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No advantage in dropping gearbox

Your article "The role of bearings in gearbox failure (Windpower Monthly, November 2005) was excellent, and the letters in response very interesting. I would go further than Dr Kaiser (Letters, December 2005). I see only disadvantages with the gearless turbine, except for those under about 500 kW. There is no way to reduce tower top weight, or to eliminate the power electronics, and these are not the only problems.

Your article "The role of bearings in gearbox failure (Windpower Monthly, November 2005) was excellent, and the letters in response very interesting. I would go further than Dr Kaiser (Letters, December 2005). I see only disadvantages with the gearless turbine, except for those under about 500 kW. There is no way to reduce tower top weight, or to eliminate the power electronics, and these are not the only problems.

I have also read the articles in your sister publication, WindStats Newsletter, "Gearbox design for wind turbines improving but still faces challenges," and "Gearbox drive train alternatives may solve limitations," the latter especially good, and not just because my name was mentioned. To me, these articles alone are worth the price of the subscription. I haven't seen any other report on the concurrence that bearing misalignment is the primary cause of wind turbine gearbox failures. This is obviously a crucial discovery.

On the problem of cooperation in the gear industry, here is what an expert with long term experience in the industry wrote in a private mail in November 2004: "With regard to wind turbine articles I suspect most folks won't want to do their dirty laundry in public. It is very difficult for American engineers to obtain management permission to publish any sort of case history on a specific project."

AAGMA 6006 is an important standard, but the industry is fixated on current gearbox arrangements. The multi-branch parallel shaft design is not even mentioned in this standard, but I believe (know, actually, but I need a few $million more to prove it to everyone's satisfaction) that it will make all others obsolete.

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