Motion and Control Technology Blog | Parker United Kingdom

How Pitch Control for Wind Turbines Becomes More Accurate and Reliable

Wie Blattverstellsysteme in Windkraftanlagen genauer und zuverlässiger werdenPitch control is a continuous technical challenge for wind turbine manufacturers and key system suppliers. On the one hand, investment costs for components should be as low as possible because the current economic conditions and an increasing competition have made the market price-sensitive. On the other hand, precision and long lifetime must be also taken into consideration. A conflict that can be solved by deploying modern hydraulic technology.

Small cause, large effect

Pitch controls operate and control the angle of the blades in wind turbines by rotating them to adjust output power, achieve higher utilization efficiency of wind power and provide protection for rotor blades. The system allows control of the turbine speed and thus the power generation. It also works as a brake by turning the blades to stop the rotor. Any deviation from the optimum conditions leads to a loss of efficiency and therefore lower return. A failure of a pitch control subsystem or component which causes downtime to repair or service the pitch control has even more serious consequences – the operator of the wind turbine is impacted by a loss of income as well as by the expenses for a service technician.

As a result, hydraulic proportional valves which are used for pitch control in wind turbines must comply with the highest standards regarding accuracy, ruggedness and reliability at favorable conditions. This is a clear case for Parker’s direct operated proportional valves D1FC and D3FC that embody all these characteristics in one valve series.

The ultimate solution for precise pitch control

Wie Blattverstellsysteme in Windkraftanlagen genauer und zuverlässiger werdenParker’s advanced direct operated proportional DC valves series D1FC (nominal size NG06) and D3FC (nominal size NG10) are specially designed for high-response, closed loop controls and provide optimum conditions for economic operation in demanding applications such as pitch control for wind turbines. The position feedback system connected directly to the spool is unique for this performance category. Its precision enables high accuracy in blade pitch control. Full integration of the feedback system without external wiring results in optimal protection from extreme wind turbine conditions, thereby longer lifetime. The digital onboard electronics are protected by a robust, sealed metal enclosure for use in harsh wind turbine environments. The valve electronics are parameterizable via free software.

More features that make a difference:

  • All fasteners are secured with thread locking material – long, reliable service in high vibration environments
  • Factory pre-set – valve-to-valve interchangeability
  • High level of dynamics combined with high flow rates – optimised process speed
  • Progressive flow characteristics – precise pitch control profile
  • Low hysteresis – predictable control of blade position

Engineered for wind turbines and other demanding applications

With the D1FC/D3FC series, Parker has added a highly innovative and at the same time rugged valve to its range of proportional hydraulic valves. As such it is not only predestined for wind turbine pitch control but meets in general highest requirements related to precise, efficient and reliable control. This makes it also to a preferred choice for various applications like machine tools, injection molding, presses and tire presses.

To learn more about Parker’s D1FC/D3FC proportional valves, view our product literature, technical specifications and reference materials.


Wie Blattverstellsysteme in Windkraftanlagen genauer und zuverlässiger werden Andreas SchulzeArticle contributed by Andreas Schulze, marketing communication manager at Industrial Systems Division Europe in Kaarst, Germany. 





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