VIBRATION FREE CENTADISC And SPIRAL BEVEL GEARS USED in Wind Power
Traditional mechanical power transmissions integrated into turnkey wind power, tidal and solar power systems
Global warming, climate change, sustainability and soaring energy costs are very much front of mind and Yorkshire transmissions manufacturer, Centa Transmissions, is already creating opportunities in this important and fast-growing market.
The company is presently working with various scientific, marine, manufacturing and university partners in the UK, Western Europe and Scandinavia, producing systems that generate electricity from the natural power of the sea. This production of energy from the tides is one of Centa’s active projects and just one element of their Tidal and Wave Portfolio.
Centa applications have helped to create an underwater tidal power generation plant that combines many of their products in its design. Planetary gearboxes, Cyclo precision gears and special bevel gearboxes combine with electro-magnetic clutches, electrically insulating CENTALINK shafts, powerful SIBRE disc brakes, specially designed ‘Centa Freewheels’ and electromagnetic clutches, to create a truly bespoke solution. Centa’s strength is in the integration of innovative, high performance products that, says Centa’s gears division manager, Michael Sykes, “Means that we start with the initial design and then integrate the most suitable Centa products until we arrive at the optimum solution”. The Freewheels are a new Centa innovation that stop the plant from reversing its rotation as the tides change direction and all this innovative technology is translated from several thousand successful wind turbine applications.
As well as wave technology, Centa is also a force in wind power. CENTADISC-C, a very strong yet lightweight composite shaft that is predominantly used in ships and boats, has been employed in wind turbines. This is normally employed to connect the turbine speed increasing gearbox and the generator, but can also be installed between the turbine blade nacelle and the speed increasing gearbox.
Special 3-way spiral bevel gears are used for pitch actuation, which ensures that the turbines point into the wind at all times for maximum benefit. A similar gear combination is also used in wave power to ensure that the plant is maximising tidal direction, ebb and flow. Additionally, Centa’s SIBRE disc brakes are used extensively on wind turbine applications.
The CENTADISC-C is mainly used in applications that demand long span shaft drives with reliable, bearing free, low maintenance operation. However, it has also been successfully used in deep well water extraction and has proved to be a highly versatile solution to any substantial drive problem.
More and more design problems have been solved through the ingenious integration of numerous Centa products. Their flexible couplings handle simultaneous combinations of angular and radial misalignment and axial ‘end float’, whilst absorbing high levels of torsional stress, resulting from driving unit vibration or momentary shock loads; to increase drive performance and reduce maintenance costs and plant downtime. Lightweight carbon fibre driveshafts are regularly specified in a variety of markets, allowing long span drive configurations to give up to 70% weight saving over conventional metal shafts and reducing the need for intermediate support bearings.
One further example where Centa has developed an environmentally-friendly ‘green’ solution is in public transport. Here, Centa has worked with various suppliers to devise independent hybrid drives that enable buses to switch from diesel engine to non polluting electric motors when moving within a city centre environment.
As testimony to Centa’s success, several million Centa couplings are currently in use worldwide in industrial plant, generators, pumps, compressors, marine propulsion, rail traction, construction machinery and mechanical handling, all manufactured under ISO9001 and meeting the rigorous requirements of international classification societies.
What this all means for the design engineer is that Centa, a market leader in mechanical power transmission innovation, can integrate a wide array of products to solve the most complex engineering problem.
For more information about how Centa can solve your renewable energy needs, call now or email the Centa technical team.
Photograph by kind permission of Burbo Bank Windfarm, Liverpool Bay, GB.