Wind turbines have many components, including rotor brakes. The rotor brakes on a wind turbine turn clamping force into braking torque. Ultimately, this prevents the rotor from moving while the turbine is idling. The brakes need to be properly serviced and maintained in order to reduce the risk of damage to the turbine or injury to personnel servicing the turbine. If you’re not sure how to properly maintain your turbine’s rotor brakes, Kurz offers helpful tips to keep your turbine in operation and prevent service technicians from harm. We teamed up with leading brakes manufacturer Svendborg Brakes to break down the tips to keep in mind.
If the brake system in a turbine is working correctly, a good rule of thumb is to inspect the brake once every year, if not more. However, keep in mind that the best individual maintenance interval for your system may vary based on usage. More frequent usage naturally means that you’ll want to inspect and maintain the system more often, as parts can wear out faster and more easily with more frequent use. If the system is used frequently, you can inspect the brakes anytime the operator is in the nacelle. Along with inspecting the brakes once annually, you should maintain the rotor brakes at least once annually as well.
What Parts to Check?
Ensuring your rotor brakes are working correctly involves a visual inspection of the brake caliper assembly. This entails a close inspection of several critical parts to ensure they are working properly.
The brake pads are one component that you should check visually to ensure there is no contamination caused by liquids such as hydraulic oil. Additionally, a visual inspection should also include checking for equal wear across the surface of the brake pads. The friction material on the brake pads should also meet at least the minimum thickness required to be considered safe. Otherwise, the brake may not be able to apply full torque, causing the disc to slip. Worn brake pads can be caused by several problems, including improper brake adjustment, which causes the pads to rub against the disc during regular operations. The brake time may be too long, and there might be axial movement of the brake disc. The slide shafts may be dirty, and the pad retraction springs can also fail and cause excessive brake pad wear.
The open proving sensors, if supplied with a caliper, should also be inspected as part of the brake caliper assembly. The open proving sensors should be evaluated for problems including broken housing and frayed or disconnected wires.
The brake disc can also develop problems, which means it should be inspected at least once each year for signs of wear and tear. The disc should have a smooth and flat surface without large grooves and gouges. Additionally, the air gap should be identical on both sides between the disc and brake pads. The swept area between the brake pads shouldn’t have any corrosion or signs of contamination from liquids such as oil and grease. Lastly, the discs should have a uniform thickness, and they shouldn’t be worn too thin.
A visual inspection of the brake caliper should come next. This visual inspection should include a check for damaged lines and hoses. You should also check the caliper for signs of leaks in key areas such as the pressure ports and drain. If supplied, the drain bottle can be checked for oil, and the drain connections can be evaluated for oil leaks. The sliding rods should be free of material build-up, and the caliper should move without restrictions. Finally, check to ensure that the pad retraction springs are working properly.
At least once each year, the rotor brakes on your wind turbines should be checked for safety and proper function. Kurz will gladly guide you through the inspection process to reduce the chance of mechanical issues and safety hazards.
- Active caliper half
- Passive caliper half
- Base Plate
- Pad holder
- Bolt for the top plate
- Pad retraction spring set
- Connection bolts
- Positioning system
- Brake pads