Romax Technology is one of the world’s largest gearbox designers and providers of software and services for predictive maintenance. It will be supporting the Eurus Energy America (EEA) wind farm projects at Combine Hills II in Oregon and Bull Creek Wind in Texas, carrying out a thorough design upgrade and supporting remanufacturing of the units.
EEA is engaged in a proactive programme to minimise long-term operations & maintenance (O&A) costs and is expecting to overhaul more than 200 wind turbine gearboxes over a period of approximately 15 years. The aim is to dramatically reduce the risk of turbine failure and improve the lifecycle of the existing gearboxes in the post-OEM warranty period. To this end, Romax will undertake a full bearing analysis, selection, assembly and gearbox redesign concept assessment, complete with a detailed design and CAD analysis using RomaxWIND software and other packages. The company will also provide manufacturing and test support, thereby improving the system life and reliability of turbine gearboxes.
In addition to re-engineering the wind turbine gearbox design, the Romax InSight division has signed a five-year service agreement to deliver site engineering and predictive maintenance support at both wind farms. As part of this, Romax will provide recommendations on the serviceability of components for all gearboxes at both projects, including recommendations on refurbishments. The company will be carrying out visits to review ongoing processes and assist with process improvements, vibration measurement and confirmation of gearbox quality of installation, as well as damage diagnosis.
Other services will include the provision of SCADA health assessments, grease and oil monitoring support, and general consulting on drivetrain engineering and reliably issues. These projects represent a significant commitment by EEA to maximising the lifespan of its wind turbines.
“It’s imperative that we ensure drivetrain efficiency, reliability and robustness to optimise the lifecycle of our wind turbines” said Joe Stevens, EEA Vice President of Operations and Asset Management. “The end of warranty with our OEM was the ideal time to overhaul the turbines across two of our most important projects. The agreement with Romax enables us to pro-actively achieve such optimisation with a high degree of confidence that our fleets will be able to continue operating in these challenging wind environments for years to come.”
Dr. Ashley Crowther, Global VP of the Romax InSight Division added that the project with EEA represents a significant investment for both parties as it is one of the largest ever aftermarket gearbox replacement projects ever undertaken in the US wind industry. Growing investment in wind technology means organisations are placing a greater emphasis on maintenance.
At present, 75 per cent of wind farm cost, both offshore and onshore, is tied to O&M. This means that wind farm operators need complete confidence in the technology, components and systems that are currently in place. The project and added service agreement provided by Romax is aiming to restore this level of assurance, thereby helping EEA to remain one of the leading wind energy providers in the US.