R&D is building one of the world’s largest test benches for LORC

R&D will construct and deliver one of the world’s largest test benches following the turnkey order for LORC. The order underlines R&D’s competences and system understanding that are required for the complete delivery of complicated heavy-duty turnkey systems.

The project requires more than 25,000 hours, 310 tons of steel and 107 concrete piles in order to design, construct, build and install the test bench with a length of 31 meters, a width of 8 meters and a height of 13 meters for LORC.
The foundation for the test bench is built as a reinforced concrete foundation with a volume of approximately 1,500 m3. The foundation requires more than 100 tons of steel plates and 300 steel bars to transfer the loads from the tester and the device under test.

Huge loads and test subjects
The test bench functions primarily as a wind load simulator for highly accelerated life-cycle testing (HALT) of wind turbines. The hydraulic Test Load Unit functions as the wind simulator and can simultaneously replicate the wind’s reactions on the main axle of the test subject using three forces and three torque levels. The Test Load Unit can add a bending moment of up to 25MNm to the test subject in addition to the drive motor system and drivetrain, which can add a torque of 14.5MNm to the test subject. The test bench is thus a large mechanical-, hydraulic-electric wind tunnel for accelerated fatigue tests.
The drive train includes the world largest flexible clutch with a built-in safety device, which limits the torque in case of driving line errors. The consequences of uncontrollable errors can be severe when the test subjects can weigh 400 tons.

Detailed understanding of the system
R&D has obtained the experience and the competences required for full responsibility for a delivery this large and complex. ”One of the biggest challenges when developing heavy-duty system solutions is to have the right understanding of the system, ” Business Manager – Test Systems at R&D Peter Kattai Ulrikkeholm says.
”It requires both the right competences and many years’ work to get the right experience. In recent years, we have seen an increase in projects where we have the primary responsibility for the turnkey system for the test benches, which is another reason why we are capable of the project in question.”

All competences internally
R&D has all the competences needed such as project management, mechanical, power, automation, software, and hydraulics know-how as well as installation and maintenance. ”It is very beneficial to have all the competences internally when working on turnkey systems, ” Peter Kattai Ulrikkeholm says. ”This way, we ensure that all parts of the solution are considered already during the designing phase. At the same time, we can also control all of the elements of the process better and act quickly, if a question arises or there is a need for changes in the development process.”

Careful preparation
The preliminary work on the HALT test bench for LORC began several years ago and included the experience from a collaboration with Aalborg University in a EUDP project. In this project, R&D developed, tested and constructed a demonstration of the HALT test bench for accelerated tests of lifetime of wind turbines scaled down to ¼ of the normal size. The experience from this development work has provided valuable input for the solution for LORC.

The work has begun

The first initiatives towards the new test bench were begun in spring 2015 and already R&D has used the first 3,000-4,000 hours working on the project. The employees at R&D will work intensively throughout the next year to construct and install the test bench as LORC has already lined up the first customers for their new testing facilities.

Interesting opportunities
The LORC delivery provides new opportunities for R&D. ”We have been among the world’s leading companies in developing and constructing heavy-duty test benches for the wind industry for several years, ” Peter Kattai Ulrikkeholm says. ”This delivery brings us into a different league and it has been confirmed that the market sees us as the right collaborator for the largest projects. In the future we will use this for other industries.”