Wind turbine gearbox manufacturer ZF Wind Power, part of German technology company ZF, on Tuesday said it is investing in a test and prototype centre that will feature a 30-MW validation test bench, said to be the most powerful in the world.
The test centre will be located in Lommel, Belgium, with the powertrain and gearbox test bench to be operational as of 2024. The test rig will be developed by Danish company R&D Test Systems, according to a separate announcement.
“To extend our portfolio, we started installing the world’s largest test rig,” said ZF Wind Power chief technology officer Martin Knops as he explained that testing is key to receiving approval from customers, insurers and certification agencies so that new designs can be launched.
“The development of ZF Wind Power’s Test & Prototype Center allows us to expand our offering from modular wind gearbox platforms to complete powertrain systems,” commented ZF Wind Power chief executive Felix Henseler.
According to the company, the new rig will secure its position in the wind market for the upcoming decades.
R&D Test System said the test rig will help improve product reliability and shorten time to market. It will allow for the simultaneous testing of two nacelle components, for example two powertrains or two gearboxes, which will deliver time savings. It will be capable of validating nacelle’s reliability for future 20-MW wind turbines.
“This new test rig must be much more powerful than the powertrain it tests, providing proof that the next generation of offshore turbines of, say, 20 MW are capable of operating reliably in extreme offshore conditions over the defined lifetime,” said Ralf Nieschler, key account manager, at R&D Test Systems.
R&D Test Systems is showing the test bench concept at WindEnergy Hamburg this week.
ZF is developing the centre with the support of the Flemish government.
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