The facility is equipped with advanced technologies to support fast development and innovation for repairs to the wind turbine’s gearbox and rotor, creating a lab environment to simulate and solve problems that previously had to be worked on more than 100 meters in the air and at remote sites. The new wind turbine Innovation Lab marks an investment in GE’s presence in the Capital Region as well as the expansion of the local renewable energy team’s facilities.
Technical capabilities of the Innovation Lab include:
- Rapid prototyping tools such as 3D printers and computer numerical control machines
- Robotic welding and advanced machining tools
- Repair of various gearbox models
- Turbine generator repair
GE engineers will have the space and resources to rapidly prototype and develop new technologies to apply to field service repairs. The team will focus on innovative approaches while fully vetting tooling and processes, keeping in mind safety, cost and the ability to address multi-unit configurations. With proximity to GE’s renewable energy headquarters in Schenectady, the team at the Innovation Lab also will work closely with product engineering to improve serviceability.
According to Andy Holt, general manager of global wind projects and services at GE, the Innovation Lab is the first facility of its kind dedicated to developing repair technologies and capabilities that reduce the life cycle cost of wind turbines. He added that Albany was an ideal location for the facility, given its close proximity to GE’s renewable energy headquarters, the GE Energy Learning Center as well as the existing Repair Technologies Center. "It is uniquely positioned for collaboration with the field, design engineering, training and product service teams," he said.