Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 August 2011 08:11
Bonfiglioli yaw and pitch drives available in Australia and New Zealand are among the cutting-edge products included in Germany’s new Alpha Ventus offshore wind farm, the country’s first.
The managing director of Bonfiglioli Transmission (Australia) Malcolm Lewis says these ruggedly reliable and compact drive systems – incorporating technology already proved in Australasian industrial applications ranging from mining to manufacturing and materials handling - provide as high as possible an energy yield and as low as possible risk potential for the system at the same time.
With their help, the generator’s gondola (and thus the wind turbine) is constantly matched to the wind direction on the one hand, while on the other the rotor blades are brought into an ideal position.
Operation at an optimal speed is decisive for the efficiency of the energy producing drive train extending from the rotor to the generator.
If it turns too slowly, insufficient energy will be produced; if it turns too quickly, there are dangers to the complete wind turbine, he says.
Bonfiglioli is now one of the largest suppliers for azimuth drives and pitch drives in Europe, which is itself a leader in wind power technology.
The company has invested extensively in Australia and New Zealand to extend its range and capabilities across the spectrum here.
"As demand expands in Australasia for clean energy alternatives, we are positioning ourselves to deliver the benefits access to truly global experience in this market," says Mr Lewis
Located in 30 meter deep waters, 45 kilometre off the German island of Borkum in the North Sea, the Alpha Ventus wind park features 12 wind towers, each generating 5 megawatts of energy.
The wind farm is expected to generate enough electricity to power 50,000 homes.
The important project, which represents an investment of 250 million euros, marks the beginning of a new era in environmentally-friendly power generation in Germany.
Alpha Ventus, commissioned in 2010, is the first of several wind farms Germany plans for its northern coastline. The government has approved plans to develop up to 40 offshore wind parks that could provide electricity to eight million households.
The president of the Bonfiglioli Group, Sonia Bonfiglioli, says the company’s gearboxes were selected to control the yaw angle of each turbine tower, as well as the pitch of the blades.
As the world leader in the design and manufacture of yaw and pitch drives -– the company’s solutions can be found in nearly 30 percent of the world’s wind turbines.
Bonfiglioli was simply the best company to accommodate the wind park’s demands.
"Due to the location and high power output of each wind tower, each component had to be both highly reliable and high-performance.
"Thanks to our years of experience in applied technology, Bonfiglioli was among the few manufacturers who could provide the right solution for the project," says Ms Bonfiglioli.
During an official commissioning ceremony, German Federal Environment Minister Dr. Norbert Röttgen, said that investors, turbine manufacturers and grid operators had all taken a great risk with this test field.
"Their steadfast commitment, perseverance and creativity have paid off. The experience gained during the construction of Alpha Ventus will benefit all future offshore wind farms."
Sophisticated transmissions incorporating planetary drives and frequency converter control are used in drive systems for wind generators ranging in size from small systems for village power supply in India through to 5 MW leviathans.
Bonfiglioli Transmission (Australia) Pty Ltd is part of the international Bonfiglioli group, with 2500 employees worldwide. The full Australian branch is part of a global network of 13 full branches and eight production plants supported by nearly 80 national distributors and an Australasian network of distributors complemented by offices in Australian States and New Zealand.
For more information:
In Australia: Malcolm Lewis, managing director 61 2 8811 8000, Email:
In New Zealand: Neil Pollington 0800 432 777,
Mob 021 827 199, Email: