Device for advance warning -- Gear box monitoring

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A monitoring device to spot first signs of gear box damage has been developed by Flender Service, a subsidiary of gear box manufacturer Flender. The GearController, a mobile device, is being marketed at a price of DEM 8000-25,000, depending on the number ordered and chosen sophistication of the instrument. Potential customers are wind turbine operators and wind turbine servicing companies, says Klaus Weibezahn of Flender Service. Gear box condition monitoring will be a must for offshore turbines, adds Flender.

"The device has A4 [letter paper] dimensions, weighs about two and a half kilograms and is extremely easy to use," he says. It works by taking regular measurements using two sensors applied to the outside of the gear box. By tracking any changes in the data recorded by the sensors the operator gains advanced warning of possible damage. The data can also be evaluated by Flender Service for or a fee.

Gear box monitoring should normally take place about every six months, though should be more frequent if abnormalities are revealed, Weibezahn says. Flender Service has developed a similar device for permanent installation on the gear box. It can regularly transmit data by modem to the company headquarters in Herne, allowing Flender Service to carry out remote monitoring for wind turbine owners.

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