Hanover, Germany – Continental Corp. has invested €2 million in a new facility at its site in Dannenberg, Lower Saxony, as part of a project to supply drive belts to a Chinese wind turbines manufacturer.
The patented belts are used by Xinjiang Goldwind Science and Technology to allow the rotor blades to be adjusted without the aid of gears or hydraulics, said the German technology group in a 25 May statement.
To design the belts, ContiTech used the its Synchrodrive technology involving Galvanised steel cords integrated into the belt’s interior and coated with abrasion-resistant polyurethane, which furnishes both the teeth and the back of the belt.
The structure forms “an outstanding connection” with the tension member, according to ContiTech.
The two opposing impact directions of the steel cords and their strands result in neutral running properties, making the belts "extremely resilient", giving them a life of over 12 million reverse bending cycles.
But, according to ContiTech, what makes the belts used by Goldwind so unique is the special fabric, which is manufactured at Continental’s location in Northeim.
Combining a “specially treaded fabric” and polyurethanes, the belting materials are resistant to temperatures ranging between -55°C and +80°C as well as to oils, greases and fuel.
The belts also do not require oil for lubrication and are very low-maintenance overall while being largely corrosion-resistant, explained Rolf Marwede, who heads Continental’s location in Dannenberg.
In offshore wind turbines in particular, this feature presents a major advantage over conventional metal designs that are permanently exposed to salty sea air.
“In comparison with gearbox solutions, a simpler design that uses drive belts is also more cost-effective and more efficient in the long term,” Marwede added.
ContiTech said it is supplying over 100 kilometres of drive belts to the Chinese company.