Gear oil failures in windmills

Here are some photos of what happens when transmission failures occur in windmills. To date no gear oil has been invented to withstand the pressures produced within these transmissions. Most recently, the government gave Dow-Corning a big grant to work on it. Previously, many others had tried and failed.

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Original Post
Impressive. How often does this type of failure occur? Was it accurately predicted in the RCMA? ...the catastrophic part where the thing catches fire and falls to the ground that is.

Hopefully, there was no one sitting in the pickup when the blade came through the windshield.
Most manufacturers of wind gearboxes and the American Gear Manufacturers Association (AGMA) would likely take umbrage with the statement "To date no gear oil has been invented to withstand the pressures produced within these transmissions. Previously, many others had tried and failed." The wording of the actual grant was for Dow-Corning to develop a "lifetime" lubricant. I have been involved with these drives (1.5 MW and up) for many years both from the standpoint of rotor dynamics and gear design. The primary mode of failure in a very high percentage of cases is the failure of the planet bearings. There is some research that indicates that this is aggravated by the slight upward tilt of the unit and the loading (when shut down primarily) being carried by one row of the double row bearing. When these things are shut down and the brake is applied there is a great deal of shock loading on the planet bearings - many if caught in time show signs of false brinelling in the form of distinct bands on the outer races at exactly the spacing of the rollers. Bearing manufacturers (primarily SKF and Timken) are addressing this issue aggressively. Once the planet bearings pit and spall secondary damage progresses, often to failure of the unit. These things are often run to failure of the gearing because it is extremely expensive to bring the gearbox down to earth to perform a rebuild. The cost of the rebuild can often be more than offset by continued generation for a month or two.

John from PA
quote:
These things are often run to failure of the gearing because it is extremely expensive to bring the gearbox down to earth to perform a rebuild.


I guess the failure in the video shows everything comming back to earth! Does this save some expense for a crane to remove gearbox?

Walt
I remember when BMW tried calling their motorcycle final drive gear oil a lifetime fluid. They committed themselves and removed the drain plug from the rear end casting. Final drives were failing very often as a result.

Toyota called out that their transmission fluid should be considered "lifetime fluid" unless used under severe conditions. But they gave the usual drain plugs and dipstick "accessories".

I wish them the best of luck in developing a lifetime oil for a severe duty bearing. History is against them.
Yeah they try to find new oil instead of doing complete RCA.
I am sure all thier engineering is sound on paper, But if reality does not match expectations of engineering it means back to the drawing board.
I would think Their brake system should be providing the static load bearing force when stopped or rotational speed gets slow to point of bearing failure.
I know armchair quarterback rite?
Well engineering only realizes and legitimizes facts and variables known and/or previously discovered. We only adopt and adapt these known facts to the technology in question.
It would seem to me they need to adopt some variables from the shipping industry, as the reverse same issue has been resolved in giant ship propulsion systems back in th 50s.
Just my 2 cents.

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