Wind Turbine Tower Connections - Preload Assessment

In partnership with GE Renewable Energy and ORE Catapult we have completed the assessment of bolt preloads in wind turbine tower connections to help eliminate hydraulic check-tightening

EchoBolt has developed advanced inspection methods to assess bolt preloads in operational connections, eliminating the requirement for unloaded reference readings or retrofit of specialist fasteners.

As part of the development of the EchoBolt technology repeat inspections of bolted tower connections were carried out for ORE Catapult on their 7MW Levenmouth Demonstration Turbine.

Average preloads measured were within 4% of the installation targets for the tower connections with all bolts well above the minimum preload threshold eliminating the requirement to retighten the tower joints.

Access to world leading wind turbine demonstration assets from ORE Catapult and GE Renewables at Levenmouth and Blyth has supported the accelerated maturation of EchoBolt's technology, helping facilitate independent technology certification and rapid commercial deployment across the sector.

The ability to quickly and accurately assess preload in structural bolted connections is the key to eliminating routine hydraulic bolt tightening, the single biggest scheduled maintenance task on wind assets.

"EchoBolt is set to reduce the need for manual work in a crucial operational area, bringing huge safety and cost benefits".

Chris Hill, Operational Performance Director, ORE Catapult

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