Tag Archive | Machining system

Tamil Nadu shows signs of losing its footing

Tamil Nadu may find its pole position in captive wind energy under threat as companies are reluctant to add to capacity nor is the sector attractive enough for third-party wind power developers.

That could see the state falter in its bid to add 6,000 megawatts (MW) of wind energy capacity by the end of the 12th Five-Year Plan (2016-17) to take it to 13,000MW from 7,162.3MW now.
Gujarat and Maharastra, which are a distant second and third in the rankings, could take advantage of this to gain on Tamil Nadu, experts said.

Madras Cements Ltd, the second largest cement maker in south India, has a wind energy capacity of 159MW. It doesn’t intend to add to this, but will instead invest in thermal energy, said a senior company executive who didn’t want to be named.

It costs Rs.5 crore to set up 1MW of thermal energy capacity and Rs.6 crore for equivalent wind energy capacity, according to Amol Kotwal, deputy director of energy and power systems at Frost and Sullivan, a business consulting firm. Inadequate infrastructure, delayed payments, and lack of incentives are discouraging further investment in the sector, critical for a power-deficient country that needs to boost energy capacity.

The trend in Tamil Nadu also reflects a wider disenchantment with the promise of wind energy as a source of seemingly “free” energy.

Madras Cements plans to enhance the capacity of the thermal power plants at Alathiyur, Jayanthipuram and Ariyalur by adding one turbine each of 6MW capacity at a total cost of Rs.55 crore, said the company in its recent annual report.

Last week, TVS Motors Ltd’s TVS Energy unit, which set up its captive 59MW wind energy unit in 2010, sold 90% of its stake to Green Infra Ltd, a renewable power producer as it was too capital intensive. The two-wheeler company did not mention whether the price at which it sold its subsidiary and whether it made profits.

Tamil Nadu gets 44% of its total energy requirement from renewable energy, with close to 90% of it coming from wind energy, pushing thermal energy to second place. This is much higher than the national average for renewable energy consumption of 12%.

With the economic slowdown hurting firms, most aren’t too keen on making investments in renewable energy. “Since the slowdown has affected the business of many companies, they would rather divert the money into their core business than put it in wind power,” said K. Vidyashankar, managing director, MM Forgings, which has a captive wind energy plant.

Wind energy is seasonal in Tamil Nadu—mostly between May and October. The southern state saw its wind energy capacity addition drop to 174MW for a total of 7,162MW in 2012-13, compared with about 1,000MW made over the previous two years. Last year, Rajasthan saw the highest addition of 614MW, taking its total capacity to 2,684MW. Gujarat set up 208MW additional capacity, adding up to a total of 3,174.9MW, and Maharastra added 288.5MW taking its total to 3,021MW.

The poor financial condition of the state power distribution company is leading to delays in payments to windmill owners, said Frost and Sullivan’s Kotwal.

Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corp. Ltd (Tangedco), the commissioning and distribution arm of the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board, reported a loss of Rs.54,000 crore in 2011-12.
It has taken over a year to clear payment dues. “We have cleared about Rs.2,000 crore backlog dues till April,” said a state government official.

Since a majority of the wind farm project cost is funded through debt (70-75%), irregular payments from Tangedco result in windmill owners struggling to repay bank loans. Meanwhile, the lack of infrastructure—in terms of transmission and distribution—needed to move power to the grid results in windmills having to be shut down for several hours a day, Kotwal said.

The reasons for inadequate infrastructure include incomplete projects such as the establishment of 400 kilovolts (kV), 230kV, 110kV and 11kV substations at Kanarpatti, Kayathar and Karungulam. Due to the shortage of evacuation facilities, nearly 15-20% of wind energy generated is lost, explains Kotwal.

“It is a sad state of affairs unless the transmission and tariff rates are improved,” said Ramesh Kymal, chairman, Indian Wind Turbine Manufacturers’ Association. “Additional capacity expansion may not happen as seen two years ago.”

The removal of accelerated depreciation for wind energy and raising the rates on cross-subsidy by the state has made the sector unviable, he added. It takes six-seven years for a wind energy farm to break even depending upon size and location.

On the tariff front as well, Tamil Nadu offers the lowest at Rs.3.51 per kilowatt-hour compared with states such as Gujarat (Rs.4.23) and Rajasthan (Rs.5). Tariffs are decided by the state electricity regulatory commissions.

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Offshore Wind Farm O&M Pinpointed at U.K. Conference

Delegates assembled to hear what lessons can be learnt from pioneering wind farm operators off the East of England coast, and the sharing of experiences and thoughts from past and potential developers which will help shape the future of the industry.

The ‘Asset Management: Reducing Cost, Addressing Risk’ conference was staged at the OrbisEnergy centre in Lowestoft, hosted by national trade body RenewableUK.The event challenged the supply chain to rethink how operations and maintenance (O&M) can become a more integral part of planning at the design and construction phase of future windfarms. Factoring it in earlier could help substantially in reducing overall costs.

A selection from some of the contributions to the conference are as follows:

Jon Beresford, operations manager for E.ON’s Scroby Sands windfarm off Great Yarmouth, outlined some of challenges of setting up the UK’s first commercial windfarm.Beresford explained how their initial approach to O&M had been hands off, leaving it principally to the turbine manufacturers. But it became clear, after the five-year warranty, that they should take responsibility for everything from cleaning to fitting new blades or gearboxes with part supply agreements now in place which substantially reduces repair costs.Invaluable lessons also came from the more recent Greater Gabbard windfarm off Suffolk.

Stephen Rose, SSE’s offshore wind generator manager, said they quickly found that they needed a good mix of transit vessels and the support of a helicopter to maintain maximum access to turbines in variable weather. Even then access was restricted to 60-66% of the time.

Ramon Parra, offshore O&M manager for Vattenfall, agreed that waiting time and transport time were two of the major cost drivers in O&M with 45% or more of the issues attributable to bad weather.Parra went on to outline the logistics options for the East Anglia project potentially using a mix of Offshore Access Vessels, Crew Transfer Vessels, Offshore Access Platforms and helicopters.

For turbine manufacturer Areva Wind, UK country director Julian Brown accepted that its emphasis must be on maximum reliability and availability, better remote control, easier maintenance and having skilled people nearby and the right spare parts available when things did go wrong. In test trials offshore in 2011 its six turbines had proved 98% operational.

Stuart Thornton, of Fred Olsen United, outlined the company’s new concept to tackle transport problems in offshore windfarm O&M – ‘a mother ship’ prototype  which would accommodate 40 people, transport parts and equipment, be a base for smaller crew transfer vessels and have stability created from being a one-time floating casino where the roulette wheel had to be consistently level!

Tories at war over wind farm bid in Old Romney

A LEADING Tory district councillor is on a collision course with party colleagues over plans to build a wind farm on his land.

Energy company Airvolution has submitted a planning application to erect four 126.5metre-high turbines at Agney Farm, Old Romney.

The agricultural land belongs to the family of Councillor Alan Clifton-Holt, Shepway’s cabinet member for economic development with planning one of his responsibilities. He is also the ward councillor for the area.

But the plan faces opposition, not only from residents but from other councillors, including Tories.

Lib Dem Lydd town councillor Ted Last said: “I am not against wind farms per se, rather it is their effect on the seen environment, their cost-effectiveness and contribution to the local community.

“As I see it this scheme fails on all three counts, with all the benefits going to one person and the detrimental aspects suffered by the local people at large.”

Conservative MP Damian Collins said last week that he was opposed to any new wind farm being built on the Marsh, as did district councillor Terry Mullard.

Councillor Russell Tillson said no wind turbine project had ever proved to be of benefit. New Romney mayor Roger Joynes and Marsh county councillor Carole Walters have also spoken against the project.

Cllr Clifton-Holt said he will play no part in the decision and has declined to discuss the matter further. He said: “I don’t want to influence the planning decision in any way so I cannot discuss it. It would be an abuse of my position if I did.

“I am obviously aware that the residents of Romney Marsh and my fellow councillors have their own views on wind farms, and that public comments, along with other considerations, will be part of the decision-making process.”

The building of wind farms on the Marsh – there is a 26-turbine farm at Cheyne Court four miles outside Lydd, and other projects are proposed for Snave and Sellindge – has provoked opposition from residents.

Action groups opposed to wind farms have quickly formed under an umbrella organisation called Save Our Marsh, Block Rural Exploitation (Sombre).

In a statement, the group said: “We are delighted that our MP, Damian Collins, and our county councillor Carole Waters are supporting our campaign. However, we are also disappointed that our district councillor is unable to proffer support.”

An application to build a huge solar farm on a 114-acre site the Clifton-Holt family also owns at Sycamore Farm, Old Romney was agreed recently by Shepway’s development committee, despite the site being classed as Grade A agricultural land.

Improved 5-axis PartMaker to Debut

The new 4 and 5 axis simultaneous milling functionality in PartMaker Version 2013 R2 applies across the entire PartMaker CAM suite, including the PartMaker Mill, Turn-Mill and SwissCAM modules.  The new 4 and 5 axis milling product functionality is known as ASM-MX, or Advanced Surface Machining – Multi-Axis.

In addition to providing unique 4 and 5 axis simultaneous milling functionality, ASM-MX has also been priced cost effectively relative to other high-end milling CAM systems on the market. One the hallmarks of PartMaker ASM-MX, like other Delcam CAM systems such as PowerMILL, is that all the machining algorithms underlying the software are developed in-house, by Delcam’s industry-largest CAM development team, not licensed from a third party developer. This approach assures the users of Delcam’s PartMaker that they are getting unique functionality that will allow them to stay ahead of the competition.

The new 4 and 5 axis simultaneous milling strategies found in ASM-MX in PartMaker Version 2013R2 are based on the same unique approach to multi-axis programming used in Delcam’s PowerMILL, Delcam’s industry leading CAM system for the manufacture of complex shapes.  ASM-MX provides the user complete tool-axis control for all 5-axis simultaneous machining strategies. Additionally, ASM-MX features a totally unique new machining strategy called “Spine Finishing.”  Spine finishing can be used in either 4 or 5 axis simultaneous operations and is ideal for machining parts with unique curves such as angulated abutments found in the dental implant industry.

“The new ASM-MX functionality in PartMaker Version 2013R2 lets PartMaker users harness the power of highly sophisticated 4 and 5 axis simultaneous milling in an intuitive and practical yet highly sophisticated and elegant manner,” says PartMaker Inc. division President Hanan Fishman.  “4 and 5 axis simultaneous machining practices are becoming more and more common in production machining environments. This trend is growing in popularity particularly among those working in the medical and aerospace fields.  With more machine tools, including Swiss lathes from the likes of Star, Citizen and Tsugami, including a programmable ‘B-axis’, the functionality in PartMaker’s ASM-MX will allow our users to meet their manufacturing challenges.”

PartMaker is a Knowledge Based Machining system, allowing it to provide a substantial gain in programming efficiency by remembering the tools, material and process information necessary to machine individual part features.  It thus relieves the user from reentering the same features information for subsequent parts.  It also improves productivity by placing the emphasis on tool management functions.

PartMaker pioneered the field of CAM software for Turn-Mills and Swiss-type lathes with its patented Visual Programming Approach for programming multi-axis lathes with live tooling. It assures quicker learning and easier use. It makes an extensive use of pictures to help the user describe tools, part features and machining data.  Synchronization of tools working on multiple spindles is achieved by a few mouse clicks.

PartMaker Inc. is a subsidiary of Delcam Plc, the world’s leading developer and supplier of complete CAD/CAM software solutions.  Delcam Plc is publicly traded on the AIM exchange in London.  In North America PartMaker is sold directly by PartMaker Inc. PartMaker is sold overseas through a network of sales partner offices operating in over 120 countries.