PLUG Connections Reduce Off-Shore Maintenance for Wind Turbines

In the latest two-wing prototypes in Husumer wind test field in the North Sea’s largest wind farm, Global Tech I, and in almost every high-speed train in Europe, the PLUG connection system by PFISTERER guarantees the secure transmission of power.

In wind turbine towers, the PLUG connection system normally combines three components needed for energy production: the wind generator to the converter and the converter to the power transformer. More than 4,100 of these connectors have been installed at Global Tech I. The PLUG system’s reliability despite harsh environmental conditions has been demonstrated for decades in the field of railway technology, its original area of application. Installed underneath the floor – in other words, outside the train under the driver’s cab – it can withstand all weather conditions and high levels of vibrations.</p>

Quick, problem-free maintenance

Thanks to PLUG, the individual electrical components in wind power plants can be connected quickly and easily. This can be beneficial, even during initial installation, and particularly when it comes to costly off-shore maintenance. The easier it is to replace the drive unit components, like the motors or converters, the shorter the downtimes in the plants. Plug-in connections can be mounted and dismantled much quicker than conventional connection elements. Furthermore, PLUG prevents connection errors during maintenance because the plugs and sockets are coded. They can only be joined together if the codes match.

Long-lasting with a variety of designs

By offering an array of different plug sizes, PLUG covers a wide range of applications. The P3 size is designed for the wind power segment. It has a maximum operating voltage of up to 6.6 kV and a high current load capacity of up to 1,250 A. It is compatible with cables with a cross-section of 50 to 240 mm2. Single and double elbow connectors, and a one-pin straight plug cater to requirements in various building spaces. High-quality materials and silver-plated contacts that do not corrode in the connections help to ensure a long service life, matching that of the wind turbines themselves. PLUG connections are vibration-resistant and shock-tested, protected against foreign bodies and water, and also resistant to oil, petrol, grease, and solvents. Plug connection systems can be installed in wind turbine systems prior to mounting or connected as an assembly on site, as was the case with the new Skywind two-winged design. PFISTERER installed the plug system into the prototypes, at the same time training the operator’s engineers in how to use the system and how to work with PFISTERER’s specially developed tools.