Engineering specialist R&D Test Systems has delivered what it considers to be the world’s largest, most powerful highly accelerated lifetime testing (HALT) test bench for wind turbine nacelles.
Located at the Danish test centre Lindø Offshore Renewables Centre (LORC), which focuses on wind turbine tests and validation, the new test rig can accommodate the next generation of larger 16-18 MW wind turbines and prove they are capable of operating reliably in extreme offshore conditions, R&D Test Systems.
Mounted on a 30-metre-long concrete base, it features a 25 MW drive motor – 15 metres in diameter. The system can deliver a tilt moment of 85 million Nm, allowing the test bench to simulate the harshest of wind conditions.
Exposing prototype wind turbines to pre-defined tests enables accurate assessments of reliability and can significantly shorten time to market, the company added.
”We needed to design a test bench that could expose wind turbine prototypes to the equivalent of 20 years of weather conditions in just six to eight months,” said Sascha Heinecke, sales director, R&D Test Systems.
Field testing of wind turbines, especially those for offshore use, is becoming more difficult, according to R&D Test Systems. HALT testing allows manufacturers to ensure their prototypes conform to applicable standards while offering insight into how technology will react to the conditions they will encounter out at sea.
”Fundamentally, our job is to stress the prototypes as much as possible, for example, the HALT XL can simulate a dynamic bending moment of 85 MNm – that’s the equivalent to the pulling power of 67 family cars dangling from the end of a turbine blade 100 metres long!” said Torben Lorentzen, CEO, LORC.
The HALT XL test bench utilises a stepped stress-testing approach that exposes prototype products to accelerated stresses to discover the physical limitations of a design and ascertain product reliability. The prototypes can be exposed to the stresses and strains they could reasonably be expected to endure during a 20-year lifetime in just 3 per cent of that time, R&D Test Systems said.