In the wind industry, it is the norm that once parts are removed from a turbine, they are sent to landfill, or best-case scenario they get scrapped. Whilst scrapping is a form of recycling, the carbon footprint associated with the volume of material that comes off a turbine is high, much higher than refurbishing the same part not to mention more costly.
When we opened the Renewable Parts Refurbishment Centre, the aim was to introduce a greener supply chain and develop a circular economy within the wind industry. The decision was made to locate “bins” on-site with some of the UK’s largest energy providers to collect used parts that otherwise would have been sent to landfill or scrap. This project allowed the Refurbishment Centre to identify which parts they should to focus on developing refurbishment solutions for.
Yaw gears were one of the first parts identified for refurbishment potential due to their high failure rate, high value, and the significant volume of material that could be saved from scrap.
The Refurbishment Centre conducted a 1 year project with the University of Strathclyde’s Advanced Materials Research Laboratory & Design Manufacturing & Engineering Management teams, looking to discover root cause failure in gear sections and identify materials. The results of this research allow the Centre to perform a more detailed inspection of incoming parts and reject where appropriate. The refurbishment team now routinely replace one gear part known for its high rate of failure. The project has also given us added confidence in our warranty which already matches that of new.
Processing an increasing volume of yaw gears is allowing the team to identify emerging failure trends and refine the standard bill of materials for refurbishment. The Centre is also currently working with the University of Strathclyde’s Advanced Forming Research Centre researching methods of repairs to gear shafts which would use additive manufacture to make repairs feasible and further cut waste.
Each set of yaw gears comes with a 1-year warranty and costs less than a new counterpart.
Siemens 1.3 yaw gears Each set of 4 gears diverts 600kg of material from landfill or scrap.
Siemens 2.3 yaw gears Each set of 8 gears diverts 1.3T of material from landfill or scrap and are available for just 60% of the cost of a new set.
Funding from Renewable Parts’ core supply chain business, Zero Waste Scotland & HIE has allowed the Refurbishment Centre to invest in machinery necessary to streamline refurbishment processes, increase productivity and improve quality assurance.
The Refurbishment Centre has a stock of refurbished parts, which ensures availability and low lead times when a refurbished part is required. Refurbished parts are sold on the proviso that the customer returns a used part for refurbishment.
Used parts are collected directly from the customer site, and once delivered to Refurbishment Centre these parts are serialised for traceability, stripped-down, cleaned in our industrial parts washer and then inspected by the refurbishment team.
Each gear is then fully refurbished with new seals, bearings, O rings, main shaft nuts, nilos rings, and stage 4 planetary carriers, before being pressure tested, painted and packed in our new custom gear frames ready for delivery to the customer's site.
The Centre has been warmly welcomed by the wind industry and is now diverting approximately 3T of waste material from scrap and landfill a month and rising, with support from customers including three of the UK's largest energy suppliers, and a host of service companies.
Refurbishment isn’t solely focussed on yaw gears, the Refurbishment Centre also offers refurbishment solutions for many hydromechanical systems including motors, pumps and pitch rams. The refurbishment of electrical systems and controllers forms some of the emerging capability that is meeting market demands.
For more information about the work we do at Renewable Parts Ltd. please contact the team on 01418861220 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
With over 20 years experience in wind turbine maintenance and parts supply, we have the technical expertise to help you reduce costs whilst maximising availability levels.
Renewable Parts Ltd,
Westways Business Park
Renewable Parts Ltd,Old Ambulance Station,School Brae, Lochgilphead,Argyll, ScotlandPA31 8LE