Today's wind turbines are being established in increasingly hostile environments. From freezing icy high mountains to storm and salt-lashed seas. Maintenance of the turbines in these are expensive and so anything that can help defend them against the elements is to be welcomed.
A key to preserving the life of the turbine is to prevent corrosion and damage to the inner workings by sealing the rotary shafts that drive the turbines. The seal required is very large, more than 11 feet in diameter for many turbines and it's been traditionally difficult to conduct tests and trials.
One company, Freudenberg-NOK Merkel have developed a new type of seal that eliminated the need for a second seal- often required in extreme conditions. It's called the Merkel Radiamatic R55 shaft sealing ring. It has an integrated deflector lip and reduces installation space and of course, reduces costs because it eliminates the expense associated with a second seal.
For the tech-heads, the Merkel Radiamatic R 55 can offset radial play or shaft eccentricity without compromising its sealing and be deflecting functions. In comparison tests, the R 55 demonstrated enhanced prevention of leakage and wear. The deflecting and sealing lips always stay in contact with the shaft and provide leak protection. Long-life for a turbine with this seal was achieved by forming a vacuum between the sealing and the deflecting lips through the use of lip texture. This is important because of later lubrication application, once the wind turbine has been commissioned and in service, is expensive and difficult. That salt, rain, and ice can't get in to affect the grease.
Founded in 1989 under the name Freudenberg-NOK General Partnership, Freudenberg-NOK is headquartered in Plymouth, Michigan, USA. and operates more than 20 facilities across the Americas.