Lokesh Saxena, VP, Industrial Business & Services (OE), SKF India, speaks to Industrial Automation about the recent product launches for the Wind Energy segment. 

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SKF has recently launched two new products at Windergy 2017 at Delhi for the wind energy segment. What are these?


We have launched 2 products – SRB Wind and SKF Multilog IMx-8.


SRB Wind will be the new SKF standard for self-aligning main shaft arrangements in the wind turbine industry: A cost-competitive spherical roller bearing range (240-series), with enhanced performance and robustness in wind turbines against catalogue equivalent size. Most competitors do not have a wind specific solution for SRB main shaft applications. They still offer standard SRB as main bearings, in a rather old design with fixed middle flange in combination with a two piece cage.


The SKF Multilog IMx-8, on the other hand, provides a complete system for early fault detection. It improves the reliability, availability and performance of the rotating equipment in the wind turbine. This compact device offers 8 analogue and 2 digital channels, with connectivity to mobile devices as well as laptops for easy configuration and monitoring. Machine intelligence from IMx-8 data will help customers to avoid unplanned downtime and schedule maintenance proactively, prolonging machine availability and minimising maintenance and repair costs. IMx-8 integrates easily with SKF Cloud for storing and sharing data, enabling SKF Remote Diagnostic Services for expert reporting and recommendations. The IMx-8 is DIN rail mounted, and can be housed in an IP65 cabinet to provide additional protection in demanding industrial environments.


As a leading provider of technology to the wind power segment globally, what does the company offer to the Indian market?

At SKF, our focus is on optimising the performance of the rotating parts of any machinery. For the wind industry, it translates into improving the reliability of main shaft bearings and gearbox bearings. All SKF products and solutions are designed and developed to ensure that the performance of the products of our customers is the best.


Our focus is on bringing the SKF global capabilities to the wind industry segment in India with appropriate products for the Indian markets. With a clear focus on segment needs, our products are designed and developed to suit the local market. Our complete range of bearings, seals, lubrication systems, maintenance products and allied services for the wind industry are a resultant of the same.


At SKF, we have the complete capability right from specification, design, development, manufacturing, installation and remanufacturing of the products at the end of their useful life. This takes care of the complete life cycle of a product.


Our Global Technical Centre – India (GTCI) at Bengaluru is our R&D arm focused at working for the Indian market. The segment need is defined by our product engineering team here In India that works closely with GTCI to bring these products for the markets. Our manufacturing footprint in India consists of 6 factories of which our Ahmedabad factory manufactures bearings for the wind industry, customised machined seals are manufactured across India and Lubrication Systems come from Bengaluru. SKF Solution Factories are a global network of factories catering to complex maintenance needs of our customers, which take care of remanufacturing of mid and large size bearings of wind industry. RDC is our remote monitoring centre that monitors the health of wind farms.


India is one of the leading producers of wind energy. How significant is the SKF engagement in this segment in India?

The wind market is a very futuristic industry. The market is looking for better availability, lower cost of energy generation and highly technology advanced products. Additionally, there is a clear focus from the government also on this sector to boost productivity and higher power generation. In view of this, all levers are now being pushed to achieve the vision of 60 GW energy generation by 2022.


At SKF, we’re geared to support the industry with our local capabilities, backed by 100+ years of SKF knowledge which will ensure world-class products and solutions for the wind industry locally.


SKF has long ceased to be a products alone company with total solutions as its forte. What exactly does the WindCon system offer?

Condition monitoring for wind turbines is now combined with WebCon for centralised remote monitoring. The main benefit is that condition monitoring reduces wind turbine operating costs. There is an ever-increasing pressure from wind farm owners to reduce operating costs of wind turbines. This is more important today than ever before.


To reduce operating costs means more efficient use of maintenance and service personnel. When repair or maintenance is necessary, the wind farm owner needs to bring in crew, rent large cranes, and order replacement parts. By using the WindCon system, wind farm owners can consolidate maintenance activities if one turbine has been shut down and another is showing signs of an impending component failure and can combine service calls. They can also prolong repairs by tracking the failure mode that the turbine is experiencing. By tracking performance, they can predict how much service life is left in the turbine thereby extending the maintenance/service intervals.


One way that operators can reduce operating costs is by integrating SKF WindCon into their turbines. With the WindCon system, operators can take a proactive approach to maintenance. In other words, they can closely monitor a turbine and predict when service will be necessary. This enables the WP operator to plan maintenance activities more accurately and more cost effectively.