On 15 July 2013, the gearbox of an 11-year-old wind turbine failed while it was running. The High Speed Shaft (HSS) bearings were determined to be the source of the problem – especially HSS‑B and ‑C which are its two downwind bearings, nearest the generator. This blog briefly presents the history of the failed high speed bearings, correlates these data, and briefly discusses likely causes of this failure. A more complete white paper is also available. It includes oil particle analyses, borescope inspections, vibration analyses, SCADA data, and photographs of them which were taken after they were removed.
Doug Viner is a born geek, as was poignantly clear to his early friends and classmates. He holds a Masters of Engineering degree in mechanical engineering, specializing in vibration of rotating machinery. For 15 years, he worked at a U.S. Navy lab, doing vibro-acoustic acquisition & analysis work and, later, designing vibration acquisition equipment to aid this effort. Following a cross-country move, he refocused his talents in the wind industry where he is now the “vibrations geek” for UpWind Solutions. He takes strange joy in explaining to the rest of us (in understandable lingo) the practical effects of complicated mechanisms, and in helping owners make intelligent decisions about their valuable machinery. In his spare time, he enjoys caving, hiking, photography, and exploring the wilds of Southern Oregon.