Easy-Laser in the Wind Power Industry
Flange Flatness Measurement Innovation with an eye on Safety
Easy-Laser® is one of the world’s largest suppliers of laser measurement systems to the wind power industry. The company is also an innovative leader in the development of the spin technology laser system (see E915 Flange flatness Measurement Tool) that allows the flange flatness measurement of a tower to be performed by one technician instead of two. This obviously reduces the cost (labor), the E915 is also wireless which means the flange flatness measurement can be completed in less than half the time. This is a value to the customers who need fast and accurate results, especially after corrections or re-work is done. These are just a few reasons why Easy-Laser’s flange flatness measurement tools have become an industry standard.
As we all know, the wind power industry is growing. You might say that it’s re-inventing itself with all of its own innovations. You only have to look at the size of some of the new towers. Some problems, however, are emerging with the measurement of these large tower sections for instance. A tower section with a diameter of over 4 meters represents a significant weight. This weight causes the flanges to deform when the sections are manufactured. This also makes it difficult to rely on the flange flatness measurement result – until now, that is.
With Easy-Laser®’s new unique flange measurement program, the flatness can be measured in four sections (PICTURE – below left) which are mathematically merged into a full circle. The result corresponds to the real vertical positioning of the tower section.
The new flatness measurement program not only solves the flange deformation problems, but also makes it possible to perform the complete flange flatness measurement on the ground.
This is the new safety standard for tower builders, since no climbing on ladders or skylight is required. With traditional methods the operator(s) have to work on hazardous high levels, and often more man power is needed to erect platforms, etc (PHOTO – below). The goal for this innovation was to make the process safer for the operator. It’s a nice by-product that also makes it a much more efficient process.
Evaluate directly in real 3D
Easy-Laser® flange flatness measurement tools offer a more effective way of working. You can see the result as a 3D image in the display unit immediately after measuring and evaluate the result. This can also be done directly on site without having to stop to go to a PC with separate analysis programs, which was the case previously. This makes production much more efficient. Bluetooth® detectors enable you to work wirelessly and with more freedom. And of course full documented reports are also available!
There are many other processes or applications that tower manufacturers use Easy-Laser® systems for, or for that matter, any industry that needs to measure straightness, flatness, square, parallel, etc. In other words, they are using these systems for Geometric Measurement. For instance, the flange parallelity can be measured (Image – left).
Another process that uses laser measurement systems is for the alignment of gearboxes and generators, both in production and out in the field during continuous maintenance work. Large forces are in action inside a wind turbine. The safety of the maintenance technicians is therefore of great importance. When it comes to working safety, the Easy-Laser® shaft alignment system has got several advantages that simplify the work and keep the maintenance technicians safe. With the Easy-Laser® shaft alignment system, the gearbox and generator can be aligned even if the coupling is dismounted and the brake is locked.
This way the maintenance technicians can make alignments even in bad weather conditions when the wind is stronger, but still keep safe.