A challenge to reduce the assembly times of wind power generator couplings has resulted in a halving of the time and labour taken to do the job, after Australian hydraulic fastening company Technofast Industries was asked by a US operation of a European manufacturer how it could improve its operations.
Technofast’s challenge was to develop an alternative to older methods of fastening, such as torque wrenches, to cut the assembly time of the shrink disc coupling which joins the turbine to the generator. The coupling consists of tapered components which are fixed using an array of bolts grouped together to make a friction drive capable of slipping under extreme load to protect the generator from damage.
The company’s custom-engineered solution, dubbed EziTite, is a hydraulic bolt incorporating a flexible base, which allows the unit to absorb movement of the flange being bolted during assembly.
“The operation used to take eight- to-10 hours using two crews of six-to- eight workers to do a consecutive torque-tightening routine,” says Technofast CEO John Bucknell. “The crews doing the job the old way needed to swap-out repeatedly because of the weights involved.”