Minimising outages for onshore renewables – gearbox inspection and maintenance for profitable power production

2017 is, arguably, a pivotal year in O&M strategy for the UK wind power industry, with many long-term service contracts reaching the end of their term. Here, Andrew Baggaley, Aftermarket Manager at Dana Brevini UK, considers the elements of gearbox inspection for onshore renewables.

image 1 - inspection of sun pinion wear marks-small
Inspection of sun pinion wear marks

Well-established in the UK, the wind farm sector is now facing a raft of uncertainties, not least the impact of Brexit and relations with the EU – a significant proponent of renewable energy. That said, investment in the UK continues to be strong and the Wind Europe report, ‘Wind in Power, 2016 statistics’, published this month, indicates that the UK was, again, the largest EU investor in wind power, at 46% of total European financing. These trends, combined with the general challenges faced by O&M managers, mean that the consideration of gearboxes – as an integral part of the wind turbine – has never been more pertinent.

Dana completes Purchase of Brevini Power-Transmission and Fluid Power businesses

The combination of Brevini and Dana Off-Highway creates a formidable player in the market with complementary, advanced technologies


REGGIO EMILIA, Italy, Feb. 2, 2017 – Dana Incorporated (NYSE: DAN) announced that it has completed the acquisition of the power-transmission and fluid power businesses of Brevini Group, S.p.A. The transaction closed yesterday, Feb. 1.

Brevini UK help solve long-term odour problem

Anyone working in the UK waste water treatment industry will be familiar with the type of problems faced by Yorkshire Water at the Saltend Waste Water Treatment Works, where long-standing issues around odours disturbed the local community, most notably during the peak load season (late June – August), when the flows into the site peak.

Announcing an investment of £30m to address these issues last October1, Yorkshire Water’s improvement works are now complete – with Brevini UK being awarded a contract which sees the Warrington-based company once more working on environmental improvements for the residents of East Yorkshire.2

Removing original drive

For this major project, Brevini were commissioned to work on the Morgan Sindall Sweco joint venture, specifically to replace the original EIMCO rake drive system in the lamella tanks – a significant part of the whole waste water treatment plant at Saltend. With a very tight timescale – Yorkshire Water set a target for major improvements to be operative for summer 2016 – Brevini had only an 8-10 week turnaround, to cover: concept, design, rapid pricing, manufacture and installation on site, for a solution that would interface with existing kit at the plant.

Brevini has reached a definitive agreement to sell 80% of its Power Transmission and Fluid Power Businesses to Dana Incorporated

The combination of Brevini and Dana Off-Highway will create a formidable player in the market with complementary, advanced technologies

REGGIO EMILIA, Italy, Nov. 18, 2016 – Brevini Group, S.p.A. and Dana Incorporated (NYSE: DAN) have reached a definitive agreement for Dana to purchase 80% of the Power Transmission and Fluid Power businesses of Brevini.

The announcement has been officially released today by Dana to the financial community.

Dana is a world leader in the supply of highly engineered drivetrain, sealing, and thermal-management technologies that improve the efficiency and performance of vehicles with both conventional and alternative-energy powertrains. Serving three primary markets – passenger vehicle, commercial truck, and off-highway equipment – Dana provides the world’s original-equipment manufacturers and the aftermarket with local product and service support through a network of nearly 100 engineering, manufacturing, and distribution facilities. Founded in 1904 and based in Maumee, Ohio, the company employs more than 23,000 people in 25 countries on six continents. In 2015, Dana generated sales of nearly $6.1 billion. Forbes Magazine has again selected Dana as one of America’s 100 Most Trustworthy Companies.

Develop your knowledge of Winch Hydraulics with Brevini UK and the National Fluid Power Centre

Limited places available for Brevini and NFPC “Stage 2 Winch Hydraulic Systems” training course at NFPC, 7-9th November 2016.

Highly practical, this course is designed for technicians and engineers involved in the maintenance and management of winch systems involving a range of hydraulics and controls, and is ideal for company technical representatives. It is relevant to a range of sectors including: offshore and marine; fishing; dockside, and construction & crane applications.

Equipment at the NFPC training facilities

Integrating mechanical and hydraulic systems – how to optimise performance

There are many challenges facing engineers in the mobile and marine sectors, not least of which is the often-complex combination of mechanical and hydraulic systems, with competing priorities of machine performance, and efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

Launch and recovery system

Commonly, the specification of the mechanical components influences the hydraulic requirements, and vice versa. For example, the combination of a gearbox ratio with hydraulic motor displacement gives different flow and pressure requirements. Often, using a higher gear ratio – without any additional cost implications – allows for a reduction in motor size, saving on cost without compromising on performance. Similarly, the control of hydraulics can affect mechanical systems, e.g. where pressure relief settings of pumps and valves need to be set at a level to protect the mechanics. Clearly, a knowledge and appreciation of both areas assists in specifying a safe and efficient system, with optimised performance.

Brevini drives in $5billion Panama Canal extension – the largest engineering project of this century

Doubling the capacity of the Panama Canal, the recently-opened expansion has tripled the maximum vessel-size for this major international shipping route. Critical to this huge engineering project are the new locks, the most important component of the expansion, and Brevini gearboxes are driving the massive sluice gates.

One of the completed PD67 Posired 2 gearboxes

With a total of 16 rolling gates to operate the Canal extension, the sluice gates are 30m high, 60m long and 10m wide, each weighing over 4,000 tons, with 2 Brevini gearboxes driving the opening/closing cycle. Brevini faced a number of significant challenges on this project. The gates must be opened in less than 5 minutes, with a 43-minute cycle of opening/closing which is repeated 33 times per day, with only 180 minutes of stoppage permitted per month. With a lifespan requirement of 35 years, the gearboxes need to provide 57,000 hours of operation, working in humid conditions with high levels of salinity. Reliability of function is paramount to this critical application.

Gearbox Maintenance for Steel Manufacturing

For the steel industry it is more important than ever that proper maintenance and repair work be carried out on its plant and equipment to prevent costly and potentially catastrophic failures. Here Andrew Baggaley and Tony Botfield of Brevini UK explain how techniques they have pioneered across several steelworks in the North of England are paying dividends.

Steel making creates some of the harshest working conditions a gearbox may be expected to tolerate. In continuous casting for example, temperatures are extreme with the steel product still red hot and semi-molten when it hits the roll out drives. Add to that a dirty environment, shock-loading and the runtime demands of continuous production, and even purpose-designed gearboxes will require frequent rebuilds. It’s no secret that resources and overheads have been squeezed within the UK steel industry as it strives to remain profitable in the global market. While UK competitiveness stems from a reputation for some of the highest quality product produced anywhere, it is also essential that refurbishment of plant is well managed in order to minimise cost and extend service life.

High-capacity 5T winches now available direct from Brevini UK

Brevini UK are now stocking 5T winches, designed and manufactured by their custom winch division in Holland. Engineered primarily for the offshore market, these 5T winches are ideal for any application where a 250m rope storage capacity and 5T line pull may be an advantage. Designed in accordance with DNVGL Lifting Appliances 2.22 and painted to a marine-spec, RAL9005 Jet Black, the winches have an increased cable capacity while maintaining a small drum size – keeping the fleeting angle down, with a comparatively small diameter so as not to require a larger drive system.

Brevini gears up to protect Hull from flooding

The tidal surge barrier that protects Hull, and surrounding areas, from seasonal flooding in the event of exception high tides plays an important role in protecting the economy and safety of the local population. Consisting of a 212 tonne gate, the barrier is responsible for protecting thousands of properties from flood damage every year. During a recent refurbishment Brevini gearboxes were specified to drive the barrier. The power transmission experts recommended an innovative combination of triple input gearboxes employing both bevel, helical and planetary stages to achieve a final reduction ratio of 1500:1 and still meet tight packaging requirements.


© Copyright Paul Glazzard

Approaching its mouth at the Humber Estuary, much of the river Hull’s course is through extremely flat land that is just above sea level. This means that the river’s height is affected by the tide as it winds through the city and even into the surrounding countryside. Ever since the City was built flooding has posed a threat to properties as large seasonal tides have caused the river to overtop its banks. Records of attempted flood defence systems date all the way back to the 1700’s. The most recent, and most successful, is the Hull Tidal Surge Barrier which was constructed in 1980.

The tidal barrier features a 212 tonne gate which spans 30 meters between two towers that house its mechanics. The gate sits across the mouth of the river Hull and can be lowered when an exceptionally high tide is predicted. Once closed, the sea water is prevented from surging up the river and flooding nearby properties. Since its construction the barrier has proven extremely effective and is closed approximately 12 times each year; in November, 2013, it protected an estimated 17,000 properties from a 5.85 meter record high tide.

Regular maintenance and improvements are made to the flood defence to make sure it remains as reliable as ever. To this end a recent refurbishment project was carried out which included a complete replacement of the operating system, consisting of mechanical, electrical and hydraulic equipment. Brevini supplied the complex gear system, which was designed to safely position the barrier during tidal swells and then lift it back safely.

Dana SAC UK (Head Office)

Dana SAC UK Ltd, Kestrel Court, Centre Park, Warrington, Cheshire, WA1 1QX
T: 01925 636682 / E:

Gearbox Service Centre

Dana SAC UK Ltd, Exmoor Avenue, Skippingdale Ind Estate, Scunthorpe, North Lincs, DN15 8NJ
T: 01724 281868 / E: