Continental Equips Goldwind Wind Turbines with Drive Belts
Continental was chosen by Chinese manufacturer Xinjiang Goldwind Science and Technology to equip its wind turbines with drive belts. In the unique and patented construction, the belts allow the rotor blades to be adjusted at any time without the aid of gears or hydraulics. Continental engineers used an optimal combination of 2 tried-and-tested timing belt technologies to develop the belts. Goldwind is one of the few providers on the market to use a drive without a gearbox to adjust the blades, which is becoming vital to be able to respond flexibly to changing wind strengths.
“Goldwind relies on timing belts,” said Rolf Marwede, who heads Continental’s location in Dannenberg, Germany. “There are some advantages to this. For instance, the system is less complex and therefore less prone to vibrations and disturbances at the top of the nacelle. Our belts are also extremely low-wear and durable.”
The belts provided by Continental do not require any oil for lubrication and are very low-maintenance overall and also largely corrosion-resistant. In offshore wind turbines in particular, this last point presents a major advantage over conventional metal designs that are permanently exposed to salty sea air.
The chosen belt solution is based on Continental’s Synchrodrive technology. Galvanized steel cords are integrated into the belt’s interior and coated with polyurethane, which furnishes both the teeth and the back of the belt and forms an outstanding connection with the tension member. Polyurethane is particularly abrasion-resistant.
The 2 opposing impact directions of the steel cords and their strands result in neutral running properties, making the belts extremely resilient. But what makes the belts used by Goldwind so unique is the special fabric.
“The fabric reduces wear and absorbs noise and also provides a much more stable structure for the timing belt. This enables us to significantly improve the belt’s performance yet further,” explained Mr. Marwede. “The fabric reinforces the teeth and improves run-in behavior, which in turn boosts efficiency. Ultimately, we have brought together 2 product groups to develop the ideal solution for Goldwind’s application.”
Wind is an unlimited resource. Wind turbines are considered clean, with the wind power they provide being the ideal complement to other energy sources. By the end of 2019, wind turbines with a total output of around 650 GW had been installed around the world. With installed power of well over 200 GW, China is by far the world’s largest wind market.
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