Hansen Transmissions selects nCode DesignLife for wind turbine gearbox fatigue analysis

As the demand for wind energy is rapidly increasing, so is the need to make wind turbines more robust and cost-effective. The availability of the wind turbine is a key driver for the end customer. Wind turbines are also becoming larger in order to generate more electricity per installation, and this in turn is causing robustness to become an essential issue.

In response to these demands, Hansen Transmissions, an established global gearbox manufacturer, has selected nCode DesignLife as its solution for the computed aided fatigue analysis of wind turbine gear components. Hansen Transmissions is using nCode DesignLife software to help ensure that gearbox designs meet stringent durability targets required for wind turbine operation.

Hansen has extensive expertise in the design and manufacture of gearboxes, a key component of wind turbines. The load and torque characteristics of wind applications make the understanding of fatigue critical for long term performance and durability. Hansen has relied on a number of specialist fatigue engineers within the company, using software developed in-house.

By moving to DesignLife software, Hansen can now readily capture and optimize the fatigue and durability analysis process. DesignLife helps the engineers across the company assess more design variants more rapidly, reducing development and test cycles, and overall costs. DesignLife works seamlessly with the ANSYS® software used by Hansen for FEA analysis.

Hansen undertook an extensive benchmarking of DesignLife against other commercial software.

About Hansen Transmissions International

Hansen Transmissions International NV is an established global wind turbine gearbox and industrial gearbox designer, manufacturer and supplier, with a leading position (by MW supplied) in the wind turbine gearbox market. 

The company supplies gearboxes to the world’s major manufacturers of gear-driven wind turbines and provides durable gear drives for a wide range of industrial applications throughout the world. Both Hansen’s wind energy and industrial activities have established dedicated international service networks.

In addition to its principal state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities located in Flanders, Belgium – i.e. a wind turbine and industrial gearbox plant and a fully integrated, dedicated wind turbine gearbox manufacturing facility – Hansen has a production plant for wind turbine gearboxes in Coimbatore, India and an assembly and testing plant for the Chinese market, located in Tianjin, China. As such, Hansen plans to increase its wind turbine gearbox manufacturing capabilities, from 7,300 MW per annum in the financial year 2009 to 14,300 MW, by financial year 2013. 

Strong in-house R&D operations maintain Hansen’s technological leadership and the company employs over 2,300 people worldwide.

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CAE-based fatigue analysis

nCode DesignLife is an up-front design tool that identifies critical locations and calculates realistic fatigue lives from leading finite element (FE) results for both metals and composites. Design engineers can go beyond performing simplified stress analysis and avoid under- or over-designing products by simulating actual loading conditions to avoid costly design changes.

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