuration drivetrains. Based on the knowledge gained from testing and analysis of the original design, the GRC gearbox was redesigned to improve its load-sharing characteristics and predicted fatigue. This new gearbox is named GB3. As shown in Figure 1, its key improvement is the incorporation of preloaded TRBs that support the planet carrier and planets. Roller loads can be optimized and bearing life maximized with a small preload [4]. These preloaded bearings, along with interference-fitted planet pins, improve alignments and load-sharing characteristics. A semi-integrated planet bearing design also increases capacity and eliminates outer race fretting. Romax Technology, with Powertrain Engineers and the Timken Company (Timken), completed the redesign. Timken manufactured and instrumented the planet gears and bearings. Brad Foote Gearing manufactured the other gearing and assembled the gearbox.},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = 2017,
month = 9
}

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  • The planetary load sharing characteristics of wind turbine gearboxes supported by cylindrical roller bearings (CRBs) and preloaded tapered roller bearings (TRBs) when subjected to rotor moments are compared in this work. Planetary bearing loads were measured in field-representative dynamometer tests and compared to loads predicted by finite-element models. Load sharing was significantly improved with preloaded TRBs. In pure torque conditions, the upwind planet bearing loads in the gearbox with preloaded TRBs were a maximum of 1.14 compared to 1.47 in the gearbox with CRBs. Consequently, the predicted fatigue life of the complete set of planetary bearings for the gearbox withmore » preloaded TRBs is 3.5 times greater than that of the gearbox with CRBs.« less
  • This work compares the planetary load-sharing characteristics of wind turbine gearboxes supported by cylindrical roller bearings (CRBs) and preloaded tapered roller bearings (TRBs) when subjected to rotor moments. Planetary bearing loads were measured in field-representative dynamometer tests and compared to loads predicted by finite-element models. Preloaded TRBs significantly improved load sharing. In pure torque conditions, the upwind planet bearing load in the gearbox with preloaded TRBs was only 14% more than the assumed load compared to 47% more for the gearbox with CRBs. Consequently, the predicted fatigue life of the complete set of planetary bearings for the gearbox with preloadedmore » TRBs is 3.5 times greater than that of the gearbox with CRBs.« less
  • This computational work investigates planetary gear load sharing of three-mount suspension wind turbine gearboxes. A three dimensional multibody dynamic model is established, including gravity, bending moments, fluctuating mesh stiffness, nonlinear tooth contact, and bearing clearance. A flexible main shaft, planetary carrier, housing, and gear shafts are modeled using reduced degrees-of-freedom through modal compensation. This drivetrain model is validated against the experimental data of Gearbox Reliability Collaborative for gearbox internal loads. Planet load sharing is a combined effect of gravity, bending moment, bearing clearance, and input torque. Influences of each of these parameters and their combined effects on the resulting planetmore » load sharing are investigated. Bending moments and gravity induce fundamental excitations in the rotating carrier frame, which can increase gearbox internal loads and disturb load sharing. Clearance in carrier bearings reduces the bearing load carrying capacity and thus the bending moment from the rotor can be transmitted into gear meshes. With bearing clearance, the bending moment can cause tooth micropitting and can induce planet bearing fatigue, leading to reduced gearbox life. Planet bearings are susceptible to skidding at low input torque.« less
  • Bearing behavior is an important factor for wind turbine drivetrain reliability. Extreme loads and dynamic excitations pose challenges to the bearing design and therefore its performance. Excessive skidding of the bearing rollers should be avoided because it can cause scuffing failures. Excitations coming from wind and the electricity grid can subject the drivetrain to fluctuating torque and nontorque loads. Wind-induced excitations have been investigated predominantly in literature. However, modern wind turbines are subjected more and more to grid-induced loads because of stricter electricity grid regulations. For example, during fault-ride-through events, turbines are required to stay connected for a longer periodmore » of time during the grid failure. This work investigates the influence of electrically induced excitations on the skidding behaviour of the tapered roller bearings on the high-speed stage of a wind turbine gearbox. This skidding behaviour during dynamic events is described as a potential bearing failure initiator by many researchers; however, only limited full-scale dynamic testing is documented. Therefore, a dedicated gridloss-type event is defined in the paper and conducted in a dynamometer test on a full-scale wind turbine nacelle. During the event, a complete electricity grid failure is simulated while the turbine is at rated speed and predefined torque levels. Particular focus is on the characterization of the high-speed shaft tapered roller bearing slip behavior. Strain-gauge bridges in grooves along the circumference of the outer ring are used to characterize the bearing load zone in detail. It is shown that during the torque reversals of the transient event, roller slip can be induced. This indicates the potential of the applied load case to go beyond the preload of the tapered roller bearing. Furthermore, the relation between the applied torque and skidding level is studied.« less