Citing the need for increased reliability in wind turbines, drivetrain design provider Romax Technology has been granted a U.K. patent for a twin offset gear planet carrier.
According to Romax, because of the drive for smaller, lighter gearboxes and higher power turbines, the pressures on gearbox design are increasing dramatically. If the components in a gearbox flex in an uncontrolled way, they can be damaged. Industrial gearboxes traditionally solved this problem by being large and heavy, but this is not an option in wind turbines.
The new design mounts planet gears on either side of a central carrier but spaces them alternatively around the circumference. This allows the loads from each planet to be carried independently – similar to an automobile's independent suspension – which gives the designer greater control and allows load sharing to be improved, while enabling better compensation for manufacturing tolerances.