High performance gear oil protects key wind turbine components

Paul Boughton

Mobilgear SHC XMP 320 high performance gear oil is now being used to protect more than 40,000 wind turbine gearboxes worldwide, says ExxonMobil Lubricants and Specialties.  

Mobilgear SHC XMP 320 is a lubricant for gearboxes used to power wind turbines because it exceeds the performance of conventional, mineral-based oils by extending the interval between oil changes from 18 months to three years or more.
To help wind operators realise the full potential of Mobilgear SHC XMP 320, ExxonMobil offers its Signum Oil Analysis programme to monitor the performance of the oil and components on an on-going basis. It acts as a diagnostic service that highlights critical indicators in used oil based on leading equipment builder specifications, international standards and supported by detailed condition assessment.[Page Break]

“In an industry that relies on the performance of turbines, which may stand up to 400 feet high in the air, often in remote environments, there is no such thing as a simple oil change or routine maintenance,” said Yan Cote, Global Business Development Advisor, Mobil Industrial Lubricants. “That’s why our Mobil SHC branded lubricants, like Mobilgear SHC XMP 320, are used to service 40,0000 wind turbines around the world. They are expertly formulated to help reduce maintenance costs, extend oil drain intervals and deliver exceptional protection for key components, even under the extreme weather and load conditions that wind turbines face every day.”

A US-based energy company has realised significant performance and cost benefits by switching to Mobilgear SHC XMP 320. The mountaineer wind site operates 44 turbines with a 66-megawatt (MW) output, the Flender Model PEAS 43090.5 gearboxes (60 gallon capacity) within the 44 NEG Micon1.5MW turbines were filled with Mobilgear SHC XMP 320 gear oil in 2002.[Page Break]

These gear boxes operate in an extreme four-season climate with temperatures ranging from -10˚F (-12.22°C) in winter up to 100˚F (37.78°C) in summer. The operations, therefore, required a lubricant that could perform in tough applications across a wide temperature range, whilst also providing protection against micropitting and gearbox deposits.

As a result, the operator has reported hard cost savings of US$176,000 over seven years of service. This was largely achieved by extending oil drain intervals to twice the industry average for wind turbine gear boxes, saving $4,000 per turbine in reduced oil change maintenance costs. As part of its Signum oil condition monitoring programme, findings from the used oil analysis also showed excellent gear box cleanliness and better overall gear condition than expected, thereby helping to manage costs.

In addition to Mobilgear SHC XMP 320, ExxonMobil offers a wide range of lubricants that are formulated to deliver exceptional protection for all parts of a wind turbine, including greases to lubricate bearings and hydraulic oils that help pitch rotor blades.

For more information, visit www.mobilindustrial.com

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