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Generators 911
August 11, 2010 Kathie Zipp : 1 Comment

Heres what happens, or should, when a generator must visit a service center.

Kevin Alewine/Renewable Energy Services. Shermco Industries, Irving, Texas./shermco.com

11 Eventually, everything fails. Good predictive and preventative maintenance


Shares
practices help prolong reliability and plan for the inevitable. But, sooner or
later, something breaks that is beyond up-tower repair capabilities, and the
generator will have to come down. How should a quali ed repair facility be
10
selected, and what happens to the generator during reconditioning or
remanufacturing? A wind-turbine generator is a unique machine that
requires a higher level of attention than a conventional industrial motor or Enewsletter
generator. How can an owner be con dent that the appropriate repair
The Wind Team delivers up to the minute win
process is performed and documented accurately? news, wind resources, wind product innovati
and more.
When qualifying a generator service company, many factors beyond the
facility itself should be considered including experience, nancial stability,
quality programs, and technical support. While there are many electric
motor shops, only a few specialize in wind-turbine generators and
understand the requirements for that application. Long term reliable
performance, while certainly important in industrial applications, becomes
A technician tests a generator stator core.
paramount when the machine is 300 feet in the air. A well remanufactured
The condition of the steel e ects e ciency
and reliability. generator should, at a minimum, meet the performance and reliability
speci cations of the OEM machine. And when properly executed, the refab
can often outperform and out last the original. Close attention to coil design and insulation properties, mechanical
tolerances, and careful assembly can minimize the risk of another failure during the functional life of the turbine.

Preparing for removal


When disconnecting the generator in preparation for coming down-tower, any-thing unusual regarding the speci c
circumstances should be noted, including any alignment or vibration issues, obvious maintenance shortcomings,
evidence of overload or electrical imbalance, or other damage caused by outside forces such as turbine over-speed. All
attached components should be included in the shipment to the repair facility including auto greasers, cable glands,
brush assemblies, and any shaft mounted electronic equipment. All these components will be useful in assuring the
repaired machine is properly returned to service. They also may provide clues to what caused the premature failure.
This key evidence can be identi ed, studied, and considered for corrective actions. Actually, any and all information
regarding performance before and after failure, including maintenance records and eld test reports, could prove
useful in developing the root-cause failure analysis.

What happens (or should) atthe repair facility


When the generator arrives at the service facility, it should be tagged for identi cation and all pertinent data (model,
serial, customer, site, and so on) collected and entered into a management system, whether electronic or paper-based.
This is when the quality management system should be triggered to assure that all actions are properly recorded for
the nal reports. When approved by the customer, the generator should be inspected with great attention to detail.
Digital photography has proven e ective recording the initial condition as well as all major steps throughout the
process. This allows clearly answering most questions and eases documentation.

The generator should be disassembled carefully, noting all details,


especially deviations from normal conditions. The goal is to repair
what failed and provide as much insight as possible into the actual
cause of failure. All major components should be cleaned and
inspected and the stator and rotor, if applicable, should be steam
cleaned and baked dry in preparation for electrical testing. The
cooling unit, if included, should also be inspected for damage or
other obvious signs of wear. When dry, the winding insulation Upcoming Events
resistance should be measured following the recommendations of
IEEE 43. This should show whether there is actual damage to the
Commerical UAV Expo,
windings that would complicate further testing or safety
procedures. A more complete series of electrical tests, including Oct 24 to 26, 2017, Las
surge testing and high potential testing of the windings, can then
be performed to help con rm and identify a winding failure, if Vegas
present. October 24 @ 8:00 am - October 26 @ 5:00
Centrifugal forces generated during an over-speed pm
A core-loss test of the rotor, or stator laminations, or both is called
event destroyed the rotor and stator windings.
for when there is a winding failure, or mechanical damage to the
laminations, even if the windings are in good shape. The average core losses and hotspot locations should be AWEA Wind Energy
recorded. Loose wedges or blocking materials should also be noted. If there is a winding failure, the location and
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failure mode should be carefully photographed and recorded. Induction rotors are checked for bar integrity.
All mechanical ts should be measured and any obvious damage or other mechanical issues must be identi ed at this Conference
time. Also, a TIR (total indicated run-out) is strongly suggested. This series of measurements con rm the trueness of
October 25 October 26
October 25 - October 26
the shaft and rotor core. These mechanical checks help avoid unexpected complications to the repair process. The
checks also help avoid unexpected and unpleasant cost increases.
EnergyTech 2017, Oct
At this point, the process should halt and the information reviewed by shop management, who will design a clear
scope of work to complete the repairs. Materials, parts, and man hours should be estimated for customer and internal 31 to Nov 2
review. Normally, the generator will either be reconditioned or remanufactured. When the damage is so severe that October 31 - November 2
scraping the unit is the only economical option, it should be permanently removed from service and its materials
recycled in accordance with environmental regulations. Following established and proven processes controlled by
clear ISO 9001 QMS documents and instructions helps assure that proper decisions are made during the inspection Advanced Energy
procedure.
Conference 2018
The path to reconditioning.
returns to New York
Reconditioning requires cleaning of all components, repairing or replacing missing or damaged support materials and City
wedges, recoating the windings with protective resin, and reassembly and testing the generator. Repairs are rst
made to the rotor, or stator, or both where loose or missing wedges, damaged leads, or other damaged or weakened March 26, 2018 - March 28, 2018

areas identi ed during inspection. Machining the shaft, or bearing housings, or both are completed to the
manufacturers or customers speci cations. The windings are coated with an appropriate resin to protect against View All Events
moisture and environmental contaminants. Finally, collector rings and grounding rings, when applicable, are either
replaced or refurbished to assure good performance and provide the expected brush life. The rotor is then
dynamically balanced incrementally with all shaft mounted components. This balancing process minimizes the e ect Wind Talk Podcasts
of subsequent up-tower maintenance procedures. The rotor is then disassembled and readied for the generators nal
assembly.

The path to remanufacturing


A failed stator, or rotor, or both are cleaned of insulation and wire, typically by a controlled pyrolysis process in which
organic materials are burned o in a carefully controlled oven at 600 to 700F, and the remaining conductors carefully
removed. Winding data should be collected during this step, including coil construction and materials as well as layout
Windpower Editors Paul Dvorak, Nic Sharpley
and connection details. Even if the service center has experience with the same type and manufacture of generator in
Steven Bushong interview the industry's bigg
the past, collecting this data assures that the design can be con rmed, especially if the unit has been rewound
newsmakers and allow them to tell their stor
previously by another facility.

Core losses are checked again after the stator or rotor is cleaned to assure that nothing has changed during the
process. The rotor or stator or both are then rewound with new insulated coils using an appropriate insulation design
for the application. Because performance requirements for the rotor and stator di er regarding mechanical and
electrical stresses, it is common to use di erent insulation. It is critical to properly inspect and test to assure the
quality and accuracy of the winding process and the coils connection scheme. Rotor leads are replaced and properly
supported, when applicable.

Rewound components are then vacuum-pressure impregnated with a resin appropriate for their respective insulations
and cured according to the resin manufacturers suggested temperature for, at a minimum, the recommend time for
the mass of the component. Photographing the entire process is crucial to understanding and managing it. Machining,
balancing, and component assembly follows the same path as reconditioned machines.

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Assembly
At this point, reconditioned and remanu-factured components
generally are at the same point on the repair track. All mating Recent Windpower Articles
surfaces should be cleaned and inspected and all threaded holes
should be cleaned and re-tapped. All of the components should Ontarios 100-MW Belle River Wind facility
be reassembled and brushes properly seated, if applicable. now fully operational
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All initial electrical tests should be performed again, including
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core losses, to assure the process has been successful. In
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addition, the unit should be connected as a motor and run under
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no-load conditions so pertinent electrical data, vibration readings, commercial operations
Rotor coils during a winding process. Finished rotor will
be vacuum and pressure impregnated. and any other relevant information can be collected. Final reports The promises and challenges of the o sho
should be generated with all ndings and test results included wind industry
and compared to speci cations, when available. Finally, the unit should be carefully cleaned, painted, and prepared for
shipment back to the site or the customers warehouse.

A few lessons
Obviously, there are many steps and inspection points to prepare a generator for its return to service. Thorough
documentation of the repair and proper reporting of the test results are critical to having con dence for the future.
Reliability of the generator and additional costs of proper reconditioning or remanufacturing will more than be paid
for in the extended life of the machine. It is important to use processes to assure the quality of work is superior to an
individual technicians experience. Although directing and recording these processes through a strong QMS is the
responsibility of the repair companys management, the system should be understood, supported and encouraged by
the customer. ISO 9001, KPI, CTQ checks, ow charts, and failure management systems are all critical to assure that
the work is done as designed and that the performance of the complete machine will meet or exceed expectations.
Overall the goal is this: if a generator has to be brought down-tower, it should only happen once. Do the job right and
do it right the rst time. WPE

Comments

Generator Services says:


September 1, 2010 at 5:03 am

Repair and maintenance regularly by professionals is the best option for good performance of
generators.

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