New industrial connectors enable the rear mounting of inserts for interfaces in wind turbines. The mounting option facilitates the installation of electrical cabinets, as many work steps can be carried out from the inside of the cabinet. In addition, more processes can be shifted to the pre-assembly stage, which avoids expensive technician hours for field installation.
The search for savings opportunities is a central topic in the wind industry. All parts of the value chain are examined, in order to be able to offer WECs competitively in different markets. However successful the strategies may be, the required reductions cannot be achieved exclusively by enforcing lower purchase prices for materials and components. Instead, new ideas and processes must be implemented. Especially promising is a cooperation of suppliers and manufacturers in the field of electrical cabinet construction.
Reduction of errors in field installation
An electrical cabinet is a vital WEC component including the control system of the generator as well as contactors, relays and surge protection systems. The manufacturers pre-assemble electrical cabinets at a few central locations and deliver them worldwide to the nacelle manufacturing facilities.
The rear mounting technique accelerates assemblies. As a part of the electrical installation, connectors can be snapped-in from the inside of the cabinet directly into a bulkhead mounted housing on the outer wall. This option favours the use of prefabricated subsystems. Thus, all relevant works for electrical modules can be carried out at an optimised industrial workplace, ensuring as much efficiency as possible. The harnesses e.g. are mounted to the cabinet at the manufacturing site; whilst the interfaces of the system periphery can be plugged-in at production or construction sites, depending on the WEC’s installation concept.
The rear-mounting option is available for both metal Han® B and plastic Han B® hoods and housings (which are plug-compatible). The inserts are freely selectable, so monoblock inserts as well as modular connectors can be used for the transmission of different types of media – signal, data, power – and termination techniques.
The rear mounting option opens a significant optimisation potential for electrical cabinet manufacturing and installation. The technique saves time for termination and reduces errors, therefore leading to cost savings.
Nacelles not optimised for control cabinet construction
Using connectors without rear-fit option, contact inserts cannot be mounted to cable harnesses until the assembly process of the electrical cabinet has started. Only then, the conductors can be passed through the cut-out in the cabinet wall in order to mount the interface from the outside. In most established processes, only specialised electricians may carry out the connection works for an electrical cabinet.
Using the rear-mounting option, by contrast, production facilities can be optimised in a way that enables the most efficient interface assembly. With the increasing complexity and number of wind turbines, the effects of savings have become more significant. The higher the number of connectors and the more complex individual wirings, the more savings can be achieved, especially, if the manufacturer assembles at specially equipped workstations.