QMT News: February 2012
Editor’s comment: Gearing up for wind power

One of the images that stays in my mind just before Christmas last year was that of a flaming gearbox on a windmill. Wind power generation is big news as we try to develop alternative green sources of renewable energy. But the TV images of a fiercely blazing windmill  out at sea was a startling reminder that these large structures are vulnerable to breakdown. Interestingly, it didn’t seem to be the composite blades that were burning but the huge gearbox with an intensity that was fierce. (Just what exactly was causing such intensity? )

So it is a matter of great interest that the gearboxes,  in particular, are designed and manufactured to perform reliably over the longest period of time, typically 20 years. Also that  economic ways of repair are developed.And it is here that the metrology of gears can play its part.

In this month’s QMT, we look at how the Bremen Institute for Metrology, Automation and Quality Science (BIMAQ) at the University of Bremen are researching how to develop ways of efficiently repairing gears for wind energy systems  The gears themselves measure up to 3m in diameter and require a very precise, large CMM to reverse engineer. Quite a challenge.   Enjoy your read.

Brendan Coyne
Editor QMT
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