Modular drives for power generation

Johannesburg, South Africa – To best meet urgent local needs and harsh conditions with massively improved lead times, SEW-EURODRIVE is on a mission to localise its modular drive concept for a variety of industrial drive applications. Jonathan McKey highlights a few of the advantages this presents the power generation sector.

SEW-EURODRIVE’s expanded local capability from its new Aeroton facility will include the assembly of its latest X.e Series industrial gear units (IGs); its modular air-cooled condenser units (MACCs); standard, VSD- and servo-driven gearmotors; along with customer specific drive-train packages that, for the power industry, include: conveyor, cooling towers and ash drives; girth-gear solutions; fans, pump drives and a host of other purpose-built modern and modular solutions.

X.e Series gear units

Modular X.e Series units, the latest evolution of SEW-EURODRIVE’s IG range, are now even more robust, reliable, efficient and easier to maintain than their predecessors. Significantly increasing the number of possible torque/speed combinations and fine-size graduations enables solutions to be custom-built to precisely suit client specification.

Additional modular features and options include: motor adapters; integral and load sharing backstops; various sealing and shaft systems; and many more, all of which add to the ease of use and reliability of X.e Series drive solutions.

“Conveyor drives in the power industry are often required to operate in extremely dusty and very hot or cold conditions. Due to the new thermally optimised housings, along with the contact-free taconite sealing system, these drives offer excellent reliability under these conditions,” notes McKey.

The X.e series offers an optimised choice of gear unit sizes, reduced gear unit weight and sufficient centre distances. In addition, when the drive needs to be operated at low speed during maintenance, for example, the drive package can be equipped with a directly mounted slow speed auxiliary drive to advance the system while the main drive is switched off.

The new X.e range is also ideal for girth gear applications, where the new generation units have become the global standard for use with SEW-EURODRIVE’s segmented mill drive solution.

MACC Series drives

MACC drives from SEW-EURODRIVE are purpose designed for driving the modern fan-based air-cooled condenser (ACC) systems used in steam-driven power generation plants.

ACCs need to generate huge air flows to cool and condense exhaust steam from turbines. “Our Modular Air Cooled Condenser (MACC) drives have specific optimisations to make them tailor-made to best suite these applications,” McKey explains.

These include: a stiffer case with built-in cooling veins for improved cooling; and SEW-EURODRIVE’s internal extended bearing distance (EBD) system, which better enables the gearbox bearings to accommodate the very high axial and radial forces transferred through the fan and the drive shaft.

“We have also built-in a maintenance brake so that when servicing is required, wind from the outside can be prevented from turning the fan and the main shaft, making the boxes easier to maintain in-situ,” says McKey.

These are compelling reasons for power stations to replace faulty ACCs with SEW-EURODRIVE MACCs. “To make this easier for plant operators, we build customised adapter plates to enable our design to be easily retrofitted as a direct replacement for any older-generation boxes currently in use. We also customise the output shaft length to perfectly match the ACC infrastructure onsite and to establish the ideal fan position for maximum efficiency,” he adds. The typical lead time for imported large industrial gearboxes by most gearbox OEM’s can range anything from 18 to 24+ weeks or more. Once SEW-EURODRIVE’s assembly plant is complete and operational, it will be able to assemble most common modular designs locally at capacities of approximately 3 – 5+ per week.

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