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On test: Generators for wind turbines from The Switch

the switch, Finland

Introduction

The Finland-based company The Switch is a world leader in directly driven permanent magnet generators (PMG) for wind turbines with a power output of 1 MW up to 5 MW at medium to high rotational speeds. To determine the efficiency of the generators, a torque flange from HBM is installed into the shaft train as additional measuring system.

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Determination of efficiency

The technical challenge is to control high torque and, at the same time, achieve high efficiency. To determine the efficiency, two identical generators are installed such that their shafts can be directly connected for testing. The generator under test is driven by the second generator which, in this case, functions as an engine. Current and voltage measurements on both generators enable a relationship between the power output and the power consumption to be established and thus to determine the efficiency.

Torque flange in the shaft

The Switch installs a torque flange into the shaft train as an additional measuring system. A resulting benefit is the verification of the efficiency determined through measurement of the electrical parameters. Moreover, effects resulting from modifications to the engine or generator or from simulation of different loading scenarios can be determined fast and precisely. However, the main parameter for determining the efficiency is the transmitted power. Through direct measurement of torque and rotational speed of in the shaft train transmitted power, measurement uncertainty is small.

Combined with special converters and monitoring and control systems the solutions offered by the company can be integrated into the drive train of wind turbines as complete packages. The PMGs offered by The Switch feature a special, patented arrangement of the permanent magnets. This arrangement enables both high efficiency and a smooth running of the turbine. Use of a direct drive eliminates the need for a transmission gearing and results in reduced mechanical stress on the system as well as increased reliability and a longer service life.

About The Switch

The Switch was founded in 2006 with a challenger mindset. We wanted to break the status quo in the wind industry by pushing the permanent magnet (PM) generator and full-power converter drive train as the technology of choice.

Nearly 15 years later, there has been a shift in wind power technology with the 10 largest offshore and onshore turbine manufacturers all using permanent magnets as the technology of choice to reach higher powers and better efficiencies.

Then we went on to make a larger shift in the marine industry. In 2022 we became the leading PM shaft generator supplier for marine vessels with over 100 PM shaft generators delivered. Now, we are bringing PM motors to electric propulsion systems and revolutionary high-power converters designed for marine DC distribution without compromise.

More about The Switch

Technology used