Effect of preventive maintenance intervals on reliability and maintenance costs of wind turbine gearboxes

Joel Igba*, Kazem Alemzadeh, Keld Henningsen, Christopher Durugbo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)
542 Downloads (Pure)


As many of the installed wind turbines (WTs) get older or approach their design life, there will be a drive to keep extending the lives of the main components especially the gearbox. The challenge of operations and maintenance will potentially be even more as there will be a need to keep the cost to a minimum. Similarly, as years of experience of operating WTs accumulate, knowledge about the behaviour and failure of subsystems is gained as well. Also with good documentation and repository of historical operational, performance and failure data, future decisions of operations and maintenance can be taken on the basis of insights from past experience. This paper presents an approach for implementing preventive maintenance (PM) by using historical failure data to determine the optimal PM interval required to maintain desired reliability of a typical module or subassembly. This paper builds upon previous research in the area of WT gearbox reliability analysis and prediction, taking it further by examining the relationships between the frequency of a PM task and the reliability, availability and maintenance costs. The approach presented demonstrates how historical in-service failure data can be used in PM task selection based on the minimum maintenance cost and maximum availability. Available historical field failure data of the high speed module of a Vestas 2MW WT gearbox is used to validate the approach and show its practicality. The results of this study are then presented - indicating that choosing the right PM interval based on the minimum unit maintenance cost and maximum availability also improves WT gearbox reliability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2013-2024
Number of pages12
JournalWind Energy
Issue number11
Early online date17 Sep 2014
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2015


  • availability
  • historical in-service data
  • maintainability
  • preventive maintenance
  • reliability
  • unit maintenance cost
  • wind turbine gearbox


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