Safe Wind Turbine Operation
Starts With Lubrication
For wind turbine operators, the greatest safety risks occur during servicing
and maintenance. To conduct even the
most basic equipment servicing, maintenance personnel must climb towers
up to 400-ft. high, sometimes working
on top of nacelles.
Therefore, any opportunity to
reduce human-machine interaction
(HMI), can help enhance safety by
reducing overall risk.
Wind turbine components operate under severe conditions, including heavy loads, vibration and varying
speeds. To ensure the best possible equipment protection, operators
should always use high performance,
synthetic lubricants specifically formulated for these conditions.
Synthetic lubricants possess viscosity indexes that allow them to remain
more stable and continue to provide
sufficient protection against met-al-to-metal contact when exposed to
extreme ranges of temperatures. Synthetic lubricants also include additives that can reduce deposit formation
caused by oxidation, helping extend oil
and component life.
As a result of these enhanced performance benefits, synthetic lubricants can extend service intervals
from 24 months to a period of 5 to 7
years when converting from mineral-based oils.
Operators should look for synthetic
lubricants engineered with a balanced
formulation — a mix of high quality
base oils with robust additives.
To help further minimize HMIs,
operators should optimize how often
they service equipment and that
means understanding how the equipment is performing.
Used oil analysis is a fundamental lubrication service that helps operators understand real-time lubricant
and equipment performance as well
as identify potential pain points. Most
importantly, these services, which
lubricant suppliers can provide, can
help teams identify high-level trends,
allowing them to tailor maintenance
programs to prevent downtime.
Lubricant suppliers are good partners. For example, they can help analyze equipment operating conditions,
specifications, and OEM recommendations to best identify the right product mix for equipment, namely which
greases and oils should be used.
Operators can also work with a
supplier’s team of field engineers to
identify and execute technical services — such as used oil analysis or gear
oil flushing services. Further, suppliers can provide training to help
ensure the staff is knowledgeable and
informed on the latest lubrication
best practices. ◑