Test rig being developed by R&D Test Systems for ZF Wind Power

Feb. 27, 2023
Motor manufacturer WEG will supply two drive motors for what it says is "the world’s most powerful test rig."
Offshore staff

DULUTH, Georgia  Motor manufacturer WEG will supply two drive motors for what it says is "the world’s most powerful test rig."

This test rig is being developed by R&D Test Systems, a Danish wind turbine test specialist that develops projects and validates new technology with turnkey test systems.

With two 30-MW motors from WEG, the test rig will be the world’s most powerful powertrain and gearbox test bench and at 60 m long will also be the largest, according to the manufacturer.

ZF Wind Power is the final user of this test rig. This 30-MW powertrain and gearbox test bench will be housed in ZF Wind Powers’s Test and Prototype Center in Lommel, Belgium. The test rig is capable of simulating the multiplicity of wind loads that a nacelle powertrain might experience in its lifetime, helping to improve product reliability and shorten time to market, WEG said.

The test rig sees two nacelle components, for example two powertrains or two gearboxes, tested simultaneously. The two 30-MW motors are positioned on each end of the nacelle components under test, with an additional load unit located between the two components that simulates wind loads comparable to real-world conditions. Together, the motors and load unit can stimulate harsh wind loads as well as the effect of wind coming from different directions.

The two motors from WEG will be delivered in October 2023, and the system will ultimately be delivered to ZF Wind Power in 2024.

WEG’s motors will be a key component of the test rig. WEG said the test rig will provide a reliable platform to test and validate wind turbine technology. 

Ralf Nieschler, key account manager with R&D Test Systems, “The wind loads and directions can vary greatly, and each change creates loading on the nacelle powertrain. This new test rig must be much more powerful than the powertrain it tests, providing proof that the next generation of offshore turbines are capable of operating reliably in extreme offshore conditions over the defined lifetime. The force of gusts of wind can push the blade around. This twisting and bending of the powertrain in all possible directions in the test rig will simulate the effect of 20 years of wind conditions, in just a few months."