Customer Problem: A wind turbine owner experienced several gearbox failures at a single project. Multiple components had failed in each gearbox, and the owner did not know which failures were primary and which were secondary. The customer also did not know how many more failures to expect, and what steps could be taken to reduce the rate of gearbox failures in the future. The customer approached RBB Engineering to perform a gearbox failure analysis and to create a gearbox reliability forecast for their wind turbine project.

Our Approach: RBB Engineering performed a teardown inspection of the failed gearbox, carefully analyzing the condition of every component. By using expertise gained in the performance of dozens of wind turbine gearbox failure analysis projects and our extensive knowledge of gear and bearing failure modes, we were able to determine which component was responsible for the primary failure of the gearbox and which components were collateral damage. Armed with this information, we created reliability models of the gearbox with projections of expected rates of failure for baseline operating conditions and for those cases where loads reduction measures were implemented.

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ENGINEER EXAMINING FAILED GEARBOX

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FAILED GEAR IN WIND TURBINE GEARBOX

Outcome and Benefit to Customer: The information in the gearbox failure analysis report provided the customer certainty about which component was responsible for the gearbox failure, and clear direction on how to proceed. The reliability projections gave the customer insight into the future reliability of their gearboxes, along with several load mitigation approaches they could take to improve the reliability of the gearboxes. The customer also learned about the available steps that could be taken to improve the reliability of the rebuilt gearboxes.

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