24 May 2011. “A class of its own” is how the World Wind Energy Association describes the Chinese wind market in its latest annual report. The Asian country has indeed been recording annual growth rates that are unattainable in the rest of the world. In 2010 alone, for example, new turbines were built with a total capacity of just under 19 gigawatts of electricity. That corresponds to half the new capacity installed worldwide. Measured in terms of total output from wind turbines, China has now risen to number one in the “International Top 10”, ahead of the USA. This overall development is also opening up new opportunities for the wind power specialists at LMT China.
It comes as no surprise to experts that 80% of the turbines installed in China are also designed and made in China. After all, according to statistics published by Danish consultancy BTM Consult, the world’s ten largest wind turbine manufacturers include four Chinese companies. Furthermore, it is a declared government goal that other wind power enterprises should become “national champions” producing installations whose quality is competitive on the world market. China long ago began focusing attention on the construction of wind turbines as a major industry of the future. Many manufacturers believe they have favourable prospects on the world market. In the opinion of experts, however, they also need to catch up lost ground: the availability of turbines produced in China is said to be 7% lower than comparable installations, for example, in Europe. In addition, Chinese players have little experience in building the especially large turbines deployed in offshore wind farms.
Spotlight on transmission technology
Increased talk about the stability of these installations naturally means that greater attention is being paid to the components used. What is especially important in this context is the transmission technology used in wind turbines. It has to address several serious challenges. A simple comparison makes this very clear: while automotive engineers have to design a normal car engine to run between 4,000 and 6,000 operating hours, a wind turbine has to withstand 120,000 hours of extreme stress and strain caused by erratic winds. That is the equivalent of 20 years of operation. An average rotor speed of 15 rpm means the rotor shaft turns 144 million times in the course of its operating life, while the generator shaft has to go through 15 billion revolutions.
LMT tool programme for wind turbines
Gear elements naturally – and literally – play a supporting role in this. Ultimately, the more smoothly the gears mesh, the more efficiently the overall installation runs. As a gear-cutting tool specialist, LMT FETTE offers a range of tools specially tailored to meeting these requirements – for example, LMT FETTE gear hobs and gear milling cutters that enable high productivity in the manufacturing of large modulus rotating assemblies and transmission gears. Indexable inserts with innovative LMT coatings like Nanotherm can also guarantee a substantial increase in performance in the production of large gearwheels. High-quality tap drills and tap formers as well as turning tools with indexable inserts made by LMT alliance partner BOEHLERIT for the production of shafts and flanges also address customers’ needs at other stages of the manufacturing process.
Complete LMT tool range available in China
Naturally, these innovative products and the entire LMT tool range are fully available to Chinese customers. More than 120 LMT employees in nine different sales offices and other locations in China help Chinese and international wind energy companies to maintain growth – including Bosch Beijing, Siemens-Flender Tianjin, Nanjing High Speed Gear, Rothe Erde Xuzhou, DHI-DCW Dalian and Tianma Bearing. “It’s very clear that this sector is of great importance to us,” confirms Xia Xu, who is responsible for the Asia Region at LMT Tool Systems. “We offer the appropriate tool solution for each application and are benefiting significantly from LMT FETTE’s immense know-how in the wind power sector.”