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Nacelle rail transport validation project

Published on: Mar 3, 2016

Transcripts - Nacelle rail transport validation project

  • 1. Home News Newsletters Blue Link On track for a rail revolution 0 Blue Link home page Read in English Read in French On track for a rail revolution The Wind Business is looking at a new way of transporting its nacelles and hubs, as it adapts to the specifics of the North American Market The advance of Wind in the North American market is throwing up some unusual challenges for the Business, and changing the way it goes about its work. One such is nacelle and hub transport: for the first time Wind is proposing to transport nacelles and hubs by rail rather than road. The move, somewhat forced upon the Business by logistical conditions, is providing valuable experience that could be applied beyond North America – but first things first. Wind is used to using trucks for nacelle transport, but with the ECO 100 nacelle weighing some 84,000 kg, the only North American standard-sized truck appropriate is a 19-axle truck, of which there are only a few dozen available on the continent. The North American preference for moving heavy loads is by rail, and so Wind is conducting its first foray into rail transport. Using rail has a number of logistical advantages, not least of which is the possibility of moving several nacelles in one go quickly and reliably across considerable distances. Another plus is the ability to carry up to three hubs per railcar, resulting in significant transportation savings. The challenge is to make sure that the vibration of the journey does not negatively affect the performance of the nacelle and hub. To accomplish this, specialist fixtures were designed to hold the nacelles securely in place on the train cars. The rail experiment began when Wind won two projects in Canada. For Project I, nacelles and hubs are expected to be shipped to site from the Bunuel factory in Spain, and for the second, Project II, the nacelles and hubs are expected to come from the nacelle assembly plant in Amarillo, Texas US. These are considerable distances, so the economics and practicality of rail became apparent. The nacelles and hubs from Spain will be delivered to a St Lawrence River port and transported down the Great Lakes to Thunder Bay, Ontario, before transferring to rail for the onward journey to Medicine Hat. For the second project, the nacelles and hubs will leave the Amarillo factory on rail wagons as the plant has its own spur to the rail network. In preparation for the projects, the teams involved began by employing a rail specialist company to produce the fittings needed to attach the nacelles and hubs to the rail cars. Computer-aided simulations of the rail conditions and analysis of the impact of those conditions on the nacelle structure were performed by the Wind Innovation team in Barcelona. The simulation studies had shown that the structure needed to be prepared for rail transport to avoid stress points. Next came the “physical validation tests”, in other words, the nacelle and hub would need to be put on a train and the performance evaluated before and after the journey. The nacelle structure, gearbox, generator and hub were fitted with accelerometers and strain gauges. The gearbox was then inspected by a third-party entity in order to establish the base condition of the gears and bearings. The gearbox and generator were then spun in order to capture the frequency response of those components at a critical speed. With these measurements taken, it was time to put the nacelle on the tracks. Starting from the plant in Amarillo Texas, the nacelle and hub were loaded onto a rail car and transported twice round a circular route encompassing Boise City, Oklahoma; Trinidad, Colorado; and back to Amarillo, Texas – a journey of a little over 1,900 km. Related pages Downloads Page 1 of 2 10/3/2013https://online.alstom.com/News/Newsletters/BlueLink/Pages/On-track-for-a-rail-revolutio...
  • 2. Gearbox experts then inspected the gearbox and a spin test was carried out to record the frequency response changes of the gearbox and generator at the critical speeds. The data is now being examined in detail by the Innovation team in Barcelona, but as far as the gearbox goes, the final report from the gearbox inspection company confirms the suitability of rail transport. Joan Mateos- Sanchez, Engineering Manager for North America, based in Richmond, Virginia, is keen to point out that the use of rail would very much be a project-by- project decision: “In the States, there are different clearances for tunnels and bridges, so this could impact our capability to transport our nacelles by rail. So, once we get a project, we are going to need to assess the rail path in order to make sure that we won’t have any issue in terms of clearances for bridges, tunnels and all other rail paths” However, whether Wind gives the go-ahead to rail depends on the analysis of the test data. As you would expect an engineering manager to be, Joan is suitably cautious about the final result. “We will have to wait until we’ve analysed all the data. But I’m very confident. That’s my personal opinion based on what we have seen. But we have to wait until we have analysed all the information,” he concludes. Rail project team members: Kris Helling; Kharyl Stephens; Bobby Harrison; Jon Boyra Page modified by : KH Anusha -EXT Date created : 1 Oct 2013 Last update : 3 Oct 2013 SiteMap © Copyright ALSTOM 2013 Page 2 of 2 10/3/2013https://online.alstom.com/News/Newsletters/BlueLink/Pages/On-track-for-a-rail-revolutio...

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