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1. WO2011050805 - STATION D'ACCUEIL POUR BANC D'ESSAI

Note: Texte fondé sur des processus automatiques de reconnaissance optique de caractères. Seule la version PDF a une valeur juridique

[ EN ]

DESCRIPTION

DOCKING STATION FOR TEST STAND

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a docking module for use in cooperation with a test stand for wind turbine equipment. The invention moreover relates to a wind turbine testing system comprising a test stand and a docking module. Finally, the invention relates to a method of mounting a wind turbine component in a test stand.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Testing of components of wind turbines is a challenging and time consuming task.

Test stands for testing gearboxes, generators and other wind turbine components exist. These test stands are continuously in use and a lot of effort is given to reaching a high utilisation rate.

When a test has been finalized, the wind turbine component that has been tested, is to be exchanged by another wind turbine component for a new test. This exchange may take a relatively large amount of time, in the order of one week to several weeks. The relative large exchange time reduces the effective use of the test stand. For example, if a generator test takes two months, and the exchange before and after takes one week, about 20% of the utilisation is lost.

Hence, it would be advantageous to provide a quicker exchange of wind turbine components to be tested.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly, it may be seen as an object of the present invention to solve the above mentioned problems of the prior art with regard to very large exchange times for exchanging wind turbine components to be tested in a test stand. In particular, it may be seen as an object of the present invention to reduce the down-time of a test stand for wind turbine components due to exchange of devices to be tested.

This object and several other objects are obtained in a first aspect of the invention by providing a docking module for use in cooperation with a test stand for wind turbine equipment, said docking module comprising a first set of module connections and a second set of module connections, wherein each module connection in the first set of module connections is interconnected to a module connection in the second set of module connections, and wherein the second set of module connections is a set of standardized connections matching test stand connections.

The invention is particularly, but not exclusively, advantageous for reducing the time wherein a test stand is not operating due to exchange of devices to be tested. The docking module is provided for quick connection to the test stand in that a device to be tested may be arranged in docking station and

subsequently be connected to test bench when the docking module including the device to be tested is connected to test stand. Hereby, the time consuming connection may take place in the process of connecting the device to be tested to the docking module, i.e. without interfering with the operation of the test stand, whilst the connection of the docking module including the device to be tested is quicker due to the standardized connections.

In one embodiment, the first and/or the second set of module connections of the docking module comprises one or more of the following: mechanical

connections, electrical connections, connections for heating and/or cooling, connections for alignment, load applying means, drive means, data

connections for control and/or signal transmission. Hereby, the docking module is arranged for providing quick connection with respect to interfaces between the docking module and the test stand. It should be noted that the term

"mechanical connections" are meant to comprise fine alignment, load applying means, drive means, means for cooling and/or heating.

The docking module is arranged for accommodating a wind turbine component to be tested. The wind turbine component comprises one or more of the following: generator, gearbox, and nacelle. However, other components may be arranged for accommodation within a docking module as well.

According to a second aspect of the invention, a wind turbine testing system for testing of a wind turbine component is provided. The system comprises a test stand for testing a wind turbine component and a docking module according to the invention, wherein said test stand comprises test stand components as well as test stand connections being connectable to the connections in the second set of module connections.

This aspect of the invention is particularly, but not exclusively, advantageous in that the present invention may be implemented as a wind turbine testing system. This aspect provides similar advantages as the first aspect, viz. the possibility of reducing the time wherein a test stand is not operating due to exchange of devices to be tested.

In a preferred embodiment, the system comprises at least two docking modules. Hereby, the mounting of a device to be tested and/or the dismounting of a device which has been tested at the test stand may take place while the test stand is operating testing another device, in that the time-consuming part of the mounting and/or dismounting is now between the wind turbine

component to be tested and the docking module, whilst the connection between a docking module and the test stand is quick due to the standardized connections of the docking module.

The wind turbine component is a part of the nacelle components of a wind turbine. Thus, the component to be tested may be a gearbox, a generator, main bearing, main shaft, a wind turbine blade, the nacelle itself or a part thereof. Of course, other components are conceivable too.

According to a third aspect of the invention, a method of mounting a wind turbine component in a test stand is provided. The said method comprises the steps of mounting the wind turbine component at or within a docking module according to the invention; connecting connections of said wind turbine component to matching connections of the first set of module connections; mounting the docking module at or within the test stand; and connecting connections of the test stand connections to connections of the second set of module connections.

This aspect of the invention provides similar advantages as the first and second aspect. The first, second and third aspect of the present invention may each be combined with any of the other aspects. These and other aspects of the invention will be apparent from and elucidated with reference to the embodiments described hereinafter.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

The present invention will now be explained, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying Figures, where

Figure 1 is a schematic drawing of a system for testing of one or more wind turbine components;

Figure 2 is a schematic drawing of a docking module according to the invention;

Figure 3 is a schematic drawing of a system according to the invention for testing of a wind turbine component; and

Figure 4 is a flow-chart of a method according to the invention.

Similar reference numbers are meant to denote similar elements throughout the figures.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF AN EMBODIMENT

Figure 1 is a schematic drawing of a system 1 for testing of one or more wind turbine components. In figure 1 , a wind simulator element 8 is connected to a gearbox 6 via a connection 7. The gearbox 6 is connected to a generator 4 via a connection 5 and the generator is connected to a grid simulation system 2 via a transformer (not shown in figure 1 ) on a connection 3. The connections 3, 5, 7 may be any relevant connections between the components, such as mechanical connections, such as shafts, alignment systems, load applying means, drive means, means for cooling and/or heating, electrical connections, data connections, such as control and/or signal transmission connections, interface connections for heating and/or cooling. It should be noted, that the system 1 of figure 1 is only an example, and that the systems of the invention are not limited to systems comprising a grid simulation system 2 in that such a grid simulation system is not required for testing of all wind turbine

components. The wind simulator element 8 typically comprises a motor, a brake and optionally a gearbox. The wind simulator element 8 is arranged for simulating the loads applied to the wind turbine component to be tested at a range of different wind conditions, such as different wind speeds, gusts, turbulence, etc.

Figure 2 is a schematic drawing of a docking module 20 according to the invention. The docking module 20 comprises a docking module frame 10 as well as a first set of module connections 13, 16 and a second set of module connections 12, 17. Each module connection in the first set of module connections 13, 16 is interconnected to a module connection in the second set of module connections 12, 17.

The connections of the first set of module connections 13, 16 are arranged for being connected to a wind turbine component to be tested upon positioning of the wind turbine component to be tested within or at the docking module 20. The second set of module connections 12, 17 is a set of one or more

standardized connections matching test stand connections. Preferably, the second set of module connections 12, 17 are quick apply and release connections facilitating quick assembly of the docking module 20, including a wind component to be tested, to the relevant elements of the system 1 for testing of the wind turbine component. Thus, the time consuming part of the mounting and dismounting of a wind turbine component to be tested is the connection of the wind turbine component to the docking module, whilst the connection of the docking module to the test stand is quick due to the standardized connections.

It should be noted that the phrase "a module connection 13 in the first set of connections is interconnected to a module connection 12 in the second set of connections" is meant to denote that relevant connections exist between the module connections 12, 13 so that when a wind turbine component 4 has been mounted within the docking module 20 (see figure 3) and has been connected to the module connection 13 via a connection 14 (see figure 3), the connection of a connection 3 to the module connection 12 is arranged to provide

connection to the wind turbine component 4 via the module connections 12, 13.

It should be noted that the terms "connect" and "connection" are meant to be understood in their broadest sense so as to denote any relevant connection between the components, e.g. mechanical connections, such as shafts and alignment systems, load applying means, drive means, means for cooling and/or heating, electrical connections, data connections, such as control and/or signal transmission connections, interface connections for heating and/or cooling.

Figure 3 is a schematic drawing of a system 1 1 according to the invention for testing of a wind turbine component 4. In figure 2, a wind simulator element 8 is connected to a gearbox 6 via a shaft 7. The gearbox 6 is connected to a docking module 20 via a shaft 5 and the docking module 20 is connected to a grid simulation system 2 via a transformer (not shown in figure 3) on a connection 3. In figure 3, the docking module 20 contains a wind turbine component to be tested 4, viz. a generator 4. In figure 3, the generator 4 has been connected to a docking module 20 instead of being directly connected to the neighboring grid simulation system 2 and gearbox 6. The term "test stand" is meant to denote the elements 2, 6, 8, the relevant connections 3, 5, 7 as well as a base 30 arranged for carrying the elements 2, 4, 6, 8.

The generator 4 is connected to the grid simulation system 2 via connections 4a of the generator, via connections in the first set of connections 13 of the docking module and via interconnection of these connections to connections in the second set of connections 12 of the docking module. Moreover, appropriate shafts, wires and/or other relevant connecting means 14, 3 are used in the connection of the generator 4 to the grid simulation system. Similarly, the generator 4 is connected to the gearbox 6 via connections 4b of the generator 4, via connections in the first set of connections 16 of the docking module and via interconnection of these connections to connections in the second set of connections 17 of the docking module. Moreover, appropriate shafts, wires

and/or other relevant connecting means 15, 5 are used in the connection of the generator 4 to the gearbox. Even though Figure 3 discloses an example where the docking module 20 contains a wind turbine generator 4, it should be noted that the docking module 20 may be designed for accomodating any other appropriate wind turbine component to be tested, such as gearbox, nacelle or a nacelle part. Moreover, the docking module 20 may be arranged for

accomodating more than one wind turbine component to be tested, such as for example a combination of a gearbox 6 and a generator 4.

Preferably, the system for testing of a wind turbine component comprises at least two docking modules. Hereby, a wind turbine component to be tested may be mounted within/at a docking module, whilst the test stand is operating in testing another wind turbine component in another docking module. The mounting of the wind turbine component within/at the docking module may be timed so that the wind turbine component to be tested is mounted its docking module, when the testing of the other wind turbine component at the test stand is terminated. Hereafter, the dismounting of the docking module

accommodating the other wind turbine component and the subsequent mounting of the docking module accommodating the wind turbine component to be tested may be performed quickly, hereby minimizing the inoperative time of the test stand.

Figure 4 is a flow-chart of a method 100 according to the invention for mounting of a wind turbine component in a test stand. The method 100 starts at step 101 and continues to step 101 , wherein a wind turbine component to be tested is mounted at or within a docking module 20 according to the invention. This step 101 comprises placing the wind turbine component to be tested on or in the docking module 20. In the subsequent step 102, connections of the wind turbine component to be tested is connected to matching connections of the first set of module connections. Such matching connections comprise the relevant electrical, mechanical and data communication connections.

Subsequently, in step 103, the docking module 20 is mounted at or within the test stand and in step 104, connections in the set of the test stand connections are connected to connections of the second set of module connections. Since the second set of module connections is interconnected to the first set of set of module connections, step 104 results in connection of the wind turbine component to be tested to the test stand. The method ends in step 105.

In summary, the invention relates to a docking module for a test stand for testing of wind turbine components. The docking module has standardized electrical, mechanical and data communication connections so that the docking module comprising a wind turbine component to be tested may be connected to and disconnected from the test stand quickly. If two or more such docking modules are available, mounting of a wind turbine component to be tested inside a docking module may be performed while the test stand is operating in testing another wind turbine component. Hereby, the overall operating time of the test stand may be maximized in that the time for changing the wind turbine components to be tested is minimized.

Although the present invention has been described in connection with the specified embodiments, it is not intended to be limited to the specific form set forth herein. Rather, the scope of the present invention is limited only by the accompanying claims. In the claims, the term "comprising" does not exclude the presence of other elements or steps. Additionally, although individual features may be included in different claims, these may possibly be

advantageously combined, and the inclusion in different claims does not imply that a combination of features is not feasible and/or advantageous. In addition, singular references do not exclude a plurality. Thus, references to "a", "an", "first", "second" etc. do not preclude a plurality. Furthermore, reference signs in the claims shall not be construed as limiting the scope.