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LOAD DATA ANALYSIS FOR WIND TURBINE GEARBOXES

Bernd Niederstucke, Andreas Anders, Peter Dalhoff, Rainer Grzybowski Germanischer Lloyd WindEnergie GmbH Johannisbollwerk 6-8, 20459 Hamburg

ABSTRACT: Gearboxes for wind turbines have to ensure highest reliability over a period of approximately 20 years, withstanding high dynamic loads. At the same time lightweight design and cost minimization are required. These demands can only be met by a thought-out design, high-quality materials, high production quality and maintenance. In order to design a reliable and lightweight gearbox it is necessary to describe the loads acting on the gearbox as exact as possible. For fatigue this can be done by using the load-duration-distribution (LDD) of the torque at the input shaft. In the following the fatigue resistance of a gearbox will be analysed using the torque-LDD. Methods of calculating the life time of gearings and bearings with a given LDD will be described. The influence of the mean wind speed on the life time of teeth and bearings will be pointed out.

1 GEARBOXES IN WIND-TURBINES A common gearbox for wind turbines is shown in figure 1. A planetary stage with 3-4 planets is followed by two spur gear stages. The output shaft has an offset from the input shaft in order to lay wiring and piping through the hollow input shaft. In the 1 2 MW class of wind turbines the gear ratio goes from about 80 to 100. In order to reduce noiseemission, all stages can be designed with helical gearing. The shafts are carried radial with spherical or cylindrical roller bearings, axial with four-point-contact ball bearings or tapered roller bearings. Output shaft 3rd stage (helical spur gear) Torque support

needed. The main advantage of the LDD is that it can easily be transferred into local stress spectra. By using the rotational speed of pinion or wheel the duration of torque levels can be transferred into a number of load cycles. The LDD are derived from the load time series of the torque of the main shaft (see fig. 2) by level distribution counting [6]: The load time series is divided into equidistant time intervals. At each time interval the level of the load time series is read and counted into the respective bin.

Input shaft Fig. 2: Level distribution counting of load time series Torque The number of countings per bin (1 to 8 in fig. 2) is a measure for the load duration in a bin. The sampling frequency should be at least ten times the highest frequency of the load time signal in order to obtain an accurate result. Information on the number of load cycles is lost. The load levels (bins) may be shown above their duration or above their accumulated duration (see fig. 3). The accumulated duration distribution is used for the further calculations.

1st stage (planetary)

2nd stage (helical spur gear)

Fig. 1: Gearbox for wind turbines (by METSO DRIVES OY) 2 LOAD DURATION DISTRIBUTION 2.1 Determination of a LDD The fatigue analysis for gearing and bearings is partly different to that of other components, e.g. a rotor hub or a rotor shaft. Especially derivation of the load spectra differs. This is due to the fact that a stress cycle for a tooth emerges with every tooth flank contact (e.g. with every revolution for a spur gear stage), whereas a stress cycle for e.g. a rotor hub occurs in correspondence with fluctuations (cycles) of its external loads. For the determination of load spectra for the gear box a load duration distribution (LDD) of the input torque is

Fig. 3: LDD as a result of level distribution counting

2.2 Description of a LDD Fig. 4 shows typical LDDs for various yearly average wind speeds, i. e. 8,5m/s, 10 m/s and 15 m/s with 20% constant turbulence according to [1] for a 80m diameter rotor.
2,5E +06

2,0E +06

8,5m/s
1,5E +06 T/Nm

15m/s 10m/s

1,0E +06

5,0E +05

with d1 = standard pitch diameter of pinion, Ti = pinion torque b = face width mn = normal module SF = required safety factor for root stress SRFF = stress reserve factor for root stress. The pinion torque is the input shaft torque divided by the gear ratio up to the stage. The Y- and K-factors take into account the form and stiffness of the teeth and their dynamic behavior . They are according to ISO 6336. In the present examination the factors are calculated with the gear program ST-plus [5]. The application factor KA is set to 1 as the dynamic loading of the gearing is embodied in the load spectrum resembled by the LDD (see [1], chapter 6). The safety factor is 1,5 according to [1].

0,0E +00 1,0E +00

1,0E +02

1,0E +04

1,0E +06

accum ulated duration/hours

T t

Fig. 4: LDDs for different yearly average wind speeds The vertical axis shows the input torque in linear scale, the horizontal axis the accumulated duration of the torque levels in logarithmic scale. The duration sums up to about 170000 hours, which equals with a life-time of 20 years. The first two LDDs (8,5 m/s and 10 m/s) are those of the GL-type-classes II and I (see [1]), the third one (15 m/s) is a theoretical one in order to bring the examined gearbox to its limits. The LDDs are derived by an aeroelastic simulation of the dynamic wind turbine behaviour. Since the wind turbine is regularly stopped by application of aerodynamic braking (pitch) the influence of these stop sequences can be neglected. Because of the logarithmic display the differences seem indistinct. For example: The accumulated duration of torque levels above the rated torque of 1200 kNm for the examined gearbox is 1,5 times higher for 10m/s and 2,5 times higher for 15m/s than for 8,5m/s. This leads to significantly higher fatigue loads on the gearing and bearings.

S/N-curve oF oH

N N Fig. 5: Transformation of LDD into local stress spectra Furthermore a S/N-curve is needed with which the stress spectra can be compared. The S/N-curve depends on the material, heat treatment, surface roughness and the size of the gearing. The examined gearbox is equipped with gears of case hardening steel for which S/N-curves with the following characteristics were applied (following [4]): Slope in the limited life region (103 to 3 106 load cycles): 8,7, slope in the long life region (3 106 to 1010 load cycles): 50. To simplify the calculation, the slope was extended beyond 1010 load cycles. After transformation of the LDD into a F/N-spectra and having determined the S/N-curve, a damage accumulation according to Palmgren-Miner-rule is carried out. This leads to a damage D. If the damage is greater 1 the gearing is liable to fail within the claimed life-span, if it is lesser 1 the gearing has reserves against fatigue failure. The stress reserve factor SRFF is varied until the damage equals 1 so that the gearing lasts until the end of the claimed life-span. The determined stress reserve factor together with the safety factor SF shows the margin of the chosen gearing against fatigue fracture at the tooth root. The transfer-function between torque T and tooth flank stress H is:
H = 2 Ti (u + 1) d12 b u K A K V K H K H ZH ZE ZB Z

3 CALCULATION PROCEDURE 3.1 Calculation of gearing durability The given LDD is transformed into the local stress spectra F/N and H/N for tooth root and flank (see fig.5). F is the root stress, H the hertzian contact stress at the tooth flanks, t the accumulated duration and N the number of load cycles. To establish the stress spectra three transfer-functions are used: F = f(T), H = f(T) and N = f(t) The transfer-function between the torque T and the root stress F according to ISO 6336, method B is as follows: 2 Ti F = YF YS Y KA KV KF KF SF SRFF d1 b m n

Z SH SRFH

with

u = gear ratio = z2/z1, positive for external gears, negative for internal gears SH = required safety factor for contact stress SRFH = stress reserve factor for contact stress Ti, d1, b same as with root stress. The Z- and K-factors are according to ISO 6336 and take into account the geometry, elasticity and dynamic behavior of the gearing. As with the root stress the application factor KA is set to 1 and the safety factor SH to 1,2 according to [1]. The S/N-curve for the contact stress is determined by the material, heat treatment, lubrication, surface roughness and circumferential velocity. As with the S/N-curve for root stress it was determined following [4] with the characteristics: Slope in the limited life region (105 to 5 107 load cycles): 13,22 Slope in the long life region (5 107 to 1010 load cycles): 32,6. To simplify the calculation, the slope was extended beyond 1010 load cycles. After calculation of the accumulated damage according to Palmgren-Miner the stress reserve factor SRF is varied until the damage equals 1 thus giving the margin of the examined gearing against pitting. The number of load cycles follows the equation N = t n p 60 with n = rounds per minute p = number of meshing per round t = duration of input-torque-levels in hours. 3.2 Calculation of bearing durability The given LDD is also used to determine the life-time of the bearings. The given input-torque-LDD is transferred into LDDs for axial load on bearing FA and radial load FR. The transferfunctions TF between torque of input shaft T and loads FA or FR depend on the geometric arrangement of bearings and meshing to each other, i. e. pitch diameter and distance of bearings. The forces are proportional to the input torque: FA = T TFA and FR = T TFR With the F/t distribution the mean axial and radial loads FA and FR are: Fp t i Fp t i Ai Ri and FR = p t t with FAi and FRi = axial and radial load level during ti, t = accumulated time, p = 3 for ball bearings and p = 10/3 for roller bearings. With the mean loads and the axial and radial factors X and Y depending on the bearing type the equivalent dynamic load P acting on the bearing is: P = X FR + Y FA The modified life span of the bearings L10ah in hours follows with FA = p C 106 L10ah = a1 a 23 P 60 n with C = basic load rating, p = 3 for ball bearings and p = 10/3 for roller bearings, n = rounds per minute, a1 = coefficient for survival probability, here set to 1 for a probability of 90 % a23 = coefficient for material and operating conditions (see [7]).
p

4 EXAMPLE The calculation procedures described above are applied on a newly designed gearbox with the following characteristics: ratio 100 rated torque 1200 kNm rated rounds per minute, slow speed shaft = 18 material of all gears: case hardening steel The LDDs are the ones shown in fig. 4. 4.1 Gearing The results for the gearing can be seen in fig. 6 and 7.
1,6 1,4 SRFF 1,2 1 0,8 8 10 12 14 Annual average wind speed (m /s) Planet W heel Sun Gear W heel Interm ed. Stage Pinion Interm ed. Stage

Fig. 6: Stress reserve factor at tooth root for different gears and wind speeds
1,3 1,2 SRFH 1,1 1 0,9 8 10 12 14 Annual average wind speed (m/s) Planet Wheel Sun Gear Wheel Intermed. Stage Pinion Intermed. Stage

Fig. 7: Stress reserve factor at tooth flank for different gears and wind speeds The stress reserve factors for tooth root and tooth flank are examined for the four gears with the highest load, i. e. planet gear, sun gear and wheel and pinion of the intermediate stage. It can be seen that all gears have sufficient reserves for the 8,5m/s-wind-class for which the gearbox is intended. For the tooth root the pinion of the intermediate stage has the least reserves followed by the planet gear. Concerning the tooth flank wheel and pinion of the intermediate stage show the least stress reserves. The influence of the wind speed on the SRF is made more clearly in table I: Taking the stress reserve at 8,5 m/s wind speed for 100% the reserve decreases to 91% at the root and to 93% at the flank for the wind

speed of 15 m/s. For being the gear with the least stress reserve, the pinion of the intermediate stage was picked out as an example Compared with the bearings, this decrease is relatively small (see table II). Annual average wind speed 8,5 m/s 10 m/s 15 m/s SRFF in % 100 95 91 SRFH in % 100 97 93

bearings react much stronger on an increase of the average wind speed than the gears. Annual Equivalent Life span in Load reserve average wind torque in %, % factor in % speed (m/s) Trated =100% 8,5 10 15 68 74 84 100 75 50 100 92 81

Tab. I: SRF in % for pinion of intermediate stage 4.2 Bearings All bearings of the gearbox show sufficient durability for the intended wind class, i. e. more than 130000 hours life-span (see fig. 8). The ones with the least life-span are the roller bearings of the planet wheel, the roller bearing directly at the torque output and the four-point-axial bearings of the intermediate and high-speed-shaft. All other bearings have significantly higher life-times.

Tab. II: Results of bearing calculation for the axial bearing of the intermediate shaft.

5 SUMMARY The aim of the present work was to show how the load duration distribution of the input torque may be used for the design of gearboxes of wind turbines. Therefore calculation procedures for gearing and bearings were described. These procedures were then applied on a real gearbox. Its durability was examined by increasing the average yearly wind speed i. e. the load set on the gearbox. This examination should be verified by a long-time survey of the gearbox in service.

3 ,5 E + 0 5 L10ah (hours) 2 ,5 E + 0 5

6 ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
1 ,5 E + 0 5 5 ,0 E + 0 4 8 10 12 14 A n n u a l a v e ra g e w in d sp e e d (m /s) P la n e t w h e e l b e a rin g In te rm e d ia te sh a ft, a x ia l b e a rin g O u tp u t sh a ft, rig h t ra d ia l b e a rin g O u tp u t sh a ft, a x ia l b e a rin g

The work described in this paper is part of the research project ELA Enhanced Life Time Analysis of Wind Turbine Structures supported by the Federal German Ministry for Economy and Technology BMWi.

7 REFERENCES [1] Germanischer Lloyd, Regulations for the Certification of Wind Energy Conversion Systems, Germanischer Lloyd, Hamburg, 1999 [2] DIN 3990, Tragfhigkeitsberechnung von Stirnrdern, Beuth Verlag, Berlin, 1987 [3] Niemann/Winter, Maschinenelemente, Bd. 2, Springer Verlag, Berlin, 1985 [4] ISO 6336, Calculation of load capacity of spur and helical gears, 1996 [5] NN., Spur gear program ST Plus, Forschungsvereinigung Antriebstechnik, Frankfurt, 1997 [6] Westermann-Friedrich, A., Zenner, H., FVAMerkblatt 0/14, Zhlverfahren zur Bildung von Kollektiven aus Zeitfunktionen, Frankfurt, 1999 [7] NN., FAG rolling bearing cataloge, FAG, Schweinfurt, 1999

Fig. 8: Modified life span of bearings for different wind speeds With the mean axial and radial forces FA and FR being proportional to the input torque T it is possible to
_

calculate an equivalent torque T : T=p Tip t i t

with Ti = torque level during ti and t = accumulated time and p = 3 for ball bearings and p = 10/3 for roller bearings. The results of the bearing calculation are shown in tab.
_

II: Column 2 shows the equivalent torque T in relation to the rated torque. Column 3 shows the life span of the axial bearing of the intermediate shaft in % and column 4 the relative load reserve. The relative load reserve is the
_

ratio of the values of the equivalent torque T towards each other with the one for 8,5 m/s wind speed set to 100%. This gives a comparable value to the stress reserve factor of the bearings: It is apparent, that the

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