Posted on March 26, 2020 by Kurz Industrial Solutions
When it comes to the cost of operating and maintaining a wind turbine, the biggest focuses are going to normally be on the “big” things like blades, gearboxes, and generators. When those components are down, there is an immediate need to get them repaired or replaced.
However, after the big-ticket items, hoses can cause a whole lot of headaches if they are having issues. We’ve seen from many of the major wind turbine gearboxes OEMs major issues when it comes to hoses.
So, the big question I’m here to answer in this article is why do hoses matter?
There is always a huge amount of emphasis on keeping the wind industry and outside parties safe. Oil spills can be a major problem on both the inside and the outside of the turbine.
Nobody wants to deal with an oil spill on landowner land, and the environmental impact it may cause. Also, nobody wants a technician to slip on a ladder or as they are working in a nacelle.
Within the wind turbine, we hear that on average that when an oil leak occurs that there is not even a fault until ~50 gallons has spilled. That’s a lot of oil! Also, most companies don’t have internal employees who are able to clean up the oil spills. To hire a contractor, the costs we hear average to be about $10,000.
Replacement Oil Costs
When it comes to gearbox oil, what goes out must come back in. The wind oil is a major expense, because of the unique properties involved in the OEM oil manufacturer’s products. This might involve another contractor to add this oil back to your gearbox as well.
Replacement Hose Costs and Availability
One of the larger pain points is the availability of the hoses itself. From the OEMs, they have made “non-standard” fittings that are unique to the wind industry. So, there is a double whammy of the cost of continuously replacing a hose and waiting on the hose to arrive. Sometimes, the hoses can take MONTHS to come in. Which leads to
Turbine Downtime and Labor Costs
If a wind turbine is down for roughly four to six weeks because of a (relatively) inexpensive part like a gearbox hose, then what is the value of that hose to the wind turbine itself? Each power purchasing agreement is different so it’s on a site by site basis. However, the lost revenue can be detrimental and steep.
Also, if your technicians are climbing a turbine to continuously fix the same hose issue then that’s a lost opportunity to deal with other maintenance. So, our suggestion is to partner with Kurz Industrial Solutions on a better hose material with better hose availability.
We are always here to answer any questions that you have.
Sales Manager- Wind Division
This post was written by Aaron Rood