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Applications and How-Tos

Automate wind turbine applications with KEB

Jonathan Bullick | May 25th, 2016

Wind energy production is rapidly on the rise both in North America and globally. By 2020, the United States hopes to see 10% of its energy generated by wind power. Wind power also makes financial sense. The Renewable Energy/Production Tax Credit, which allows an income tax credit of 2.3 cents/kilowatt-hour, has recently been expanded through Dec 31, 2019.


For nearly fifteen years KEB has been producing pitch inverter systems for the wind market. Along with our latest automation products we can help you control and automate wind turbine applications. Here’s an overview of what KEB has to offer our wind turbine customers.


KEB’s P6 is a culmination of decades of drive and turbine control experience


P6 Pitch Drive and System

The P6 Wind Pitch Inverter is designed specifically for the unique requirements of wind turbine applications. Those familiar with our F5 Inverter will recognize some of the features, like the ability to control induction and synchronous motors, speed and position control with adjustable torque limit, flexible communication options, and vibration resistance. The P6 adds important monitoring features like power failure detection, charging and monitoring of ultracapacitors and other energy stores, and automatic change-over to encoderless emergency operation in case of encoder failure.


To aid in the set up and installation of wind turbine control, KEB has created a complete control offering. The control contains multiple function blocks to help with integration, so engineers can use the drive with existing programmed wind libraries. The P6 inverter system takes advantage of these function blocks so you have a complete panel solution with integrated connectors for fast wiring. The KEB control cabinets can have optional ultracapacitors or batteries for backup power. Remote connection is also possible for diagnostics or program adjustments.


Simply pick the KEB components you need and your drive system will be ready to install.
Simply pick the KEB components you need and your drive system will be ready to install. (Click to enlarge.)


Yaw Systems

In addition to pitch systems KEB also offers yaw systems for optimal rotor positioning. Our yaw system includes motion control, motor-brake combinations and all the necessary encoder technology. The multi-drive system offers further advantages with load sharing across several drives, including emergency operation in case of failure of individual drives, backlash compensation, and redundant encoder systems.


Servo motors for wind turbine applicationsMotors and Brakes


Motors for pitch and yaw systems need to be efficient and reliable in harsh weather conditions. For dynamic control with full torque at zero speed we offer servo motor pitch/yaw systems suitable for up to 10MW turbines. The motors are vibration resistant, HCV/CCV resistant with a wide temperature range (Class F)1 and IP65 protection suitable for offshore operation as well as corrosion protection according to DIN EN ISO 12944-5 C4M2.


1Up to 155°C
2C4≙ class/M.5 up to 15 years


Our popular spring-set brakes are a great choice for wind energy applications. With the same protection ratings as the motors and extreme climate versions available the brake can stand up to the demands of the environment. However, the biggest benefit of of the Combistop brake is the power-off failsafe braking which is needed for safe positioning of the blades when in a stopped position. Without failsafe braking extremely dangerous scenarios can arise, as seen in this video when a turbine with faulty brakes collapsed.


Automate Wind Turbine Applications

The KEB pitch system includes space for PLC integration, which can purchased from our library of automation products. In a previous post we discussed using our industrial VPN router in wastewater applications, and much of that holds true in wind energy applications as well. Security and remote monitoring via WAN/LAN or mobile network make it easy to keep an eye on your systems without having to go into the field. With the addition of our COMBIVIS Connect software it’s an ideal way to manage your turbines while saving both time and money on expensive maintenance visits.


As with wastewater, wind turbine installations are often in places that are difficult and frequently expensive to get to. With KEB’s –K version of the C6 router you also get a 4G GSM cellular modem. The cellular version can be used with any SIM card and has a variety of antenna configurations possible.


Industrial router antenna


If you’d like to hear more about our specialty wind turbine automation products, contact KEB America application engineer or fill out the form below

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