Castrol’s aims to help wind turbine operators save millions of dollars in lost downtime

Date: February 2018

Castrol, one of the world’s leading lubricants companies , is launching an innovative cutting edge technology to help prevent main bearing failure, which could help wind turbine operators save $ millions of dollars of costs in downtime. The technology in Castrol Tribol GR SW 460-1 bonds with metal surfaces to help protect wind turbines’ critical components in tough operating conditions where temperature and humidity can’t be controlled and hard-to-reach locations lead to long re-lubrication intervals. The problem affects over 10,000 wind turbines worldwide each year and accounts for an estimated $1.8 billion costs in wind turbine downtime.1

“This innovative lubricant technology means our customers have the potential to dramatically reduce costly downtime and consequently make a positive impact on the levelized cost of energy for wind energy generation,” says Soman Dhar, Global Product Manager for Greases at Castrol.

Conventional lubricants work by smoothing microscopic imperfections in metal surfaces by coating contact points. The challenge conventional lubricants face is when the turbine is turning the lubricant coating is continually being worn away, making regular re-lubrication critical. Castrol Tribol GR SW 460-1 takes a different approach. Its Microflux-Trans Plastic Deformation technology (MFT-PD)6 bonds with metal surfaces to create a stable lubricant film which becomes even more pressure resistant with increasing load2 and is highly resistant to wear3 . Because the protective film bonds to the surfaces it is non-sacrificial, providing longer lasting protection for the main bearings5.

Mechanically stable and with excellent low-temperature performance4, Tribol GR SW 460-1 withstands high loads2, and resists shearing, wear and water ingress3. With good mobility for easy start up and good protection against fretting, Tribol GR SW 460-1 offers excellent protection and is particularly suited to the harsh conditions found in wind turbine applications.2

Castrol Tribol GR SW 460-1 is launching in China, Denmark, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Romania, France, Greece and the USA and will be launched in more countries during the coming months. For more information about Castrol Tribol GR SW 460-1, including technical and performance test data, please contact your Castrol Sales Engineer.

 

[1] Source: GWEC, Global Wind Energy Council, http://gwec.net/global-figures/wind-in-numbers/ ; and MAKE, O&M Report 2016.  Circa 341,320 wind turbines globally and main bearing failure rate of 3% means circa10,239 main bearings going wrong. At $180,000 repair cost per event the result is USD 1.84 billion total cost to the industry of main bearing failure.

[2] Source: Based on the standard lab tests for bearing: Load Carrying Capacity: The 4 Ball Test.  The result against 5 competitors’ products shows Tribol GR SW 460-1 exceeds the standard requirement of the specifications.

[3] Source: Based on the standard lab tests for bearing: Protection against Wear & Energy Efficiency/Resistance to Fretting Wear under low temperatures: FE8 Rig Test and SRV-Fretting Test.  The result against 5 competitors’ products shows Tribol GR SW 460-1 exceeds the standard requirement of the specifications.

[4] Source: Based on the standard lab tests for bearing: Low Temperature Properties: The Flow Pressure and Low Temperature Torque Test.  The result against 5 competitors’ products shows Tribol GR SW 460-1 exceeds the standard requirement of the specifications.

[5] Source: Based on the standard lab tests for bearing: High Temperature Properties: FE9 Rig Test.  The result shows Tribol GR SW 460-1 exceeds the standard requirement by 50%.  This illustrates the long lifetime of the lubricant.

[6] Source: for reference on explanations how Castrol’s PD technology works, please refer to the following articles published in 2007 and 2011.

  1. Lubricants in Wind turbines - highest requirements on development, testing and application; Dipl.-Ing. Kirsten Tschauder, OilDoc Conferencce 2011, Rosenheim, Germany
  2. Enhancing you wind turbines reliability and performance; Kirsten Tschauder; PES Magazine; March 2007