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Market-leading service solutions for onshore wind turbine braking systems

09th November 2021

Large onshore wind turbines rely on yaw brakes to keep their blades facing into the wind. Constituting a large disc and a multitude of callipers, it is important that this system is properly maintained. Maintenance is challenging, with personnel required to work with heavy equipment. Altra Renewables has taken this challenge on with a suite of market-leading service solutions – developed by Svendborg Brakes – that increase the speed and ease of maintenance for wind turbine yaw brakes.

The Yaw Brake Lifting and Installation Tool

As a friction braking application, all yaw brakes require maintenance to ensure optimum operation. This presents the challenge of handling callipers that can weigh up to 200 kg in sometimes cramped and difficult working conditions. A large wind turbine can feature up to twenty yaw brakes as part of its system. Handling this quantity and weight of equipment places strain on maintenance personnel.

The patented Yaw Brake Lifting and Installation Tool greatly streamlines yaw brake maintenance, allowing brakes to be serviced with increased speed. Brakes can be easily removed from their mounting positions and swiftly lowered for maintenance work, with reassembled brakes then reattached to the tool and raised for simplified installation. The tool greatly increases the speed of the process while reducing strain on maintenance personnel. This has a happy consequence of promoting turbine uptime too.

Ease of use is further enhanced by some innate features. Weighing in at only 40 kg, the tool is easy to raise into position or transport. Additionally, it can be specified to integrate with turbines of varying size, so that brake maintenance is optimised for the needs of individual installations.

The Disc Resurfacing Tool

A key component of a yaw braking system is the large brake disc. As the turbine turns to face the wind, the discs suffer from wear over prolonged periods. Lack of maintenance or incorrect fitment of pads can sometimes lead to the surface of the disc becoming damaged.

Traditionally, these discs have been hard to service. Accessing them usually required the disassembly of the sizable turbine nacelle. This is labour intensive and requires the extensive use of large cranes.

Altra Renewables has a more straightforward solution. The Disc Resurfacing Tool enables yaw brake discs to be resurfaced uptower. Featuring a milling machine, the tool can be fitted directly onto the yaw brake mounting position. Compact and lightweight, it can operate within the confines of the nacelle, eliminating the need for a complex disassembly. The milling machines surfaces the disc, removing imperfections and returning it to good condition.

By eliminating the need for nacelle disassembly, the Disc Resurfacing Tool greatly reduces repair times and overall cost. Furthermore, turbine uptime is increased, ensuring more productive power generation.

The Groove Tool

Glazing is another challenge for onshore wind turbines. Dirt, rust and moisture collects on the disc when it is not in use, and is then collected by the brake pad when normal operation recommences. Braking forces press this debris hard into the pad, resulting in glazing. This produces excessive noise during operation and compromises braking performance.

Removing this glazing can be difficult, with some maintenance professionals resorting to full brake disassembly and grinding the pads down with an angle grinder. This is an incredibly time-consuming job, increasing downtime on the turbine. Another expensive alternative is to replace the pads entirely, but with the disc already contaminated with detritus, this is not a panacea.

The Groove Tool from Altra Renewables offers a permanent solution to the glazing phenomenon. The tool cuts grooves in the yaw brake disc, which slices glazing from the pads as the turbine rotates. An in-built brush sweeps away debris from the grooves, enabling self-cleaning.

To ensure maximum effectiveness, Altra Renewables selects the optimal number of grooves, groove position, shape and angle, ensuring an optimum anti-glazing solution for all turbines. The result is a maintenance procedure that is much less costly and lengthy.

The 24/7 service app

Innovative service solutions are best when deployed at the optimum time. To ensure this, Altra Renewables offer its customers access to the Svendborg Brakes Service App for iOS and Android, which provides free technical support 24/7. End users can contact onshore wind turbine yaw braking experts at any time via a dedicated technical hotline or email, gaining access to guidance or information fast. The app aims to greatly reduce downtime, with all purchasers of Svendborg Brakes solutions eligible for the free service. The app can be downloaded on the Google Play Store or Apple App Store.


Image 1: Large onshore wind turbines rely on yaw brakes to keep their blades facing into the wind. (Image Source: AdobeStock_147397787)

Image 2: The Yaw Brake Lifting and Installation Tool is patented solution that enables the easy interchange of yaw brakes in-situ.

Image 3: The portable Disc Resurfacing Tool enables uptower operation to be carried out on site with increased speed while not compromising the refurbishment.

Image 4: The Groove Tool reduces yaw brake noise, by cutting grooves in the yaw brake disc, which acts like a razor as the turbine moves to meet the wind, cutting detritus from the brake pad.

Image 5: Altra Renewables offer its customers access to the Svendborg Brakes Service App for iOS and Android, which provides free technical support 24/7.

Since 1989, Svendborg Brakes has been recognised as a leading global expert in intelligent braking solutions for industrial applications. Extensive application knowledge, innovative design, fast prototyping and exhaustive testing ensure that customers get the most technically advanced, most durable and safest braking systems to meet their specific requirements.

Svendborg Brakes offers a wide range of highly engineered products including hydraulic brakes and power units, thruster brakes, soft braking controls and couplings. Svendborg Brakes braking solutions are hard at work in key markets including renewable energy, mining, hydropower, cranes and oil & gas, mining, and marine & offshore on applications such as wind and tidal turbines, overland conveyors, propulsion systems, deck equipment, hoists, drawworks, elevators & escalators and dam turbines.

Editorial Contact: Philip Howe
Tel: +44 (0)1905 917477
Address: Progress House, Midland Road, Worcester, Worcestershire, WR5 1AQ, United Kingdom

Reader Contact:
Svendborg Brakes: Britt Lightbody
Tel: +45 63 255 477