How Do Thermal Spray Coatings Protect Wind Turbines?
The output of a wind turbine can be decreased 20% or more if adequate maintenance and surface protection is not utilized. Fortunately, thermal spray coatings protect wind turbines and many of the parts involved in their operation. Being such an important aspect of the world’s renewable energy, it is essential that these giants be cared for with the utmost focus on detail – down to the smallest moving part.
Particularly in Europe, wind turbines have become essential where renewable energy is concerned. It is not uncommon for these energy providers to continuously operate for 15 years or so. But the elements wear on surfaces and parts. Wear and tear will severely impact turbine generated energy over time.
Even one tiny raindrop can make a difference on a turbine’s blade. The impact that can result from the action of raindrops on a turning blade can lead to the edges of that blade (and the general surface) becoming pitted. The blade will lose efficiency due to lacking aerodynamic performance when pitting occurs. When it comes to the failure of wind turbine components, 22% is due to the blades. But this kind of turbine component failure can be headed off through the use of protective coatings.
What’s more, offshore wind turbines are even bigger than others. Bigger blades mean higher speeds. Higher speeds mean that the impact from a raindrop will occur at a higher velocity. Imagine the challenge here! Once again, protective coatings come to the rescue.
The Solution – Protective Coatings, Maintenance, and Repair
One particular aspect that is essential in the protection of wind turbine components (blades in particular) is to, before a part is assembled, specify the optimum coating solution needed. One of the individuals involved here will be a surface engineering specialist. In addition to the aforementioned coating solution, the optimum application process must be determined as well. If you determine incorrectly, from an application perspective, a coating (and even the application) can prove unworkable. Problems that can arise would be:
- The unsuitability of the coating/application for in-situ maintenance.
- It took too long to apply.
- It’s too expensive.
The blades are not the only part of wind turbine that need attention. To ensure efficient operation, protective coatings must be used, and ongoing repair must be done, on a wind turbine’s inner workings. While in-situ, slip rings and damaged bearing journals can be prepared thanks to portable, specially designed, machining and plating equipment.
With this equipment, operators can get wind turbines and their equipment back to their original specifications and tolerances. Better yet, compared to traditional repair processes, this can now be done without exorbitant removal costs and other formerly associated expenses.
Wind turbines have had an undeniably massive impact on the energy industry. And, today’s application methods of protective coatings have had an unmistakable impact on wind turbines and other machinery needing protective coatings of various types and levels.
At A&A Coatings, we understand that times are changing. The wind industry has advanced by leaps and bounds thanks to state-of-the-art equipment and heightened technology. We change right along with the times. Contact A&A Coatings today to find out what protective coatings can do for your industry, your business, your machinery, and your bottom line.