The preferred manufacturing method for reliably creating hard, wear-resistant component surfaces is induction hardening. The surface material’s metallurgical structure is transformed (hardened) through a well-controlled sequence of induction heating and rapid cooling (quenching). This process is used, for example, to harden ring gears, slewing rings and bearing races. Different hardening-system designs are available for optimum and reproducible results. The most flexible hardening system features a workpiece tilt table to optimize quenching fluid flow to the bearing raceways and/or gear teeth. Additional patented SMS Elotherm technologies such as workpiece net power monitoring and automatic inductor position control combine to make induction hardening a robust and precise manufacturing process that is easily integrated into existing production lines.
Today, wind energy supplies the electrical power requirements of almost 8 million households. U.S. Department of Energy projections call for wind power to produce 20% of domestic electrical energy by 2030. About half of this power would come from installations located far offshore. Winds on the open seas are generally stronger and more continuous, offering up to 40% higher power output compared to winds on land. However, the repair and maintenance on the high seas is more involved and expensive. Induction hardened components increase system wear resistance and minimize service costs for offshore wind turbines.