Vestas Nacelles - Lem
Case Study Vestas Nacelles - Lem, Denmark

The wind of perfection

How much electricity can a turbine construction of more than 100 m height above the floor generate? And how can one make sure the assembly of any wind turbine runs smoothly when there’s only one chance? To make sure that the answer is not blowing in the wind, Vestas Nacelles in Lem/Denmark has a strict quality policy enabled by high-capacity portable measuring systems from Hexagon Metrology.

No small object has ever left the Vestas Nacelles factory. Hubs, housings or other steel made structure elements for wind turbine nacelles can be 3.5 m high, weighing up to 16 t. For such enormous parts, the quality policy at Vestas Nacelles relies on valid data which enables the monitoring of process performance. “That means we will be alerted if a process gets out of control by showing evidence of systematic variation”, said Ingo Boysen, Production Quality Manager. “By reacting fast in these situations we have been able to extend our knowledge in terms of process and items. This has provided the possibility to reduce our process variation and thereby improve the process robustness while lowering cost of poor quality.” Every single part the factory produces is also measured. “We understand measurement not just as part inspection. For us, it is an integral part of the production. You could say that our production relies on measurement”, said Ingo Boysen. “Our developers define a certain number of points per object that are critical to quality, the so-called CTQs. So we measure the CTQs on each part, and a big number of additional characteristics such as the position of holes or other features on a hub. Subsequently we make sure all single components of the nacelle fit together before the wind turbine is assembled. It is very difficult to correct any mistakes once a part has left the factory, and in the case of a hub, scrap would cost us €20 000 per piece for just the material. Measurement pays off, but not only for us. We are using the measurement data actively to reduce cost to the benefit of our customers.”

Speeding measurement up
The quality team at Vestas Nacelles has a long experience in metrology. Besides a large stationary CMM, they had used two Leica LTD300 and LTD500 laser trackers for many years. “The time had come to look for new measurement systems”, said Jeppe Nielsen, Head of the Measuring Team. “The old laser trackers were still working perfectly, however we wanted to see if there was something faster. A new tool should help us with saving time and effort.” The result of the following benchmark...

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