An operator of wind turbines suffered from multiple gearbox failures at a one of its wind farms. Many components failed in each gearbox, and the operator was unsure which failures were the primary failure, and which were collateral damage. The operator also did not know how many more gearbox failures to expect at its project, and what they could do to reduce the number of expected failures in the future. The customer asked GearboxFailure.com to perform a failure analysis investigation and to create a gearbox reliability forecast for their wind turbine project.
Our engineers directed a teardown inspection of the failed gearbox, carefully documenting the condition of every gear and bearing. Using experience gained during dozens of wind turbine gearbox failure analysis investigation, and our deep knowledge of gear and bearing failure modes, we determined which component was responsible for the primary failure of the gearbox and which components were collateral damage. With this knowledge, we next created reliability models of the gearbox and made forecasts of the expected rates of gearbox failure for standard operating conditions and for operating conditions where loads reduction steps were taken.
Result for the Customer:
The findings of our gearbox failure analysis investigation provided the operator clarity about which component was responsible for the failure of its gearboxes, and what caused the component to fail. The reliability analysis gave the operator insight into the future reliability of their gearboxes, along with several load reduction steps they could take to improve the reliability of the gearboxes. The operator also learned about what measures could be taken to improve the reliability of the repaired gearboxes.