200 Bespoke Cylinders for Repowered Wind Farm
A UK power company specialising in wind farms was on the verge of decommissioning a 30-year-old wind farm in coastal Wales. However, with costs increasing across the board and a growing need for sustainable power across the United Kingdom, it was decided instead to repower the turbines. For sustainability and economy, the turbines were to be repaired and maintained rather than replaced.
Due to changing wind speeds, an efficient wind turbine will have the ability to change the pitch of its blades. In this way, when it is particularly windy, the angle of the blades will be adjusted, in order to provide more torque than speed. This means that the blade still only turns at the preferred speed but geared so that it can generate more electricity.
The power company commissioned Apex hydraulics with an initial order of 50 hydraulic cylinders, required to control this change of pitch for the turbine blades.
An Apex Redesign
Apex received an initial sample of one of the cylinders for repair. As always, the repair went through a strip and assessment prior to mending and replacing worn parts. At this stage, all dimensions were measured, and Apex engineers stepped in to create a like-for-like redesign in line with the client’s vision of extending the life of the wind farm. The design involved modernising the cylinder, using more up-to-date methods, different materials and better suited seals.
The machine shop and assembly teams then took over, taking the updated design and manufacturing all 50 cylinders within four weeks, then a further 50 that were commissioned the following month.
The wind farm was based inland but in an extremely harsh, remote environment, with strong wind speeds. Therefore, specialist materials, as might be expected for offshore projects, were used as standard. The cylinders were manufactured with stainless rods and painted with offshore paint. Trunnions, clevises and all parts were custom made to meet existing mounting parameters, with top quality durable materials.
A speedy delivery
The client was pleased with the design and build time of the new cylinders and are currently installing the initial 100 into the existing turbines. There are 100 more to produce, with Apex turning each block of 50 around in under a month. The cylinders are all produced to a high standard, to withstand the harsh environment and should keep the turbines working for many more years to come.
The following products were utilised as part of this project. For more detailed information on these products, click on an image below…