Machining Atop a Windmill

When Vestas encountered an issue with the yaw system in one of their windmills (the mechanism which allows the head of the windmill to rotate) they turned to In-Situ Machining for a solution. Specifically, they wanted to restore the flatness of the yaw ring, which is required for the system to function properly. 

On this project, located in Moosomin, Saskatchewan, our first step was to scan the ring thoroughly and search for abnormalities in flatness. Luckily, the damage was contained near the yaw motor, which narrowed down the repair to a few specific spots and minimized the scope of work required. Using our FARO Vantage E Laser Tracker, we were able to provide a localized repair solution. By identifying and marking the areas that needed attention, the Vestas team could weld up the low areas in preparation for the machining process.

To begin the repair, we first machined the seating flange that the yaw motor was bolted to. This served as our reference surface and allowed us to mount a milling spindle and machine the top of the yaw ring, which leveraged the rotation of the windmill head itself to move the milling head across the area. On the bottom side, we utilized a smaller milling tool to target and mill the damaged area.

In addition to the new experience atop a windmill, this job was particularly unique due to tight clearances within the windmill structure; the limited space at the top required precision and maneuverability from our team. Despite these constraints we were able to execute our repair plan without having to dismantle any significant parts of the windmill, which significantly limited the amount of down time.