David Brown has received in the region of £2m in funding towards the development of a world-class wind gearbox research and development (R&D) innovation centre in Huddersfield, Yorkshire.
Awarded by the UK Government’s Regional Growth Fund, the grant will enable David Brown to develop and test new gearing technology for the wind industry. The centre is one of only a handful worldwide and includes a 3.6MW test rig, which means David Brown will be one of the only gear manufacturing companies to provide local service supported by premier research and development in the UK.
The wind gearbox R&D centre will be able to analyse wind gearbox performance and develop unique upgrade packages to support global customers during the life cycle of theirwind farms. Research of this kind will enable the development of innovativeoperations and maintenance techniques for both on and offshore wind turbines as well as promoting growth and expansion of the UK’s wind energy supply chain.
David Brown was an early entrant into the renewables sector a quarter of a century ago supplying gearboxes for turbines during California’s first wind energy boom. More recently in 2009, it launched David Brown Windserve, a dedicated wind service business, in response to its continued and increasing provision of gear service solutions across the global gearbox service market. Beyond wind energy, David Brown has been developing gear systems for solar, hydro and tidal applications – from large-scale commercial installations to cutting-edge research projects.
Ian Farquhar, Managing Director Wind at David Brown explains: “David Brown has a clear growth strategy, developed around expanding in key global markets including renewable industries such as wind and solar. Our focus will now be to drive engineering innovation from the centre and develop relevant, long-standing intellectualproperty alongside the delivery of academic support.
“We tend to operate in ‘assurance critical’ applications where the cost of a gearbox failure is very high. From a technical perspective David Brown has long-established capabilities in other high-integrity industries, such as mining, conventional power, oil and gas, rail and defence that fit very well with the wind energy sector’s needs. Applying this depth of experience has allowed us to become an integral part of the UK wind supply chain.”