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Advanced Engineering 2021

NEC Birmingham(B40 1NT)

03/11/2021 - 04/11/2021

Join us in our 12th and most important edition to date, as we invite engineers and management from all (more)

The drive to test wind turbines

The drive to test wind turbines The new wind turbine blade testing facility at the New and Renewable Energy Centre (NaREC) in Northumberland has been specially designed to handle the new longer blades being developed for offshore turbines and can test blades up to 70 metres (and more) – the only facility in the world with this capability. Naturally, for such a cutting edge test-centre, the control system for the full amplitude static testing, which features a step-by-step bending of the blade, is equally cutting edge and comprises a series of winches under the co-ordinated control of drives from Control Techniques, the sole drives supplier at NaREC. "It is essential to load the blade uniformly to recreate the same effect as the wind," explains engineering specialist, Dave Slee. "This is achieved by fitting up to seven specified load points along the blade, to which are attached cables. These are tensioned by winches, which move through a series of set-points under the control of Unidrive SP drives. The loading of each is calculated using finite element mathematics and each drive has to reach its set-point target simultaneously, irrespective of load and the amount of cable take-up." The Unidrive SP AC drives vary in rating from 2.5kW up to 11kW and give line pull variations from 5 to 40 tonnes. A central PLC determines the loads, positions and sequences, communicating with the drives via DeviceNet. A supervisory SCADA system provides feedback data, including loads, cable take-up and feedback from strain gauges.

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