the gearbox several days prior to the oil exchange taking place to break down any heavy sludge or contaminate build up within the gearbox and associated systems. T e procedure would require some gearbox pipework disassembly then a full individual component system fl ushing of coolers, fi lter blocks and all associated pipework to ensure all contaminates are removed from each of the individual parts of the system. ROS recommends that the inline fi lter should be replaced during this fl ushing procedure to capture additional contaminates during the fl ushing. Opening of the gearbox lid will also be required to carry out internal gearbox rinsing of the surfaces with pressurised hot oil to ensure any build-up of sludge in the gearbox casing surfaces. Webbings and ledges are rinsed down into the sump for removal and pumped out via the drain point as before. Once this is completed the systems are

Oil exchange on wind turbines involves several steps

to open fully, allowing the fl ow of oil to pass through all of the gearbox auxiliary systems freely (oil coolers, fi lter blocks, etc.). T e oil is then circulated and fl ushed through the gearbox and ancillary systems with the use of the gearbox’s own internal or external gear oil pump for a set time period. Once complete, the fl ush oil is then drained from the gearbox via the sump drain point as before. Level 3 is an oil exchange with double

fl ush. T is is if moderate to high levels of contaminates are found in the oil sample or if a change of product type was taking place. T e procedure for this would be exactly the same as the Level 2, only carried out in its entirety twice as two full fl ushes. Level 4 is an oil exchange with full

invasive system fl ushing. T is is where extremely high levels of contaminates or sludge are found in the oil sample. If this is the case it may be required for a high- viscosity gear oil detergent to be put into

reassembled and lid placed back onto the gearbox in preparation for full closed system fl ushing (the same as the Level 2 fl ush) to ensure all residuals and any introduced contaminates with having the systems and lid opened are fully fl ushed out. Once the emptying of the gearbox has taken place, along with any fl ushing required, the fi lters are replaced with new units and then the gearbox and associated systems are refi lled with new clean oil to the specifi ed levels. T is is conducted via a pump and hose system, again fi lling the gearbox via a closed system to ensure the new oil pumped directly into the gearbox is contaminate free.

SUITABLE FOR HYDRAULIC SYSTEMS AS WELL T ese procedures and principles for the gear oil exchange are also applicable for the wind turbine hydraulic system and can be carried out on the turbine at the same time as the gearbox oil exchange to reduce the turbine downtime. Recently ROS has been approached by

several companies from other industrial and marine sectors to bring its oil exchange expertise to these industries for machinery and system oil exchanges, which they are now looking to develop over the coming months.

Barry Sutherland is managing director of Renewable Oil Services. xx 29

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