Zero-Max, Inc., an ISO 9001 certified design and manufacturing company, announces the introduction of its Composite Disc Couplings for the wind turbine industry. “These couplings withstand extreme misalignment while remaining torsionally stiff and have passed the ‘hell hole’ test at Tehachapi, California Wind Farm,” according to James Motz, a member of the Zero-Max wind team.
“The couplings were tested under conditions simulating a 20-year load spectrum of continuous operation,” he continues. “Once fatigue tested, the ‘hell hole’ location was selected for field testing in a wind turbine whereby the coupling would experience wind conditions in excess of 80 mph with continuous wind direction changes. The Zero-Max couplings survived these conditions that put over 50 wind turbines not using our coupling out of commission. The Zero-Max coupling continues to operate uninterrupted at this writing.”
The Zero-Max wind turbine couplings are designed with composite disk packs at both ends of a center spacer. These patented designed disk packs provide the true strength and calculable flexibility of the coupling. The composite disk packs (flex elements) provide a distinct advantage over other coupling component designs by allowing a surplus of parallel and axial misalignment while remaining torsionally stiff through all harmonic ranges of the wind turbine’s oscillating load. Depending on application, the Zero-Max’s center spacers can be machined out of steel, composite glass fiber or 6061-T6 aluminum. Through the use of Finite Element Analysis (FEA), these center spacers can be engineered to withstand in excess of 70,000 Nm of torque depending on the material selected.